Recipe: Joe Yonan’s Sloppy Vegan Joe

updated Feb 5, 2020
Joe Yonan's Sloppy Vegan Joe
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(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Can I just say how excited I am to share this recipe with you today? Joe Yonan’s book, Eat Your Vegetables, is a casual, homey celebration of all things vegetarian — aimed towards the solo cook and those who don’t need six servings of everything. It’s delicious and surprising, but it never pushes recipes into impractical territory.

This recipe is a simply perfect example of how great this book is: a saucy, savory, wholly vegan version of that classic childhood meal: Sloppy Joes, Joe Yonan-style. And yes, squash are involved.

This is also the rare vegan dish here at The Kitchn that involves a meat substitute. Joe explains his inclusion here of vegetarian chorizo: “Since I tend to cook most meals from scratch, I don’t often use packaged meat substitutes, but the products have gotten better and better over the years, and I’ve found some favorites. I like to make this vegan version of my namesake sandwich whenever I get my hands on chorizo-style “sausage” or seitan made by Field Roast or Upton’s Naturals, respectively.”

I have to agree with Joe’s pick of vegan chorizo. I used it in some recipe development for a vegetarian magazine a few years ago, and I was surprised by how much I loved it — especially in a saucy dish like this one. It’s one of the few meat substitutes I actually buy on a semi-regular basis, even as an omnivore. (I especially like Trader Joe’s extra-spicy Soy Chorizo.)

But the chorizo isn’t the only highlight in this dish — it’s packed with vegetables too. In fact, we chose it as one more fresh way to use up all that summer squash in a perhaps unexpected way. It calls for yellow squash, but you could use zucchini instead, if you have a few eyeing you from the countertop.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Tester’s Notes

I was able to find the chorizo seitan at both a local supermarket and at Whole Foods, and it’s actually a great substitute for ground meat in this sloppy joe. The yellow squash absorbs the spices, while the cherry tomatoes break down into a nice saucy consistency. This sloppy joe is great on buns, but would also be a delicious pasta sauce!

Christine, June 2015

Joe Yonan's Sloppy Vegan Joe

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1/4 cup

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4

    small onions, chopped

  • 4 cloves

    garlic, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon

    crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 2 cups

    chorizo-spiced seitan or other vegan meat, crumbled or cut into 1/4-inch pieces

  • 32

    large cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 2 baskets)

  • 4

    small yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • Sea salt

  • 4

    hamburger buns or soft pitas, warmed

  • 4

    medium sour pickles, thinly sliced


  1. Pour the olive oil into a skillet over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the onion and garlic and sauté until they soften. Stir in the red pepper flakes and the seitan, and cook until it's warmed through. Add the cherry tomatoes and squash and cook until the tomatoes collapse. Taste and add salt as needed. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and continue cooking until the squash is tender but not mushy.

  2. Pile the mixture onto the bun or in the pocket of the pita, top with the pickle slices, and eat.

Recipe Notes

→ Check out Joe's book! Eat Your Vegetables by Joe Yonan

Reprinted with permission from Eat Your Vegetables by Joe Yonan, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.