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Sloppy Jack(fruit) Sandwiches

Sloppy Jack(fruit) Sandwiches

Because why should Joe get have all the messy fun? Truth be told, sloppy joe sandwiches were never my favorite thing. I remember back in second or third grade and learning that sloppy joe sandwiches were on the menu that day at school and bursting into tears. Was it because, true to its name, it was a sloppy mess? Was it the first sign that I was a budding vegan? Or that I was a budding drama queen? (Be nice.)

Why revisit sloppy joe’s now? Well, in an effort to clear out our pantry the other day, I made something that my husband said would be great in a sandwich. Without intentionally trying, I’d created a reinterpretation of the sloppy joe sandwich with a few extra tweaks. Rarely will you see me eating anything out of a can but jackfruit is one of those very few things that you can buy fresh but is better in this case to be canned. Canned jackfruit, which can found in the Asian section of international markets, tears apart into shreds that are reminiscent of meat and is a fun option for gluten-free vegans or those trying to limit their soy. In the case of this recipe, you will want to buy jackfruit that is packed in water or brine not syrup. Slow-cooked into a thick, smoky and tender sandwich filling with pops of sweet flavor from the corn and bell pepper, this is delicious in a bun or, for the gluten-free, corn tortillas for more of a carnitas-esque meal. Serve with a bright salad and a pickle and you’ve got a great sandwich you can enjoy year-round. You can make this in your slow-cooker as well, adding the defrosted corn the last thirty minutes. Pro-tip: if you want a sandwich that is less messy than the sloppy joe’s of yore, toast the bun first to provide a more stable surface.

Sloppy Jack(fruit) Sandwiches

1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable stock or water or 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced or minced (optional) (leave seeds in for more heat)
1 red bell pepper, minced
1 tablespoon tamari
1 20-oz. can jackfruit, packed in water or brine
1 heaping cup corn kernels, defrosted
13.5 - 14 oz. vegan BBQ sauce (I used Organicville Tangy BBQ Sauce)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat your stock, water or olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté for three minutes until softened. Add the garlic, jalapeno pepper, and red bell pepper. Stir together for a minute and then add the tamari. Cook for another minute.

While this is cooking, prepare your jackfruit. Drain and rinse, then break into strings using a fork. It’s okay if all the pieces don’t perfectly shred: they will further break apart while cooking and you can also break up more with your spatula. Add to the pan along with the corn and BBQ sauce.

Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Serve warm on a bun or tortilla and enjoy!

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