Sloppy Joes with Spicy Mango, Lime and Avocado Slaw

I was going to post about a skillet quinoa cornbread for today, but I ended up hating it. I tried to like it (like carrot cake), and I even made it twice to prove that it wasn’t the recipe, but that I did something wrong.

I didn’t.

Maybe I’ll post it at a later date, but right now, it’s just far too herby, it didn’t crumble like I wanted it to, and it was just….gross.

Roo did try to make me feel better by saying if I covered it with marinara sauce it would be good.

I may have pictured his face melting off after that.

Anyway, 3 cups of quinoa later, I’m giving you guys Sloppy Joes.

More or less because I am in such a sloppy state…

My hormones have been absolutely out of control today.  Granted, it’s that special week, where some single 30-somethings may cry about this “time of the month,” for another missed opportunity to bear children…wait, am I the only one who finds humor in Elliot’s awkward honesty from Scrubs?


Well for me, I just want to stuff salty, savory meals intomymouth.

Out of peanut butter? Violently throw salted peanuts into the food processor and not “pulse,” but actually hold down the button, yelling at the blade to hack up the nuts faster, smoother, I want creamy, dammit!  Slather said freshly made peanut butter onto hacked open apple. Devour.

Why don’t we have any chips? Cry and wail (wailing is key), after bending finger nail backward when trying to open popcorn kernel container.  Then, like a starved hyena, tear into the “safety seal” with teeth.  Once the lid is off, smash a measuring cup into the container, throw kernels into an oiled pot and crank the heat to high, just to get it to. pop. faster. GAH! Pop faster!!! 

And why oh why is our Keurig still broken?  And why hasn’t Cuisinart sent the replacement machine yet?  And why is the Starbucks barista looking at me like I’m a meth addict demanding their next fix when I ask why the soy pumpkin spice latte isn’t vegan?  What do you mean the pumpkin spice syrup has dairy? Am I lactose intolerant? No, but I can’t have dairy. What do you mean, what do I mean, “I can’t have dairy?”  It’s VeganMoFo!!!! Oh my god, please, just please give me something, anything.  My mind feels like it’s melting out of my ears while I am exploding, not out of pants with an actual waistline, but leggings. How can you feel uncomfortable in leggings!?!

Yeah, my day kind of went like that.

At lunch time, I decided on Sloppy Joes because I wanted to throw a bunch of ingredients in a pot and not have to worry about it.  But then halfway through I wanted something more than just “(fake) meat sauce.”  I wanted more spice.  I wanted bright flavors, like lime, and maybe something sweeter.  Maybe even something creamy.

I wanted the slaw that I made the other night.  But…different.

What came about was a mango lime slaw with red pepper flake (when do I not put in red pepper flake?) and slices of avocado folded in.  When I piled it on top of the thick slice of grilled artisan bread and joe-sauce, I didn’t care that it looked like it wouldn’t be able to fit into my mouth.

I like my sandwiches, how I like my men: tall.

The bread grilled with (vegan) butter enveloped a sauce that was full of body (um, from beer…rough day people!), earthy from toasted cumin, and slightly tangy from the tomato paste that was able to reduce down into something almost velvety.  Unlike a strange pairing you remember from a childhood school dance, the spicy, mango and lime slaw, with generous amounts of avocado, embraced the joe-sauce like they were meant to be, all along.  Without sweaty hands.  I’m thinking of you, MF.

And if there’s anything that can cure you of “your week,” this is it.  At least, if only during the time you’re eating.

Sloppy Joes Adapted from Delish Meglish (warning, link is not vegan!)

Slaw Adapted from Oven Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with a Spicy Bright Slaw

Serves Four Generously


For the Slaw

2 cups purple cabbage, very finely sliced (about half a small head of cabbage…If you only have green on hand, you can use that)

1 mango, cut into easily edible pieces

1 avocado, cut into easily edible pieces

Half cup of red onion, diced (we love red onion, so if you’re not much of a fan, try a quarter)

4 tablespoons of cilantro, chopped (um, we also love cilantro…start with 2 and taste in case you’re weary)

2 limes, juiced by hand

1 green chile pepper, diced (optional)

Red pepper flake to taste (I used about a tablespoon, but I love heat. If you don’t, start with half a teaspoon and then adjust.)

Salt to taste

For the Sloppy Joes

1 (8 oz.) square of Tempeh

2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 medium sized onion, diced

6 – 8 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon of red pepper flake

3 teaspoons of ground cumin

1 bottle of pale ale beer (about one and a half cups)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 (6 ounce) can of tomato paste

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

2 tablespoons of capers, minced

4 teaspoons of chili powder (I love heat, if you don’t, start with 2)


A medium mixing bowl

Tongs (or you can toss the slaw with your hands)

A Sharp Knife

A Spatula

A Large Saute Pan

A Steamer basket and a large pot with lid, or a large pot and colander to steam the Tempeh with (and something to cover the colander with)

In a medium mixing bowl, add the purple cabbage, red onion, cilantro, mango and avocado (and if using, green chile pepper).  Add the lime juice, red pepper flake and salt.  Toss and taste.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Set aside.

Fill a large pot halfway with water and insert either a steamer basket or your colander.  Make sure that the water level isn’t high enough to touch the steamer basket or the colander.  Place the pot over a burner on high heat and bring the water to a boil.  Place the tempeh in either the steamer basket or the colander very carefully.  Cover the pot/colander.  Steam the tempeh for about 15 minutes then remove from heat and set aside.

Add the olive oil to a large saute pan and place the pan on a burner over medium high heat.  When the oil starts to shimmer, add the diced onion.  Stir occasionally until the onion is golden brown, about five to seven minutes.  Add the red pepper flake, garlic and cumin.  Cook until fragrant, about thirty seconds.  Add the beer, soy sauce and tomato paste.  Stir until combined.  Add the capers and chili powder.  Stir till combined.  Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to keep the sauce at a simmer.

With a sharp knife, dice the tempeh.  Add the tempeh to the sauce and stir till combined.  Simmer the sauce for about fifteen to twenty minutes, until it’s reduced to the consistency you want.

Once the sauce is ready, remove it from heat, and start assembling your sandwiches!

3 thoughts on “Sloppy Joes with Spicy Mango, Lime and Avocado Slaw

  1. Thanks for the link love! It’s much appreciated! I have a tip regarding coffee: get an AeroPress. It might look a little intimidating since it doesn’t look conventional, but it IS really easy to make coffee and the quality of your resulting espresso is WAY better than any Starbucks. (In fact, I now refuse to go to Starbucks.) Plus, the AeroPress is only about $25; so it’s not a risky buy. 🙂

    P.S. “I like my sandwiches, how I like my men: tall.” — LOL!

    • Thanks for the advice! Thankfully my day went a lot better today and we got the Keurig back! So, I am fully caffeinated and not wailing in the kitchen. Roo is so lucky to have me, ie I can’t believe he hasn’t left me with the cats and their dirty litter box yet. And yes, he is also tall haha.

  2. Pingback: Pumpkin Spice Latte « Liz Lemon Nights

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