Rob and I have been trading stories. He has been back in Canada for the last two weeks. He is hitting up all our old haunts, new joints (I knew he wouldn’t be able to resist the vegan boston creme donuts and other treats at Through Being Cool; he’s already tried the Toronto’s crookie (cookie-croissant hybrid) and scouting out Toronto’s cronut, too) and getting ready to spend time with his family for Thanksgiving. I am willing to bet most of my readers know Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving almost a month before the Americans, but if not, let there be no confusion. Canada’s Thanksgiving is on Monday.
This is a dish Rob made before he left. He is much better at tackling his recipe hit-list than I am. Possibly because it is shorter. While in Bend, Oregon, we discovered a restaurant with delicious food. For me, I adored their tempeh reuben salad (recreating it is still on my hitlist!) and Rob was adamant about recreating the sloppy joe sandwich.
While I have made Sloppy Joes with TVP, which I served overtop roasted sweet potatoes, I shared Isa’s recipe with Rob. With the extra spices, I knew he would really like it. Rob really liked their sandwich because it was served with a brioche bun. He looked around a bit but wasn’t able to find something in Houston. That did not deter him.
I no longer remember what protein this resto used for their sloppy joe, but Isa’s called for seitan which we didn’t have. Instead, Rob experimented with another Portland find: soy curls. Soy curls totally deserve their high praise. Similar to TVP in that they are a dry soy product, they not as highly processed. Soy curls are made by cooking, then drying soybeans, whereas TVP has been processed to become defatted. Their fun shapes are akin to pulled meat. I bought a bunch in bulk while in Portland and wish there was a local supplier because I know we will use them up quickly.
In any case, Isa’s recipe did not disappoint. She called it jerk-spiced sloppy joes, but the flavours were more muted. When I think of jerk, I think of bold flavours. Instead, this was tame. Nicely flavoured and palatable for the masses. The Caribbean flavours of allspice, cinnamon, and paprika were present and made for a lovely tomato sauce. Rob amped the sweet sauciness by adding red pepper paste. Lime juice balanced it nicely.
The second component to the dish was coconut creamed spinach and kale. Spiced with star anise, the Caribbean flair persisted. Instead of the brioche bun, Rob used a paratha to eat this. Mainly because that’s what we had in the freezer. This is a fusion household. Indian-Caribbean-American in one wrap. Use whatever vehicle you’d like. :)
While this recipe seems almost as elaborate as Rob’s epic Jackfruit & Kimchi and Sweet Potato Poutine with Tofu, this one didn’t take nearly as long to cook. Start to end was around an hour, which is a good thing since Rob has proclaimed this as a Rob’s Repeater Recipe.
Have you ever tried soy curls? What did you think?
Caribbean Soy Curled Sloppy Joes with Creamed Spinach Wrap
Adapted from Post Punk Kitchen
1/2 lb dry soy curls
1 tbsp + 1 tsp coconut oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1.5 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp smoked sweet paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp Aleppo chile flakes
1/8 tsp cinnamon
14 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1.5 tsp tomato paste
1.5 tsp red pepper paste (or more tomato paste)
1 tsp pure maple syrup, or to taste
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp yellow mustard (Rob used Creole mustard)
2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 lb kale and spinach, stems removed
1 cup coconut milk (regular or light)
2 star anise
1/4 teaspoon salt
parathas, or however you want to serve your wrap (sandwich buns, etc)
1. Begin by reconstituting the soy curls. Add enough boiling water to cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil. Once hot, add onion and a pinch of salt. Saute until translucent, around 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the reconstituted soy curls and cook until nicely browned, around 10 minutes. Push the onions and soy curls to the side so that you have room to quickly saute the garlic and ginger. Add the remainder 1 tsp of coconut oil and stir in the garlic and ginger, and stir, as it sizzles. After 15 seconds, stir it into the rest of the mixture.
4. Stir in the thyme, paprika, salt, allspice, Aleppo chile flakes, and cinnamon until well combined.
5. Add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minute more, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in the maple syrup, lime juice and mustard. Season to taste.
6. While the main mixture doing its thing, you want to start the cooking the spinach. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic and allow it to sizzle for a few seconds, being careful not to let it burn. Add the spinach and kale in batches, until it is all wilted and fits in the pan. Cook for 3 minutes.
7. Carefully remove any moisture that may have accumulated by pushing the green mixture to one side, holding in place with tongs and draining the water form the other side. Now return the greens to the stove on medium heat. Add the coconut milk, star anise and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring often, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow it to thicken. Remove star anise prior to serving.
8. To serve, heat up your paratha/bun/etc, and fill with the sloppy joe mixture and creamed spinach.