Vegetarian sloppy Joe sliders are all the tangy barbecue flavor that you love in a slider, without the meat that you might not always want. Roasted carrots and purple cabbage get doused with BBQ sauce and served up on those fluffy little slider buns that everybody adores.
You HAVE TO make these vegetarian Sloppy Joes tonight for dinner. They’re easy to make and the slaw adds a fresh and healthy crunch to the sandwich. A healthy twist on a game day or Friday night favorite that’s good for you and the planet.–Danny Seo
WHAT VEGGIES CAN I USE IN VEGETARIAN SLOPPY JOES?
We get it, carrots aren’t everybody’s favorite orange vegetable. Danny Seo knows that too and suggests sweet potatoes and squash as great alternatives. Prepare them exactly the same way you would prepare the carrots and keep the cabbage for crunch.
Vegetarian Sloppy Joe Sliders
For the carrot filling
- 3 large (about 4 cups) carrots peeled and spiralized or shredded
- 1 (7 oz) yellow onion thinly sliced
- 1 small (about 2 cups) purple cabbage shredded
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
For the BBQ sauce
- 16 slider buns or buns of choice
Make the carrot filling
- Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss and massage each vegetable separately with salt and olive oil. Spread vegetables onto baking sheet, keeping them separate, and roast until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Toss each section and cook until browned and reduced in volume, about 10 minutes more.
Make the BBQ sauce
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine tomato paste, syrup, chipotle powder, garlic powder, vinegar, sea salt, and water.
- Bring to a simmer and allow to gently bubble until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
Assemble the sliders
- Split slider buns, then toast in the oven until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Place roasted cabbage in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine carrots and onions. Pour sauce over carrots and onions and toss until combined.
- Place 1/4 cup carrot mixture on each bun and top with 1/4 cup roasted red cabbage. Serve warm.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Well, well, well… I must confess that I liked the idea of using veggies in a slider. I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to feel like BBQ but I had these freshly made lobster rolls that were just asking to be divided in two and made into slider buns.
As with any recipe that uses shredded veggies, there tends to be a volume versus weight discrepancy from cook to cook depending on the thickness of shredding and veggies used. This was true in this recipe. However, I didn’t find this impacted the taste or texture.
This BBQ sauce had all the expected flavours and was full of umami notes. There’s room for a bit more chipotle for those who prefer an extra bite of spice. The sauce with the sweetness of the carrots and the slight chewiness of the onions and cabbage really did have a “pulled veggie” feel. I used heirloom carrots in yellow, orange, and purple. Plain orange carrots are probably better for a more vibrant offering. I also advise against crowding the veggies during roasting for a more uniform roast and to prevent steaming. In my version, I mixed my bit of extra sauce in the cabbage. This provided a more glossy look without changing the texture or colour.
Well, there’s chipotle flavour, bbq sauce, pulled carrots texture, it’s a slider, and it’s sloppy…I’ll say, not only does it feel like bbq, it meets the expectations of its title, vegetarian sloppy Joe sliders!
These vegetarian sloppy Joe sliders were a fun vegetarian dinner idea but I felt the sauce needed more umami and smoky flavor that I was craving. I think adding mushrooms and some smoked paprika would help. Maybe cooking the BBQ sauce ahead of time and letting it sit might help the sauce to create more depth of flavor too.
Originally published October 4, 2021