This is my first ever blog post! I’m excited to share this tasty and quick dinner recipe.
I came across this recipe in Real Simple magazine a few months ago. I often pull recipes from magazine pages and add them to my “file” (that is, a big box of recipes that I moved halfway across the country a few years ago and never sorted through). But we’ve already made this one several times, so I guess it’s a keeper. This is a quick and tasty take on the old standby, sloppy joes. We like Asian food and the soy sauce and sesame oil add a slight Asian flavor to this good ol’ American meal. It cooks up quickly so it’s helpful to have everything measured and prepped ahead of time.
I started with a tablespoon of vegetable oil in my wok. I like Smart Balance products because the research for them was done at my alma mater, Brandeis University (actually I was a guinea pig for some of it, but that’s another story…). Any vegetable oil will work though. Chop up a bunch of green onions (I used 7 of them) and mix together with a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger. We keep ginger root in the freezer, just peel the portion we need for a particular recipe, and grate it frozen. It lasts forever this way and no more moldy ginger hiding in the back of my refrigerator produce drawer.
I heated the oil in the wok on medium-high heat and added the green onions and ginger and cooked until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Next I added about a pound of ground beef. This time we used 93% lean beef but it’s really up to you. There’s plenty of moisture in this recipe so even if you use a leaner beef it shouldn’t be too dry. I cooked the beef, breaking it up into little pieces, until it was browned all over and cooked through. It took about 5-6 minutes.
The last step for the meat part of the dish was adding in the sweet and sour flavors, a quarter cup of soy sauce (we use low sodium), a quarter cup of tomato paste, a quarter teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, and three tablespoons of packed light brown sugar. I added in a half cup of water, stir everything together, and let it thicken up a little bit for a minute or two (I actually turned the burner down to low to let it simmer a bit while I prepped the slaw).
Then I moved onto the side dish, a sesame coleslaw. The original recipe calls for half a small head of cabbage, thinly sliced, and 2 carrots, grated. I’ve made it this way and it comes out fine but we are really busy people so any shortcuts that allow me to get dinner on the table faster are so helpful to us. It was so much quicker and easier (and honestly not too much more expensive) to buy the coleslaw salad mix in a bag. I threw in a handful of packaged matchstick carrots and saved myself a good 5-10 minutes of slicing. I also added a handful (about half a cup, loosely packed) of chopped fresh cilantro. The dressing is a quarter cup of fresh lime juice (I got more than enough from one lime), another tablespoon of vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil, and pepper and salt to taste (I omitted the salt altogether). Toss everything together in a large bowl.
Serve the sweet and slow sloppy joes on your buns of choice. This time we used little slider buns because they were on sale and looked good but we have used other types in the past as well. Even my 13 month old enjoyed this dinner….surprisingly the sesame slaw was his favorite part! This meal serves 3-4 adults. It was more than enough for me, my husband, and toddler with probably another portion left over. Hands on time was about 30 minutes, maybe even less with the packaged slaw.
Sweet and Sour Sloppy Joes with Sesame Slaw (adapted from REALSIMPLE.COM, May 2013)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 cup water
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
pre-packaged bag of coleslaw mix (or 1/2 small head cabbage thinly sliced)
1 cup grated or matchstick carrots
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
4 buns (8 if using sliders), split
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in wok or large skillet at medium-high heat. Add the chopped green onions and ginger and cook until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Add the ground beef to the wok and brown it, breaking into little pieces, until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.
3. Add the soy sauce, tomato paste, pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon), brown sugar, and water. Stir everything together and let thicken for 1-2 minutes (can simmer on low heat while preparing the slaw).
4. For the slaw: in a large bowl mix together the cabbage or packaged coleslaw mix, carrots, cilantro, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, lime juice, sesame oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss together.
5. Top the buns with meat and serve with the slaw.