Thai Sloppy Joes Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Thai Sloppy Joes

These spicy sandwiches need no garnish to be satisfyingly delicious, but you could add freshness and crunch by topping them with watercress or arugula, a tomato slice, a few fresh basil leaves, and some chopped dry-roasted peanuts.



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1 Tbs. canola oil
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1 small onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
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1 8-oz. pkg. tempeh, crumbled
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1 cup light coconut milk
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2–3 tsp. Thai red curry paste
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4 tsp. light brown sugar
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1 Tbs. lime juice
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4 whole-wheat hamburger buns


Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 3 to 5 minutes. Add tempeh, and cook 3 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Stir in coconut milk and curry paste. Simmer 10 minutes, or until liquid is mostly absorbed, stirring occasionally. Stir in brown sugar and lime juice. Simmer 2 minutes more.

STORE/SERVE Cool to room temperature, and refrigerate in airtight container up to 5 days, or freeze up to 3 months. If frozen, thaw overnight in refrigerator. Reheat with 1/4 cup water over medium-low heat, and fill each bun with 1/2 cup Sloppy Joe mixture.

Nutrition Information: 

17 g
Total Fat: 
15 g
Saturated Fat: 
4 g
40 g
0 mg
248 mg
9 g
10 g
Serves 4

Comments on this Recipe

I did not care for this dish. Even my husband who will eat anything said he would rather we not have this one again. It was very bland. I'm not quite sure how to help this one. I just know we won't be serving it up again. On the positive side of things, it was very easy and fast to put together. Maybe you could find a way to give this some depth in flavor.

I learned when I made this recipe that I don't like the smell of coconut milk, if I was to attempt something like this again I probably would cut the coconut in half. Having said that, even my friends who did like the coconut milk though this was a bland, boring dish. And as for being Thai, we didn't think it was anything like Thai food we've had before. Pass over this one.

We had these last night and enjoyed them very much. We ate them with home made baked beans. It's true that the flavor of the sloppy joes is subtle. One could add spices, I suppose. But all three of us liked them the way they were, and will have them again, for sure.

I thought these were terrific! I might ad a little more heat and a touch of soy sauce, but they were delicious as is.

Well, I just realized used 2-3TABLESPOONS of curry paste (panang, since I already had it on hand), Whoa! Now that I read the other comments (bland?! Hahaha), I guess it was a happy accident. I loved it, though I would use 4 teaspoons curry paste next time. I also used uptons ground seitan because I already had it on hand. I bet tempeh would be good, too.

We enjoyed this recipe. I worried that it might be bland and put the hot sauce on the table when I served them, but none of us ended up using it. I was a little generous on the red curry paste, though, so that might have made the difference. The flavor is subtle, but good. I also liked that the coconut milk (or something) seems to have mellowed out the slightly bitter taste that tempeh sometimes has. I do think that it needs some crunch, though, so I added purple cabbage.

I loved how easy this recipe was to make! I thought it had enough flavor but at the time I couldn't find red curry paste and used red curry sauce. I then used less coconut milk and more sauce to try and even it out to what the recipe was. Whatever I did I thought it was good. Next time I will add in some cabbage to add crunch.

We love these sloppy joes. Like anything else, taste as you go and season as you like it. Great recipe and super easy.

Oh and I found that my red curry paste was a year old and not tasty or spicy anymore. I used Chili Garlic Sauce for kick.

This turned out surprisingly tasty after the following modifications: - I used an entire can of Thai Kitchen's red curry paste (~6tbsp). while tasting, it was just too bland for me with even 3 tbsp - I simmered for 60 minutes on low heat to let the tempeh really soak up the flavors - added about 1tbsp sriracha and 1tsp salt for more taste - used vegenaise on the buns to contrast the spicy thai tempeh out nicely

I followed the recipe as written and found it to be very bland. It needed soy sauce at the least, and possibly fish sauce or something else. It has promise, but needs work that I'm not sure I want to put into it.

"18-oz. pkg. tempeh, crumbled" is not what the print version of this recipe calls for. The print version calls for 1 8-oz. package. Perhaps that is why so many have commented that this recipe tastes so bland, and perhaps someone could correct it?

Thank you, William Blackerby! The amount of tempeh has been corrected.