Everyone has their junk food or processed ingredient they just can’t quit, right? While I actually have many, a big one has always been Manwich. I love a good, homemade sauce but sometimes you just need the sugary ease of sauce in a can. Until you look at the ingredients list and see WOAH, that really is basically 98% sugar (obvs a made up number, but just go with it).
But still, I couldn’t deny my sweet sloppy Joe craving, right? I’m pretty sure this craving had come from when Josh had ordered a cheeseburger pizza and lamented how it didn’t taste as much like a sloppy Joe has his hometown pizza place (but you’d expect a cheeseburger pizza to taste like cheeseburgers and not sloppy Joes, right?). From there my mind went to sloppy Joe pizza to sloppy Joe calzone, to a delightful little pocket.
Josh and I fought over this. Like, borderline fisticuffs. They were THAT good. Bonus: the filling is mostly mushrooms and carrots. You can taste the vegginess a little bit, but carrots really just add to the Manwich flavor. Mushrooms take on the flavor of whatever they’re mixed with, so this is really the best way to “hide” veggies because you’re not hiding them at all, we’re celebrating them — are mushrooms a veggie? They’re really just a fungus, but I’m just going to go with it.
I think these would also make great little appetizers. Instead of 10 pieces, cut the pizza dough into 20 and make mini pockets, mmm.
2 lb pizza dough, prepared (enough to make 2 pizzas, such as the whole wheat dough recipe here, use all of the dough)
5 slices of mild cheddar or Daiya
4 large carrots, peeled
8 oz mushrooms
3 cloves garlic
1 green bell pepper
½ medium onion
1 small stalk celery
8 oz tomato paste
15 oz can tomato sauce
3 tbsp. agave (or honey or other liquid sweetener)
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. molasses
½ tsp chili powder
1 tsp yellow mustard
⅔ c TVP, dry (see note)
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F and spritz 2 baking sheets with nonstick spray.
Heat a large, nonstick sauté pan over medium heat.
Meanwhile, finely chop all of the veggies (~1/2 cm pieces).
Spritz the pan with nonstick spray, line with water, or add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the carrot and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they’ve released their liquid and have browned slightly (about 5 more minutes). Set the veggies aside.
Return the pan to the stove (no need to wipe it out unless it bugs you). Using oil, nonstick spray, or water, line the pan again. Add the chopped onion, pepper, celery, and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the sauce ingredients (all remaining ingredients except the dough, cheese, TVP, and mushroom/carrot) and mix until well combined.
Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 5 – 10 minutes.
Add the mushroom/carrot mixture and the TVP. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the pizza dough into 10 pieces.
Using your hands or a rolling pin, form each piece into a circle approximately 6 inches in diameter. Put a couple of tablespoons on one half of each piece of dough. Top with ½ a slice of cheese and fold the dough over, forming a half circle. Use a little water to help seal the pockets (I found it best to fold the edge over on itself to keep the sauce from leaking). Repeat until all the dough has been used.
Place on greased baking sheets. Bake in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes. If they aren’t golden brown after 10 minutes, you can brush the tops with olive oil and broil for a minute until the tops brown slightly (optional)
If you aren’t into TVP or just soy in general, you have a couple options: double the mushrooms and carrots or use 1 – 1½ c of your preferred ground meat swap (or cooked ground meat, if you’re into that). Add enough so that the filling isn’t soupy, but isn’t super dry either. Nutritional estimate uses linked recipe, TVP, and mild cheddar cheese. If you prefer, you can use 5 oz of shredded cheddar cheese and mix it into the filling. The filling freezes well if you want to make half now (with 1 lb of pizza dough) and use half later for more pockets or just sandwiches.