Sloppy Joe Veggie Pockets

July 23, 2014

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).

Sloppy Joe Veggie Pockets

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.

Sloppy Joe Veggie Pockets

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.

Sloppy Joe Veggie Pockets
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 5

  • 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)

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F and spritz 2 baking sheets with nonstick spray.
  2. Heat a large, nonstick sauté pan over medium heat.
  3. Meanwhile, finely chop all of the veggies (~1/2 cm pieces).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 5 – 10 minutes.
  7. Add the mushroom/carrot mixture and the TVP. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, cut the pizza dough into 10 pieces.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 pockets Calories: 530 Fat: 5 Carbohydrates: 97 Fiber: 17 Protein: 34


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    Ambar Jul 27, 2014

    Seriously? I am secretly in love with sloppy joes! This recipe looks delicious!

    Monet Jul 25, 2014

    Wow, Kelly! This is brilliant! All the goodness of a sloppy joe in a neat, pastry packet! I can’t wait to make this!

    Ashley @ QLCC Jul 24, 2014

    I miiight do this and add some meat… or NOT and see if the fiancé notices 😉 this is an amazing idea!

    Archana @ The Perfect Zest Jul 24, 2014

    saucy veggies in a pocket! I love everything in that. Reminds me of something similar made in a puff pastry I’ve had. Great to make ahead too – thats a winner for me!

      Kelly Jul 24, 2014

      Thanks Archana! I think there’s a similar recipe floating around with sloppy joe meat stuffed in crescent roll dough, but this veggie filling is SO packed with flavor that I like a simple, whole wheat pizza dough for the outside. It’s a little more wholesome, plus who doesn’t love pizza dough?

    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl Jul 23, 2014

    I have been looking forward to this one! I think I’ll try making them with lentils in place of the TVP.

      Kelly Jul 23, 2014

      I think lentils would be perfect in these! I love lentil sloppy joes but Josh doesn’t like lentils (unless I SUPER overcook them, then he tolerates them) and TVP is just so easy. You’d probably want to add them at least “mostly” cooked

    marcie Jul 23, 2014

    Awesome idea making veggie pockets out of sloppy joe filling! My kids would absolutely love this (and so would I). 🙂

    cheri Jul 23, 2014

    Brilliant remake of the sloppy joe Kelly! love it!

    PassTheKnife Jul 23, 2014

    I like the idea of a calzone crust much better than regular sloppy joe hamburger buns!. A great meal kids and adults will love!

      Kelly Jul 23, 2014

      Thanks! It also helps make them a little less sloppy, which I have to imagine is a bonus when you’re cleaning up after little ones!

    Em @ Love A Latte Jul 23, 2014

    I want to make this ASAP! I wonder if I have enough TVP at home. I grew up lovinggg sloppy joe night. I literally think all my mom did was poor a can of tomato sauce over the meat and then serve it on white buns, but for some reason it was the best thing ever. And obviously this being vegetarian is way better and I’m sure your recipe is much more tasty! Can’t wait to try it 🙂

      Kelly Jul 23, 2014

      If you don’t have enough TVP, you could always add extra cooked veggies. I’m not sure what it is about sloppy joes, but they’ve seriously been a favorite of mine for a long, long time. Let me konw how it turns out if you try it!