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Ornish Fast and Sloppy Joes Recipe

Serves: 6
Serving Size: 1 sandwich
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 5 min
Ready: 5 min

Could a soy-based meat alternative do justice to this hot and messy American classic? We discovered that even the pickiest kids could enjoy this heart-healthy version. It captures the taste and texture of the original, minus the fat and cholesterol. These sandwiches can be served closed or open-faced on whole-grain buns, whole-grain English muffins, even sliced whole-grain sandwich bread. Just don’t forget the forks—and be sure to pass around plenty of napkins. A sturdy gluten-free bun or bread will work as well.


ONE 12-OZ PACKAGE vegetarian ground-meat alternative (suggested brand: Yves Veggie Ground or Lightlife Smart Ground)
1½ CUPS cooked pinto beans or one 15-oz can, rinsed and drained
½ CUP prepared barbecue sauce
1/3 CUP tomato paste
2/3 CUP water
¼ CUP green onions (scallions) chopped
2 TEASPOONS apple cider vinegar
½ TEASPOON smoked paprika
¼ TEASPOON freshly ground black pepper
6 whole-grain buns (less than 3 grams of fat, with 3 grams or more of fiber)
¾ CUP nonfat cheese, such as Monterey Jack or mozzarella shredded (optional)
¼ CUP green onions (scallions) chopped for garnish


1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine ground meat alternative, pinto beans, and barbecue sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together tomato paste and water until smooth. Add tomato paste to bean mixture along with ¼ cup green onions, apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, and pepper.
2. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is warm and flavors have melded, 5-7 minutes. While filling is cooking, toast buns.
3. To serve as a closed sandwich, spoon ½ cup filling onto bottom half of bun. Top with 2 tablespoons grated nonfat cheese and a sprinkle of green onions, if using. Top with top half of bun. To serve open faced, spoon ¼ cup filling over each half of bun. Top each half with 1 tablespoon nonfat grated cheese and a sprinkle of green onion, if using.

Chef’s Notes:
Choosing a Barbecue Sauce
Prepared barbecue sauces can vary widely in the amount of sugar and fat they can contain. Be sure to check the nutritional information on the label, and look for a barbecue sauce with less than 5 grams of sugar and less than 3 grams of fat per serving, without hydrogenated fats or highly saturated fats such as coconut oil. Ideally, choose brands that do not include high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, or artificial colors. One example is Annie’s Organic BBQ Sauce, which contains 4 grams of sugar and 1 gram of fat per serving.

Shopping list:
12-oz package ground meat alternative (1)
15-oz can pinto beans (1)
6-oz can tomato paste (1)
Prepared barbecue sauce, less than 8 gm sugar and 3 gms fat per serving (1/2 CUP)
Scallions (1 BUNCH)
Apple cider vinegar
Smoked paprika
Shredded nonfat cheese (3/4 CUP)
Whole grain buns (6)

For more Ornish recipes, visit the online Recipedia.

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