Jerk seitan sloppy joes for a fast dinner on Meatless Monday

It's tough to find the time to cook much of anything during the busy holiday season, but you don't have to sacrifice a sit-down dinner for drive-through. This jerk seitan sloppy joe recipe takes less than half an hour to throw together -- including the creamed spinach that tops off the sloppy joe -- and will feed four to six hungry adults, so it's a great choice for a weeknight meal. We adapted this recipe from Isa Does It.

See also: Homemade seitan for a meat substitute on Meatless Monday

You will need:

2 tablespoons coconut oil 1 medium yellow onion 3/4 teaspoon plus one pinch of salt 1 pound seitan (we used some from Denver Seitan Company, but you can also make your own -- just remember to allow more time) 5 cloves garlic 1 teaspoon ginger 2 teaspoons thyme 2 teaspoons paprika 1/2 teaspoon allspice 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon freshly ground black pepper 1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes 2 tablespoons maple syrup 1 lime 2 teaspoons yellow mustard 1 pound baby spinach 1 cup coconut milk (if you want really creamy creamed spinach, use canned coconut milk instead of the stuff that comes in a carton) 2 star anise pods 6 burger buns -- the bigger, the better

1. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large, cast-iron skillet. Chop up the onion. Add the onion to the skillet with a pinch of salt and cook until soft, about five minutes. While the onion is cooking, chop up the seitan into bite-sized pieces -- this is really as big as you want them to be. This onion looks perfect. Time to add the seitan! 2. Throw the seitan in the skillet -- and peel those garlic cloves in the meantime. Stir frequently while the seitan cooks (about five minutes); you want it to be browned and crispy on the outside. 3. Move the onion and seitan to the side and add a little more oil for cooking the garlic. Press three cloves of garlic into the pan and saute the garlic quickly -- don't let it burn! Stir the garlic in with the seitan and onion. 4. Add the ginger, thyme, paprika, allspice, pepper flakes, cinnamon, black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir in all those spices. Add the tomatoes and stir everything well. Cook for about ten minutes, cooking frequently, until everything is combined. 5. While the sloppy joe mixture is working, start making the creamed spinach for the top. Melt the rest of the coconut oil in a large pot or pan over medium heat. Press the remaining two cloves of garlic into the oil and cook it up quickly; be careful not to let it burn. When it's browned -- which will happen quickly -- then add the spinach; this is where buying prewashed baby spinach can save you a bunch of time. (If you didn't do that, make sure you've washed the spinach beforehand and removed the stems.) 6. Add the spinach, a handful at a time, letting it wilt so you can add more, until it's all in the pot or pan. You'll only need to cook it about three minutes to let it wilt properly. Drain any excess water out of the pot or pan into the sink (you'll need to scrape all the spinach to the side to do this). 7. Add the coconut milk, star anise pods and the rest of the salt. Bring the coconut milk to a boil, stirring frequently, and cook for about five minutes. Then remove the star anise pods, turn off the heat and let it rest for about ten minutes. If your sloppy joe mixture is finished, keep it warm until the creamed spinach is ready. To serve, spoon the sloppy joe mixture onto a bun and top it with the creamed spinach. Delicious!

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