Comeback Sauce

Earlier this week I made some amazing steak fries and I needed a dipping sauce for them that was equally as epic. Plain old ketchup was just not going to do, so I made some Comeback Sauce. Comeback Sauce is a creamy, tangy, sweet, and savory sauce that’s great for dipping, dunking, drizzling, and smearing […]

The post Comeback Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Earlier this week I made some amazing steak fries and I needed a dipping sauce for them that was equally as epic. Plain old ketchup was just not going to do, so I made some Comeback Sauce. Comeback Sauce is a creamy, tangy, sweet, and savory sauce that’s great for dipping, dunking, drizzling, and smearing onto just about any food. It’s not called “comeback sauce” for nothing. It will keep you coming back for more. And more. And MORE. (I “accidentally” ate an entire bunch of broccoli in one sitting, thanks to this delicious sauce.)

Comeback Sauce – Creamy, Tangy, Sweet, and Savory

A piece of roasted broccoli being dipped into a bowl of comeback sauce

What is Comeback Sauce?

This unique sauce is said to have originated in a Greek restaurant in Mississippi, but it quickly spread throughout the entire south. The original sauce had a base of mayonnaise and Heinz Chili Sauce (a tomato based sauce not to be confused with Sweet Chili Sauce), plus some other seasonings. There are many interpretations of this addictive sauce, with each person putting their own spin on the original as it spread across the region. Because Heinz Chili Sauce is not something I keep in my pantry, I made a few substitutions to create a similar flavor profile using items that I keep on hand, and in the process put the Budget Bytes stamp on the classic comeback sauce. ;)

What Do You Serve it With?

What can you not serve it with is probably a more appropriate question! It’s a fantastic all-purpose dip for things like roasted vegetables (shown with roasted broccoli), fried foods like french fries, chicken fingers or nuggets, or chips. It’s also great smeared onto burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, or wrap sandwiches. I wouldn’t be opposed to using this as a salad dressing, or using it to make an extra flavorful batch of coleslaw!

Close up of broccoli being dipped into comeback sauce

 
Close up of broccoli being dipped into comeback sauce

Comeback Sauce

This creamy, tangy, sweet, and savory Comeback Sauce is great for dipping, drizzling, smearing, and smothering all of your favorite foods. 
Total Cost $1.03 recipe. /$0.21 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 5 2 Tbsp each
Calories 158.8kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise $0.80
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup $0.10
  • 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce $0.01
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp hot sauce* $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until evenly mixed. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Notes

*Any vinegar based hot sauce like Tabasco.

Nutrition

Serving: 2Tbsp | Calories: 158.8kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.44g | Protein: 0.34g | Fat: 16.52g | Sodium: 319.92mg | Fiber: 0.06g

Check out these other homemade sauces:

A bowl of comeback sauce surrounded by roasted broccoli

How to Make Comeback Sauce – Step by Step Photos

sauce ingredients in a bowl, not mixed

Combine ½ cup mayonnaise, 2 Tbsp ketchup, 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, ½ tsp Dijon mustard, 1/8 tsp hot sauce, ¼ tsp smoked paprika, ⅛ tsp garlic powder, ⅛ tsp freshly cracked black pepper, and ⅛ tsp salt.

Finished comeback sauce being stirred with a red spatula

Stir the ingredients together until smooth. Serve or refrigerate until ready to eat!

Overhead view of a bowl of comeback sauce surrounded by roasted broccoli

Shown with roasted broccoli – toss broccoli in oil, then roast at 400ºF for about 30 minutes, or until you reach your desired level of brown.

The post Comeback Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

How To Make Your Own Balsamic Ketchup

I have a deep love and appreciation for ketchup. (You’ve seen my Cranberry Chipotle Ketchup recipe, right?) So naturally, when I saw that Heinz was introducing a ketchup made with balsamic vinegar, I decided that I needed to try it immediately. A…

I have a deep love and appreciation for ketchup. (You’ve seen my Cranberry Chipotle Ketchup recipe, right?) So naturally, when I saw that Heinz was introducing a ketchup made with balsamic vinegar, I decided that I needed to try it immediately. And then I found out it wasn’t available everywhere; it seemed the stores I frequent are not stores that carry it. Obviously, I had to try to make it myself. Obviously! I adapted this balsamic ketchup recipe from Serious Eats’ Homemade Ketchup. Are you ready to make ketchup? Let’s get started! You will need these things: 2 tbsp olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 1 (28 oz) can tomato puree 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp tomato paste 1/2 tsp kosher salt 1/2 tsp ground mustard 1/8 tsp ground cloves, for that certain je ne sais quoi (yes, the “quoi” in ketchup is cloves—of this, I am certain) 1/8 tsp allspice 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Add the tomato […]

Vegan Sloppy Joes

This vegan Sloppy Joes recipe has a tangy lentil filling that’s full of flavor and nutrients! It’s a plant based dinner everyone will love. Looking for plant based recipes to please everyone at the table? These days, Alex and I getting lots of requests for veggie-centric recipes to feed a crowd. In fact, per the New York Times, 40% of Americans are now looking to eat more plant based recipes. And what better to please a crowd than Sloppy Joes? These vegan Sloppy Joes have a zingy lentil filling that tastes just as good as the meaty version. Put it on a toasted bun with some bread and butter pickles, and WOW! You’re going to love this one (promise). Ready to get cooking? What’s in these vegan Sloppy Joes? These vegan Sloppy Joes are full of whole food plant based (WFPB) ingredients. Lentils form the base, and they’re covered in a gooey sauce with savory spices! Here’s what they’ve got: Onion, garlic, and green pepper bring big flavor Brown or green lentils are the base: they provide texture and lots of plant based protein Olive oil & vegetable broth for sauteing and simmering Organic ketchup: look for organic and read […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This vegan Sloppy Joes recipe has a tangy lentil filling that’s full of flavor and nutrients! It’s a plant based dinner everyone will love.

Vegan sloppy joes

Looking for plant based recipes to please everyone at the table? These days, Alex and I getting lots of requests for veggie-centric recipes to feed a crowd. In fact, per the New York Times, 40% of Americans are now looking to eat more plant based recipes. And what better to please a crowd than Sloppy Joes? These vegan Sloppy Joes have a zingy lentil filling that tastes just as good as the meaty version. Put it on a toasted bun with some bread and butter pickles, and WOW! You’re going to love this one (promise). Ready to get cooking?

Vegan Sloppy Joes

What’s in these vegan Sloppy Joes?

These vegan Sloppy Joes are full of whole food plant based (WFPB) ingredients. Lentils form the base, and they’re covered in a gooey sauce with savory spices! Here’s what they’ve got:

  • Onion, garlic, and green pepper bring big flavor
  • Brown or green lentils are the base: they provide texture and lots of plant based protein
  • Olive oil & vegetable broth for sauteing and simmering
  • Organic ketchup: look for organic and read the label to find a ketchup with as few ingredients as possible!
  • Vegan Worcestershire sauce: It can be found at your local grocery store or online! If you don’t eat 100% vegan, you can use regular (it has a small amount of anchovies).
  • Spices: mustard powder, onion powder and chili powder round it out!
Sloppy Joe lentil filling

The basic method: how to make vegan Sloppy Joes

These vegan Sloppy Joes are very easy to make! They do take about 50 minutes total, but most of that is hands off. So, you’ll have to plan ahead on this one. Leftovers save well, so if you don’t have time on a weeknight, meal prep a batch and have it in the fridge. It tastes just as good days later! Here are the basic steps for this recipe:

  • Prep the veggies: Dice the onion, garlic and green pepper. Because what good Sloppy Joes recipe doesn’t have green pepper?
  • Saute: Saute the veggies for 5 minutes.
  • Simmer: Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes until a thick sauce forms and the lentils are tender.
  • Stir in ketchup and serve. You’ll stir in one last hit of ketchup to intensify the flavor.
Plant based sloppy Joes

Why lentils? A note on plant based meats

Many vegan Sloppy Joes recipes use plant based meat versions of ground beef. Here’s the thing: Alex and I aren’t so into plant based meat substitutes (like veggie crumbles or Impossible Burger). They’re all the rage these days, but guess what? They’re also processed food.

According to Dr. David Katz in Heated, plant based meats are a step up from eating processed meats, but a step down from whole foods. So if you’re looking to eat lots of plants for your health: start with actual veggies! That’s why we’ve used lentils as the filling in these Sloppy Joes.

Make it in advance, or use our quicker version!

If you want to make it on a weeknight but don’t have 50 minutes, we get it! We usually don’t either. Here’s what we would do:

  • Meal prep in advance. Make it the night before or on the weekend. Leftovers save well! Just refrigerate them until serving, and reheat in a saucepan. Add an extra squeeze of ketchup if it seems dry.
  • Use our quicker version. Try our Two-Bean Sloppy Joes: they take just 20 minutes! We like the flavor and texture of these a little better, but the bean version is nice for a quick fix.
Plant based dinner ideas

Everyone loves them…including kids!

These vegan Sloppy Joes are a nice plant-based meal for people who are on the fence about veggies. They’re crowd pleasing and have a cozy, comforting vibe. They’re also a great vegan recipe for kids! Our son Larson loved them. Of course, they do get a little sloppy: so beware!

More healthy plant based dinner recipes

Looking for more healthy plant based dinner recipes? That’s our forte around here. Here are some you might enjoy:

  • Minestrone Soup Minestrone soup is a colorful Italian soup full of hearty vegetables and pasta! This recipe is an easy plant based dinner or lunch recipe.
  • Easy Sheet Pan Dinner This easy sheet pan dinner is filled with healthy vegetables and fresh flavor! Throw it all in the oven while you cook rice or quinoa. Dinnertime win!
  • Easy Chickpea Curry The ultimate healthy and easy weeknight dinner! It’s done in 20 minutes, totally plant based, and full of flavor.

This vegan Sloppy Joes recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free buns.

Print
Vegan sloppy joes

Vegan Sloppy Joes (That Everyone Loves!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings

Description

This vegan Sloppy Joes recipe has a tangy lentil filling that’s full of flavor and nutrients! It’s a plant based dinner everyone will love.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 green bell pepper (about 3/4 cup diced)
  • 1 medium onion (about 1 cup diced)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups brown or green lentils
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups organic ketchup, divided*
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon each mustard powder, onion powder, chili powder, and kosher salt
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • Pickled onions, to serve
  • Bread and butter pickles, to serve
  • 8 whole wheat buns (make sure they are vegan, use gluten-free as desired)

Instructions

  1. Dice the bell pepper. Dice the onion. Mince the garlic.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the bell pepper and onion and cook 5 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the lentils, vegetable broth, 1 cup ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, onion powder, chili powder, and kosher salt. Simmer uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes until most of the liquid is cooked out and the lentils are tender.
  4. Stir in another 1/2 cup ketchup. Remove from the heat and serve on a bun with pickled onions and pickles. (If desired, toast the buns prior to serving.) Make ahead: Leftovers save well for 3 to 4 days. Make in advance, refrigerate and then reheat in a saucepan. Add an extra squeeze of ketchup if it seems dry.

Notes

*Look for organic ketchup and read the label to make sure it has as few ingredients as possible. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: Vegan Sloppy Joes

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce

One of my biggest pet peeves is having a million half-used condiments in my fridge. So if I can quickly whip up a homemade sauce with pantry staples, I’m going to do that before buying another bottle! This Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce is the perfect example. At its most basic, a sweet and sour […]

The post Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

One of my biggest pet peeves is having a million half-used condiments in my fridge. So if I can quickly whip up a homemade sauce with pantry staples, I’m going to do that before buying another bottle! This Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce is the perfect example. At its most basic, a sweet and sour sauce is just sugar and vinegar, flavored with a splash of soy sauce and ketchup. But there are also plenty of ways you can jazz it up and make it your own, so I’ll also include those below!

A dumpling being dipped into a bowl of Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce on a colorful plate.

Small Batch For The Win

I like to make my homemade sauces in small batches so there are no leftovers because having a million half-used homemade sauces in your fridge is just as annoying as having a million half-used bottled sauces in your fridge. The recipe below makes about 1/2 cup of sauce, but can easily be doubled or tripled if needed. Simply adjust the number of servings in the servings box in the recipe card and all of the ingredient quantities will adjust for you. There will be no change to the cooking method.

How to Use Sweet and Sour Sauce

Sweet and sour sauce is amazing as a dip, glaze for meat, or sauce for stir fry. I show it being used as a dipping sauce for gyoza above, but it’s also great for dipping egg rolls, fried wontons, shrimp, or chicken nuggets. The sweet and tangy flavor pairs perfectly with pork and can be used on pork chops (See Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables), as a glaze for ham, or a sauce for meatballs. It also makes a quick pour-on sauce for any stir fry.

A bowl of Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce on a colorful plate with dumplings, chopsticks on the side.

Customize Your Sweet and Sour Sauce

The recipe listed below is a very basic, simple sweet and sour sauce. If you want to change up your sauce and do something a little more interesting, here are a few options:

  • Zingy – Add 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Spicy – Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, or a small squirt of sriracha
  • Pineapple – Replace the water with pineapple juice and reduce the brown sugar by 1 Tbsp

How Long Does Sweet and Sour Sauce Keep?

This sauce is best when used the same day, but since it doesn’t have any “fresh” ingredients in it, it will keep for quite a while in your fridge. You can keep the homemade sweet and sour sauce in an air-tight container in your refrigerator for about a week, but it may begin to seep water if kept much longer. 

 

Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce

This Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce can be whipped up in minutes with only a few pantry staples, so you don't have to keep another condiment in your fridge! 

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar ($0.16)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar ($0.48)
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup ($0.10)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce ($0.04)
  • 2 Tbsp water ($0.00)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch ($0.01)
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small pot and whisk until the sugar and cornstarch have dissolved. The sauce will have a slightly milky brown appearance.

  2. Heat the sauce over medium, while whisking, until it begins to simmer. Once it begins to simmer the cornstarch will thicken the sauce and it will turn from cloudy to shiny in appearance. Serve immediately.

  3. Serve the sweet and sour sauce immediately or refrigerate for up to one week.

What is your favorite food to eat with sweet and sour sauce? Let me know in the comments below!

Close up of a dumpling being dipped into a bowl of Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce

Step by Step Photos

Whisk Sweet and Sour Sauce Ingredients in a pot

Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp ketchup, 1 tsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp water, and 1 tsp cornstarch in a small pot. Whisk the ingredients together until the sugar and cornstarch dissolve.

Shiny cooked sweet and sour sauce in the pot, being scooped with a spoon.

Heat the sauce over medium, whisking continuously, until it begins to simmer. Once it reaches a simmer the cornstarch will thicken the sauce and it will go from looking cloudy to more of a glossy glaze.

A dumpling sitting in a bowl of sweet and sour sauce, on a plate full of dumplings.

Serve the sauce immediately, or refrigerate up to one week. If kept longer than that, water may begin to seep out and separate from the sauce.

The post Simple Sweet and Sour Sauce appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables

Easy dinners are my jam! I love these Sweet and Sour Pork Chops because they’re a super fast alternative to take out, they require NO chopping, you need only a few pantry staples to make the sauce, and it meal preps well. What else could I want? Avoid Hockey Puck Pork Chops If you’ve avoided […]

The post Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy dinners are my jam! I love these Sweet and Sour Pork Chops because they’re a super fast alternative to take out, they require NO chopping, you need only a few pantry staples to make the sauce, and it meal preps well. What else could I want?

Close up view from the front of Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables in the skillet

Avoid Hockey Puck Pork Chops

If you’ve avoided making pork chops in the past because they turn out dry and tough, you’ve got to give this method a try. Giving them a quick sear in a hot skillet then finishing them off later in the sauce allows the the outside to brown and heats them through before the pork chops have a chance to dry out.

If you’re new to cooking meat or pork in particular, I always suggest investing in an instant read thermometer so you know as soon as your meat has reached a safe temperature. Cooking meat beyond that point is how you usually end up with a dry, tough hockey puck. For pork chops, the safe internal temperature is 145ºF. I use this Digital Instant Read Thermometer, which retails for under $15, but is absolutely priceless in the kitchen.

Can I Reduce The Sugar in the Sweet and Sour Pork Chops?

Sweet and sour sauce is a sugar based sauce, by nature. You might be able to get away with reducing it by a tablespoon or two, depending on your taste buds (the sauce will be a lot more tangy that way), but this just isn’t a recipe to make if you’re living a low-sugar lifestyle. Unfortunately I don’t cook with sugar substitutes, so I’m not sure how they would perform here.

Close up overhead view of pork chops in the skillet with vegetables, covered with sweet and sour sauce.

Sauce Options:

This is a SUPER simple sauce, but if you want to spruce it up a bit you can add a little grated fresh ginger, a pinch of red pepper flakes, or even a dab of sriracha or chili garlic sauce. Another option is to use my Homemade Teriyaki Sauce in place of the sweet and sour sauce.

What Kind of Pork Chops Should I Use?

This recipe is designed for use with boneless center cut pork chops, approximately 1-inch thick. If you use thinner pork chops they will cook faster. If you use thicker pork chops or bone-in pork chops, they will take much longer to cook through. Again, an instant read meat thermometer is invaluable! 

Close up of Sweet and Sour Sauce being spooned over a pork chop in the skillet, surrounded by vegetables and sauce.

 

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables

A few pantry staples are needed for these juicy Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables, making them a quick and easy alternative to take-out.

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar ($0.32)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar ($0.96)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup ($0.20)
  • 1/4 cup water ($0.00)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce ($0.08)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch ($0.02)
  • 4 boneless, center cut pork chops, 1-inch thick (about 1.5 lbs. total) ($5.50)
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper ($0.05)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.08)
  • 12 oz. frozen stir fry vegetables ($1.65)
  1. Add the brown sugar, rice vinegar, ketchup, water, soy sauce, and cornstarch to a bowl and whisk until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Set the sauce aside.

  2. Season the pork chops with a pinch of salt and pepper on each side.

  3. Preheat a large skillet over medium, or just slightly above medium. Once the skillet is nice and hot, add the cooking oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add the pork chops and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until they are nicely browned. Remove the pork chops to a clean plate and cover with a second plate (turned upside down) to keep them warm.

  4. Add the frozen vegetables to the skillet and continue to cook and stir over medium for about two minutes, or just long enough to take some of the ice off (they may still be icy in the center). Give the sauce a brief stir in case any of the cornstarch has settled, then add it to the skillet with the vegetables. Continue to cook and stir until the sauce begins to simmer, at which point it will thicken and go from a cloudy brown to a shiny glaze.

  5. Add the cooked pork chops back to the skillet with the vegetables and sauce. Let the pork chops simmer in the sauce for 2-3 minutes more, or until the internal temperature reaches 145ºF. Serve hot, over rice or noodles.

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A plate with rice and sweet and sour pork chops with vegetables, a black fork on the side of the plate.

Step by Step Photos

Sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl, unmixed.

Make the sweet and sour sauce first, so it’s ready to add to the skillet when you need it. Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup water, 2 tsp soy sauce, and 2 tsp cornstarch in a bowl. If you want to jazz this up a bit you can always add some grated fresh ginger or even some crushed red pepper.

Whisk the sweet and sour sauce ingredients

Whisk the sweet and sour sauce ingredients together until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. The uncooked sauce will have a cloudy brown appearance.

Season center cut pork chops with salt and pepper

Season four boneless center cut pork chops (about 1-inch thick, 1.5 pounds total for all four) with a pinch of salt and pepper on each side. 

Browned Pork Chops

Heat a large skillet over medium, or just slightly above medium. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp cooking oil (your preferred type) and swirl to coat the skillet. Add the pork chops and cook on each side for about 5 minutes, or until they are browned. The pork will return to the skillet later, so they don’t need to be all the way up to 145ºF at this point. Remove the pork chops to a clean plate and cover with a second plate to keep them warm.

Add frozen vegetables and sweet and sour sauce to the skillet.

Add a 12oz. bag of frozen stir fry vegetables to the skillet and continue to cook over medium for about 2 minutes, or just until they begin to thaw. Give the sweet and sour sauce a brief stir, then add it to the skillet with the vegetables.

Cooked stir fry vegetables and sweet and sour sauce in the skillet

Continue to cook the vegetables and sauce, stirring often, until the sauce begins to simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, the cornstarch will thicken the sauce and it will go from cloudy to a shiny glaze. 

Pork Chops added back to the skillet with the vegetables and sauce.

Add the pork chops back to the skillet with the sauce and vegetables, and let them simmer in the sauce for a few minutes more, or until they reach an internal temperature of 145ºF. Serve hot over rice or noodles!

The post Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Vegetables appeared first on Budget Bytes.