Saucy, sloppy beans and veggies covered in a hearty cornbread crust. This Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole is one of those down-home comfort food meals that make you feel all warm and cozy inside. You’ll want to lick your plate clean!
Today, I’m bringing you a comfort food recipe from my first cookbook, The Meatless Monday Family Cookbook. It’s perfect for cooler temps or anytime you’re craving comfort food.
It’s my Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine!
Ingredients for the filling
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Beans ~ I like a combo of red and white kidney beans, but black beans, navy beans, or even black eyed peas would work.
Vegetables ~ I use green bell pepper as it’s traditional in sloppy joe recipes. I add carrot for texture and sweetness. And corn is the perfect accompaniment to the flavors of this dish.
Any color bell pepper will work. If you like a little heat, feel free to add a diced jalapeño pepper or two. Diced celery or zucchini would also be nice in addition to or in place of the carrots and corn.
Worcestershire sauce ~ Typical Worcestershire sauce isn’t vegan as it contains anchovies and/or fish sauce. However, there are a few brands on the market today that make a vegan Worcestershire sauce. My favorite is The Wizard’s. Annie’s is another good brand.
Sweetener ~ I use organic brown sugar in this recipe. Coconut sugar or pure maple syrup can be used if you prefer.
Note: not all sugars are vegan due to the way they are processed, but organic varieties will aways be vegan.
Liquid smoke ~ I like Colgin brand liquid smoke. It comes in either mesquite or hickory flavors. Either one will work for this sloppy joe cornbread casserole recipe. Use your favorite.
Smoked paprika can be used instead.
Ingredients for the crust
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Cornmeal ~ It wouldn’t be cornbread without cornmeal. I prefer a medium or fine ground cornmeal. White or yellow cornmeal will both work.
Flour ~ I typically use white whole wheat flour. All purpose will certainly work, as well as spelt flour. I haven’t personally tried, but I assume a gluten free 1:1 flour blend would work as well.
Milk ~ Almond, oat, soy, cashew – doesn’t really matter which you choose. Just look for an unsweetened, plain variety.
Oil ~ I don’t always use oil when cooking or baking, but it really helps to keep the cornbread moist and hold it together.
How to make the recipe
I love a good casserole! A mash of flavors and textures all in one dish. And most casseroles, like this Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole, are easy to make.
The filling is done quickly in a skillet on the stove.
Once the veggies are tender and the sauce has thickened up, pour the filling into a rectangular baking dish and spread out evenly.
While the filling is cooking, the cornbread topping is easily whisked in a bowl.
Gently spread the cornbread batter evenly over the saucy beans in the baking dish. Be careful not to press down as you spread the batter out so the crust doesn’t get mixed in with the filling. But, don’t worry if a little bit of the batter seeps through into the filling, it will turn out just fine!
Bake for 25 minutes or until the cornbread crust is set and golden brown. A toothpick inserted into the cornbread layer should come out clean.
Leftovers will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
You can also freeze this Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole. Bake the casserole as directed, let cool completely, and then wrap the casserole dish tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. It will keep well in the freezer for 3 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat, covered with foil (be sure to take off the plastic wrap!!) in a 325°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until warmed through.
Pro tips for success
~ Drain and rinse the canned beans well under cold water before adding them to the skillet.
~ Although it can be tempting to just dump all the ingredients into the baking dish, don’t skip the stove top instructions. This is needed for the vegetables to cook down and the sauce to thicken.
~ Simmer the filling in the skillet until its thick and bubbly before adding it to the baking dish.
~ Spread the cornbread batter gently over the saucy beans. You don’t want the batter and the filling to mix, although it’s fine if a little bit seeps through into the filling.
~ Let the casserole rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
White cornmeal is generally used in southern-style cornbread, but here in the midwest, yellow cornmeal is typical. There is really no substantial difference other than color.
Cornmeal comes in coarse, medium or fine grinds. I prefer medium or fine ground cornmeal for cornbread. Coarse ground may be used, but will result in a crunchier cornbread.
No. They are both made from milled dried corn, but they differ greatly in texture. Corn flour is very finely ground and has a smooth texture. Cornmeal is more coarsely ground and retains some texture.
This Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole is done when the top becomes golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the crust comes out clean.
The Meatless Monday Family Cookbook
The recipes in this book are the ones my family and I enjoy on any given day. They are simple, yet incredibly tasty, with easy to find ingredients. Most of them are easily customizable so you can use the vegetables or grains your family loves best.
The Meatless Monday Family Cookbook features more than 100 kid-friendly, plant based recipes to help you go meatless one day a week….or every day!
Most of them are perfect for busy weeknights. Many of them are comforting enough to serve for Sunday supper.
All of them are made with easy to find ingredients. Included is a section on how to stock your pantry so a quick meatless meal is always at your fingertips.
No matter your experience with cooking, you’ll find these recipes simple, yet flavorful.
Handy Kids in the Kitchen tips are strewn throughout with suggestions for getting your kids involved in the cooking process, too.
Read more details about the cookbook here.
Take a peek inside
There are 11 Chapters inside The Meatless Monday Family Cookbook.
I’ve included a handful of recipes in the cookbook that are already on my blog because they are reader favorites that are always a huge hit.
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Sloppy Pineapple Chickpea BBQ Sandwiches
- Black Bean Zucchini Enchiladas
- Lentil Bolognese
- Creamy Dairy Free Potato Soup
Here is a sampling of what else you’ll find:
Getting Started with Meatless Monday – Why Meatless Monday; Pantry and Kitchen Essentials; Getting the Kids Involved
Hearty Soups – Creamy Vegetable Noodle Soup; Mixed Lentil Quinoa Soup; Rustic Winter Stew
Satisfying Salads – Very Berry Quinoa Salad with Cinnamon Toasted Pecans; Black Bean and Rice Kale Salad; BBQ Ranch Romaine Pasta Salad
Loaded Handhelds – Falafel Pitas with Quick Pickled Red Onions and Lemon-Dill-Tahini Sauce; Smashed Black Bean Green Chile Quesadillas; Smoky BBQ Burgers
Bountiful Bowls – Pineapple Curried Cauliflower Rice Bowls; Fried Rice Bowls with Baked Tofu; BBQ Chickpea and Veggie Bowls
Perfect Pasta – Buttered Noodles with Roasted Cauliflower and Seedy Bread Crumbs; Rigatoni with Zucchini and Corn; Pumpkin Maple-Glazed Penne with Roasted Fall Vegetables
One Pot Wonders – Quick Peanut Noodles; Summer Vegetable Tomato Rice Skillet; Skillet Chickpea Chilaquiles
Comforting Casseroles – Potpie Noodle Casserole; Baked Garlic White Mac and Cheese with Garlic Bread Crumb Topping; and the Sloppy Joe Casserole with Cornbread Crust featured in this post, recipe follows.
Center Stage Vegetables – Roasted Potato Wedges with the World’s Easiest Chili; Cheesy Broccoli Stuffed Baked Potatoes; Thai Sweet Potato Curry
Breakfast for Dinner – Garlicky White Bean Avocado Toast with BBQ Drizzle; Oatmeal Cookie Granola Parfait; Oven-Baked Potato Hash
Sauces and Stapes – Maple Dijon Vinaigrette; Romesco Sauce; Sharp Salsa Queso Dip
More vegan comfort food recipes
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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For even more easy family recipes, be sure to check out my cookbook, The Meatless Monday Family Cookbook!
Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole
For the Casserole
- 1 tablespoon (28 ml) olive oil
- ½ red onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 carrots peeled and diced
- 1 green bell pepper seeded and diced
- 1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans (white kidney beans) drained and rinsed
- 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
- ¼ cup (60 g) ketchup
- ¼ cup (60 g) organic brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons (28 ml) vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke optional
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- 1 cup (164 g) fresh or frozen corn kernels
For the Cornbread Crust
- 1 ¼ cups (175 g) cornmeal
- ¾ cup (94 g) white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups (285 ml) unsweetened plain almond milk or milk of choice
- ½ cup (160 g) pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celcius, or gas mark 6)
For the Casserole
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, carrots, and bell pepper and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the remaining ingredients, except the corn, and stir well. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick and bubbly. Add the corn and stir to combine.
For the Cornbread Crust
- Meanwhile, whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk the almond milk, maple syrup, and vegetable oil in a separate mixing bowl. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir well to combine.
- Pour the sloppy joe mixture into an 8- x 11- inch (20 x 28 cm) or similar casserole dish. Pour the cornbread mix over the top and gently smooth out in an even layer. Be careful not to push the cornbread mix into the sloppy joe mixture, although it's okay if a little bit seeps through.
- Bake for 25 to 28 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the cornbread comes out clean. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.