Healthier Sloppy Joes

by Shawnda on September 8, 2010

in Beef,Chicken & Poultry,Lighter & Healthier,Sandwich, Wraps, & Quesadillas

Homemade Healthy Sloppy Joes

Every Sunday, I sit down and plan our dinners for the week. All 7 of them. And yet somehow I then spend the majority of the next 7 nights trying to get around the menu. What sounded good on Sunday just doesn’t sound as appealing on Tuesday. Or Wednesday. Or Friday. Maybe I get a new magazine. Or the Williams-Sonoma mailer comes in. Or something pops into my Google reader that sounds better. Like tonight.

I liked sloppy joes growing up. I can’t remember if it came in a can or if it was a dry mix package sort of thing, but we ate them pretty frequently. Just a few nights before, I told The Foodie Groom that I was putting homemade sloppy joes on the menu. I had a plan for a sandwich with a Mexican-inspired sauce using roasted jalapenos, poblanos, and Rotel (Sloppy Joses, ha!) And then the very next day, a recipe for homemade sloppy joes showed up in my Google reader courtesy of Ezra Pound Cake. My version could wait ’til next week.

I upped the veggie ante quite a bit, sneaking in some obliterated – initially undetectable and therefore not objectionable by The Foodie Groom – red bell pepper, carrots, and zucchini. The extra veggies stretched the original 4 servings to 8 sandwiches and added plenty of fiber.

The recipe is a winner. A definite keeper. And for the record, according to the menu, tonight’s dinner was supposed to be Chicken Pesto Panini. Maybe tomorrow :)

Healthy Sloppy Joes

A lighter, healthier version of Sloppy Joes.


  • 1/2 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 3 or 4 pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed and halved
  • 1/2 large zucchini, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey (or beef)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar (not packed)
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar*
  • A couple of dashes Tobasco
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp creole mustard
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Buns/Bread for serving (we used Oroweat Sandwich Thins, cut sides toasted)


  1. Place the onion, red bell pepper, carrot, zucchini, and garlic in the bowl of your food processor and obliterate to a cross between finely chopped and pulp (~10 seconds).
  2. Cook ground turkey/beef in a large skillet (I used a non-stick). Strain any far away from the meat and transfer the meat to a bowl. Add olive oil to the pan and heat over medium high. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-10 minutes, until most of the moisture is gone and the vegetables begin to brown. Stir in the chili powder and cumin and then add the cooked meat back to the pan.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes, water, brown sugar, vinegar (to taste), mustard, Tobasco, and tomato paste to the pan. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and seasoning with S&P to taste. Serving suggestion: on buns with kettle chips and beer.


Yields: 8 servings

Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

Estimated time: 30 minutes

Nutritional Information
Calories: 251.2 | Fat: 4.5 | Fiber 7.9
WW Points: 5

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