Healthier Sloppy Joes

in Beef, Chicken & Turkey, DIY, Lighter & Healthier, Quick & Easy, Sandwich & Wraps

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

22 comments… add one
  • Yay for sneaking extra vegetables to increase number of servings! I did that with Shepherd’s Pie. 🙂

  • sneaky but still good. i would devour this because its so thick. i need to put my cheese on there. LOL

  • these look so tempting Shawnda! i’m assuming the WW Points include the sandwich thin, correct? i saw the sandwich thin was 2pts so i just wanted to make sure before i start Pointing up my dinners for next week.

    • Yes, but not the homemade sandwich thin (those are 2 points). I’m going to try to get the next batch of thins down to 1 point because the Oroweat thins that I used (and included in the point total) are only 1 point.

  • haha I do the SAME thing… oh my goodness. I plan it all out on Sunday and get all my shopping done(i live in walking distance to Publix) so i have to plan ahead or I’m there every day & spend way too much $! Then come Wednesday I’m SO not feeling what I originally had planned. ugh. Thank goodness for the Freezer! 🙂

  • King Arthur Flour has a high fiber flour blend (1cup = 20g fiber) that is 6pts per 1 cup rather than 9pts for AP flour. it’s a little on the pricey side but in a recipe like the homemade sandwich thins that isn’t dominated by AP flour, it would help reduce the pts.

  • I am exactly the same way. I plan the whole week’s meals and always end up trying to change them cause different things just sound better! And I have only the groceries I bought (based on the menu plan) to work with, so it is funny to see what comes out sometimes. 🙂 these sloppy joes look delish! I love sneaking in extra veggies.

  • My daughter was just asking for these and I told her I had no idea how to make them…now I do. THanks.

  • i love sloppy joes! ellie krieger has a really good recipe also where she adds pinto beans

  • Glad to hear that doesn’t just happen to me 🙂

    They look yummy!


  • I’m going to go ahead and bookmark this. I had a strange childhood, food-wise, and had never had a Sloppy Joe. They sounded good though (meat plus tomato sauce in a sandwich? What’s not to love?) but the one time I tried making them it was really gross. I think it’s because I put beer in it and it ended up tasting way too beer-y for my tastes. This version sounds far superior. Love your use of your sandwich thins, too.

  • I love sloppy joes. I’ve always had them homemade, my mom’s recipe is great. I love it.

  • This is interesting, I’m definitely going to pocket this recipe. I’ve never made sloppy joes without the can of Manwich – is that a sin? Maybe I’ve never had a “true” sloppy joe then. Anyway, thanks for this!

  • Looks healthy and delicious! A good combination!

  • Cedarglen

    Foodie Groom is a lucky man. This looks GREAT. After studying the formula, my only adaptation would be to dump the sugar. Brown sugar is fine, but not here; it is already ‘sweet’ the the added veggies. A darn good go.
    As far as the weekly planner, have fun, but as you already, it won’t work. Keep the placed stocked with good stuff (including the freezer) and Foodie B&G will eat well.

  • Sarah S.

    I’m making your sloppy joes for dinner tonight! I’ll let you know how it goes. As for me I make a menu for the week but don’t pick what I’m making that specific night until I get home from work. That way I have the groceries in my house but I still get to pick what I want for dinner. I also keep on hand stuff for making go to dinners just in case hubby decides he doesn’t like anything on the menu.

  • Sarah S.

    It was delicious! I added some champagne vinegar to mine since I had some on hand. I also have vitamix so my veggies ended up being more of a puree but it was still good!

  • Sam

    I took this recipe home with me on Friday and it was the PERFECT Friday night IN dinner! My husband loved it so much he devoured not one but TWO whole sandwiches. We served with spicy sweet potato fries, a pickle, and a beer. YUMMY! Thanks!

  • Jessie

    Found this recipe and made them on Monday and ate up the yummy leftovers all week. Loved it!

  • Kinsey

    I made this twice so far! Good way to trick the boyfriend into eating veggies and keeping the sloppy joes lower fat! YUMM

  • I am so excited to try this recipe! A healthier version of a sloppy joe? What could be better? Thanks for sharing.

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