Healthy Sloppy Joes [Recipe]

by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on July 28, 2010

Post image for Healthy Sloppy Joes [Recipe]

I’ve never been a huge sloppy joe fan but wanted to try it out with the family. It went over very well and even though my daughter didn’t try the sloppy Joe sandwich, she loved the baked fries and fruit that I put on the table.

Another thing I liked about this one was it was even better the next day. I love leftovers.

I got this recipe of The 6 O’Clock Scramble Newsletter. I like how they list out vegetarian options, suggested sides and nutrition information. I’m always at a loss for sides so this helps immensely.

Anyone enjoy sloppy joes growing up?

Time: 30 minutes Prep + Cook Time
Servings: 8

1 lb. ground turkey, beef or vegetarian ground meat, or 28 – 30 oz. pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
15 oz. tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. ketchup
8 whole wheat buns, (or use taco shells)

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the meat in its own juices until it is almost cooked through. (If you are using vegetarian ground “meat” or the beans, add them after the tomato sauce instead). (Meanwhile, start the potato chips, if you are serving them.)

Drain off the excess liquid, if necessary, and add the diced vegetables to the skillet (if you are making a meatless version, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in the skillet before adding the vegetables).

Sauté the mixture for 2 minutes and add all the remaining ingredients, except the buns. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, cover the skillet, and simmer it for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. At this point you can refrigerate or freeze the mixture, or proceed to the next step.

To serve the sandwiches, lightly toast the buns and fill each one with a large spoonful of the meat mixture.

Scramble Flavor Booster: Sprinkle the sandwich filling with hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco.

Tip: To avoid soggy bread, serve the Sloppy Joes with a slotted spoon so the excess juices stay behind. They’re a little less sloppy that way! (Some people like to eat Sloppy Joes in a taco shell instead of a bun.)

To make baked potato chips, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Thinly slice 2 unpeeled russet potatoes and toss the slices in a bowl with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, adding 1/2 tsp. rosemary, oregano or other dried herbs, if desired. Lay the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray, and spray the tops of the potatoes with the spray, too. Bake them for about 20 minutes until they are lightly browned and crispy, flipping them once. Serve them with ketchup, if desired.

Serve with fresh cherries.


Nutritional Information per serving (% based upon daily values) (with turkey)
Calories: 261; Total Fat: 10g, 15%; Saturated Fat: 2g, 5%; Cholesterol: 40mg, 15%; Sodium: 550mg, 22%; Total Carbohydrate: 30g, 10%; Dietary Fiber: 4g, 16%; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 17g
Nutritional Information per serving with sidedish (% based upon daily values) (1/2 cup baked potato chips & 1 cup cherries)
Calories: 425; Total Fat: 14g, 20%; Saturated Fat: 2g, 5%; Cholesterol: 40mg, 15%; Sodium: 790mg, 32%; Total Carbohydrate: 62g, 20%; Dietary Fiber: 9g, 34%; Sugar: 21g; Protein: 20g

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Meg July 28, 2010 at 10:20 am

This is really similar to the recipe I use, but I like adding the carrot for some extra goodness! Thanks!


Jenny July 28, 2010 at 10:33 am

We love sloppy joes, and usually serve them with sweet potato fries. I would probably grate the carrots to keep the pieces small, but I bet grated sweet potato would be good too. Or maybe some grated zucchini… thanks for the great ideas!


Jennifer July 28, 2010 at 2:38 pm

This is very similar to the Rachel Ray recipe I recently tried. She added Steak seasoning and tomato paste to it, no carrots. My husband and I loved it. My 5 year old saw the red peppers sticking out of the sandwich and exclaimed “Mommy I don’t’ like that”. He eventually tried one bite and then said, more certainly this time, “Mommy I don’t like that”.
I will have to make this again next week with your recipe. I like the suggestion to add zucchini, I will have to try that too!


Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD July 28, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Jennifer, my daughter usually runs from anything that looks different in her food. I hope after a few times she’ll eat it (and probably pick out the red peppers).


cindy July 28, 2010 at 2:55 pm

This looks like a great recipe. I should be making this all the time!


FoodontheTable July 28, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Great sloppy joe recipe! I like the idea of grating zucchini or carrots too.


Maryann July 28, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Jenny, I actually did grate the carrots. I forgot to mention that.


Beth Lamb February 23, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Tried your excellent Sloppy Joe recipe! Very, very, good! And it pencilled out to $1.06 per serving! ($2.49 Turkey, $2.50 Nature’s Pride buns on sale, $1.99 Red Bell Pepper, $1.50 Sauce & Seasonings average)

It’s a keeper!


Beth Lamb February 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Excellent Sloppy Joe recipe! It pencilled out to $1.06 per serving! ($2.49 Turkey, $2.50 Nature’s Pride buns on sale, $1.99 Red Bell Pepper, $1.50 Sauce & Seasonings average)


Aly Larsen June 13, 2011 at 4:07 pm

I am really excited to try this recipe. My husband has lost almost 30lbs in the past few months with healthier eating and he wont eat anything unless it is low calorie, high protien and high fiber. This recipe fits so thats whats for dinner tonight! Would you mind if I added this recipe to my blog with a link to your page???


Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD June 13, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Sure! Let me know how you like it!


Stephanie August 4, 2011 at 7:02 pm

I’m so so glad I ran across this recipe!!! My fiancé and I are working towards eating better and sloppy joes are one of our favorite things to make. I like controlling all the ingredients instead of just using a canned s.j. Sauce. Thanks to whomever suggested grating the carrots…. Fiancés cousin coming over for dinner and he is the pickiest, plainest eater I know that RUNS from veggies. I like sneaking them in without him knowing :):) thank you!!!


Stephanie August 4, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Also I threw in a shake of cayenne to spice it up a bit… PERFCT!!


財布 tumi October 1, 2013 at 11:59 pm

mulberry 銀座


Jane Maihan October 2, 2014 at 4:40 pm

what are the calories if using organic grass fed beef? your calories reflect ground turkey.
thank you,


Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD October 4, 2014 at 9:32 am

I’m not sure because I didn’t do the original calculations. I would just compare the nutrition of turkey to the beef you buy.


Jenna December 8, 2015 at 11:06 am

This is delicious ! :) Thank you! I made it for my boyfriend and I last night and thumbs up from both of us. I included 1 pound of ground beef and a cup of cooked lentils to get more out of it. Yum!


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