A healthier take on Sloppy Joes. Made with lean ground beef and lots of hidden veggies, this is a hearty yet healthy take on the classic sandwich. Sweet, tangy, and satisfying!
As I’m writing, this I’m (half) watching Toy Story 3 with my four year old, Jake. Oh man, does that movie tug at the heart strings of sentimental mamas like me. Have you seen it? It brings up thoughts of my of my kiddos growing up, moving away, and leaving behind all their toys (and me). Sob. Those toys make up little pieces of their childhood. How will I ever get rid of them? Lightning McQueen can live in our house forever. Ha!
All mushy motherly business aside, let’s get to why you’re here – Healthier Sloppy Joes! Sloppy Joes are an easy, hearty, family friendly meal. And this recipe can add nutritious to the list as well! To make these sloppy joes “healthier” I use lean ground beef, and only a 1/2 pound of it. I add lots of finely chopped veggies – carrots, celery, red bell pepper and green bell pepper – and they basically disguise themselves by cooking down right into the meat and sauce.
Like any other sloppy Joe recipe, these sandwiches are a combination of sweet and tangy. The mixture is flavored with brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, smoked paprika, and a splash of vinegar. It’s a savory and unique blend of flavors.
Occasionally, to make this recipe even lighter, I serve these on only half a bun, cut side up, with the meat mixture piled on top. You have to use a knife and fork to eat it that way, but it cuts down on the calories and carbs. Add a salad on the side and you have a well rounded meal.
Dig in, get messy (er, sloppy), and enjoy!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ pound lean ground beef
- ¾ cup finely chopped carrots
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- ½ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
- ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- ½ small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 - 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1¼ cups tomato sauce
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ⅓ cup water
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- buns, for serving
- In a large saucepan or skillet, saute ground beef in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, breaking it up as it cooks. Once the meat has browned, add another tablespoon of olive oil and add the carrots, celery, bell peppers, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are beginning to soften, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, ketchup, water and paprika to the meat and vegetable mixture. Stir to combine. Simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, stirring occasionally. After about 15 minutes, the sauce should be thickened and the vegetables should be tender. If desired, you can add a splash of water, as necessary, to thin out the sauce.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Scoop the sloppy joes into split buns and serve.