These Healthy Sloppy Joes are made with lean ground beef and hidden veggies. This is a healthy and flavorful take on the classic sandwich.
These Healthy Sloppy Joes are weeknight meal perfection. A one-pan meal that is family friendly, filling, and comforting. What more can you ask for?
How to make sloppy Joes healthy
Here’s what I did to make this dish better for us:
- Use lean ground beef or ground turkey.
- Add lots of veggies. This recipe has nearly three cups of finely chopped vegetables in it. I use carrots, celery, onion, and bell pepper. The vegetables cook down into the meat and sauce and you hardly even realize that they’re there.
- Making the sloppy Joe sauce from scratch allows us to control the amount of added sugar and sodium.
What you’ll love about this recipe:
Quick: Less than an hour from start to finish
Easy: Everything cooks in the same pan.
Versatile: Serve this sloppy Joe meat in buns, baked potatoes, or even on its own.
Flavorful: You’ll love the sweet, tangy, savory flavors of this dish.
Leftovers: If you have any meat leftover it reheats wonderfully.
How to serve sloppy Joes
Sloppy Joes are typically served on a soft bun. In an effort to keep this meal lighter I often serve it “open face” on only half of a bun (and eat it with a knife and fork). You can also add the meat into a baked russet potato or baked sweet potato, or just eat it on its own.
Toppings for sloppy joes
My favorite toppings for sloppy Joes are grated pepper jack cheese and pickles. Feel free to top the meat with any cheese that you like. Jalapenos, pickled peppers, or chopped giardiniera are delicious options as well.
More dinner ideas
Healthy Sloppy Joes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 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 cup finely chopped yellow or red onion
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ¼ cups tomato sauce
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ½ cup low sodium beef broth (preferred) or water
- buns or baked potatoes (optional), 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 the carrots, celery, bell peppers, onion, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are beginning to soften, about 5-8 minutes. If the mixture seems dry at any point you can add another drizzle of olive oil.
- Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute or two, stirring occasionally.
- Add brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, ketchup, and beef broth to the meat and vegetable mixture. Stir to combine. Simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. If the sauce gets too thick you can add another splash of beef broth and/or water. If the sauce is thinner than you like you can simmer it uncovered and the extra liquid should cook off.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Scoop the sloppy Joes into split buns or baked potatoes and serve.
- You can add ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika into the meat mixture.
- If you have the extra time you can add a roasted poblano pepper into the meat mixture. Roast a poblano pepper, remove the skin and seeds, chop it and stir it in along with the sauce ingredients.
Recipe updated January 2021. This recipe tastes like the previous version. I increased the quantities of the ingredients to make a slightly larger serving size, as my family was always wishing we had a bit more. This recipe can feed six people with moderate portions or four with large portions