Healthy Sloppy Joes

“The Big, Gooey, Messy-Burger!”

“Otherwise known as a sloppy joe.”

Sloppy Joes--easy, healthy recipe

I literally cannot think about sloppy joes without thinking about It Takes Two–the parent trap-ish movie starring Mary Kate and Ashley Olson and Kirstie Alley….ah, a childhood classic. Well sort of. Probably it’s not as good as 10 year old me remembers it.

Something that IS as good as I remember is sloppy joes. As a kid I loved them for their messy consistency and as a mom I love them because they are SIMPLE to make for a quick dinner when I don’t feel like cooking or an easy lunch.

healthy sloppy joe

My healthier version of this classic recipe uses lean beef or turkey and adds in some extra veggies. Trust me, no one will notice them and you can feel good about getting in some bonus vegetables. Win-win!

Simple Sloppy Joes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 servings
  • 1 pound of lean hamburger or ground turkey
  • Dales steak seasoning (pour in about a tablespoon or Lawry's seasoning salt 1 tsp if you want to season your meat)
  • 1 small onion
  • ½ green pepper
  • 1 carrot (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic or 3 cloves minced
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 T and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T ketchup (one big squirt!)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper to taste
  1. Dice onion, green pepper and carrot in food processor until finely chopped.
  2. Combine with the beef and Dale's sauce/Lawry's and brown.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes until thickens or place in crockpot on low for a few hours.
  5. Serve on whole wheat buns.
  6. Top with cheddar cheese if desired.


This recipe is good-sized (especially since we just have 2 adults) so I like to save half for leftovers or freeze it (just let it cool off completely first) so all I have to do on a really busy night later is unthaw and reheat. You could also just cook the hamburger and veggies and all the other ingredients and freeze from that point on. Then just put it in the crockpot for an easy freezer-to-crockpot meal.

Hope you enjoy these healthy sloppy joes! I love tweaking classic recipes to make them healthier for my family without sacrificing any of the original flavor.

What’s your favorite “childhood” food? 

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