Recipe: Real Food Sloppy Joes!

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My poor daughter recently said to me, “Mom I keep reading all these books that talk about Sloppy Joes, and I’ve never had one before. Can you please make some so I can finally try it like everyone else??” Gosh, she is so deprived! Seriously though, if that’s her biggest problem this week I will gladly take it. Not to mention it was a “problem” easily solved with this recipe below. And just for the record both kids went back for seconds. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine did! :)

#SloppyJoes from 100 Days of #RealFood

4.8 from 17 reviews
Sloppy Joes
Serves: 4 to 5
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound ground beef (grass-fed recommended)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • A couple dashes of pepper
  • 1 15 ounce can plain tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon (Optional: This was the "secret" ingredient that reminded me of the Sloppy Joes from my childhood, but I realize it's out of the ordinary so decide for yourself if you like this addition!)
  • Toasted whole-wheat buns for serving (for sliders use small buns or dinner rolls!)
  1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften but not brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef and garlic, and cook while breaking up the meat with a spatula. Season with the salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the meat has browned all the way through. Drain the excess fat and discard.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, honey, chili powder, vinegar, mustard, and cinnamon (if using) to the pan and simmer over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm with whole-wheat buns and some yummy vegetables on the side. Enjoy!
We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.

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137 comments to Recipe: Real Food Sloppy Joes!

  • Jill

    I made this tonight to have for a rushed dinner tomorrow night…it smells absolutely delicious!! I can’t wait for it, I know it will be a hit with the whole family. I put all the veggies in the food processor for my kids that don’t care for chunks.

  • Shannon Fanelli

    made this for the first time last night…YUMMY! Even my “picky” eater gobbled them up. For a kid who swears he doesn’t like meat he LOVES your flank steak, crock-pot chicken and now this!! Thank you!!

  • Ashley

    We don’t eat beef and I used to love sloppy joes with the fake meat crumbles. We don’t eat those anymore either because they are so processed and full of weird stuff. Any suggestions for real food substitute for the beef?

    • K

      Do you eat turkey? We don’t eat beef either & have found that ground dark meat turkey makes an excellent substitution in just about every recipe calling for ground beef. You could also try ground chicken or bison, assuming you’re not vegetarian :)

    • Sandra

      My family doesn’t eat ground beef so I sub ground turkey in everything you could imagine. Usually 93%. If it’s higher, I have noticed whatever I make comes out too dry.

    • Sally

      Maybe beans? Although a bean sandwich sounds weird… Maybe turn it into a bean dip for veggies or use it in lettuce wraps or something? Just thinking before coffee here. :)

    • Holly

      How about lentils?

  • Rachell

    I made this for dinner tonight and I substituted turkey for the beef. I was a little nervous putting in the veggies because my family loves our traditional tastes, and this recipe was a bit different. BUT it went over marvelously! Absolutely delicious! I doubled the recipe so I would be able to freeze half, and still have left overs for lunch tomorrow. AWESOME!

  • Sally

    I made this with venison the other night & it was wonderful. I had to adjust the seasonings a little because I think venison can be a little gamey but it was great. & we loved the cinnamon!

  • Lindsay Stroud

    These were SO GOOD!! All my picky kids gobbled them up and even wanted them in their lunch boxes!!

  • Cari

    Made these last night subbing green pepper for celery because celery isn’t my jam. My picky 3-year-old actually ate them! It helped that I played up the name and how silly it was to eat something called Sloppy Joes. But I was amazed he didn’t point out the “hidden” veggies like he normally does in other dishes. Will definitely make these again!

  • Amber

    Thank you! We LOVE Manwhich but for obvious reasons we don’t eat it much. I have been in search of a healthy alternative. We will be giving this a try this week!

  • Lisa f

    We made these last night but left out the cinnamon since I was unsure of it and when it was done and putting the sandwiches together I turned on the broiler and put the bottom halves on a pizza pan and melted some cheese on top mmhm

  • Stephanie

    I made this tonight. I was skeptical at first but it was really yummy and flavorful. I Will definitely make this again. I like the idea of putting it under the broiler with melted cheese on top. I may try that with the leftovers :)

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