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

4.7 from 12 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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109 comments to Recipe: Real Food Sloppy Joes!

  • Kristy

    This was so, so good! In a rush, I forgot the celery and then realized I was out of honey so I used brown sugar instead. I’m not sure if that’s ‘allowed’ but it worked :) Definitely added to the rotation! (And I’ll try the honey when I have it :))

  • Leah Elwood

    FWIW, this is also very easy to make with whole tomatoes. I learned that when we had a surplus from last year’s CSA and just cooked them to break them down a bit and used them just like the jarred sauce. It ended up being delicious and not much extra work!:) But I’ll still probably stick to only doing that in summer.

  • I’m not a fan of mustard. Is there a good substitution for it, or would this still taste good if I left it out entirely? I’m super excited to make these for me and my picky partner this week =)

  • Angie

    Do you think this could be thrown into a slow cooker?

  • Megan

    I wasn’t sure if this recipe would pass the husband test – but he gobbled it down with no mention of Manwich! Quick, easy and all things we had on hand – thank you!

  • Amy M

    Made this with ground turkey. In retrospect I should have left out the cinnamon, gave it a weird flavor. But I thought it was okay. Sadly no one else liked it. :(

  • Julie

    Is unpasteurized apple cider vinegar safe for my 9 month old to eat ??

  • Jen

    This was yummy and easy! I cooked the veggies and meat first then added everything in the slow cooker on low for 3 hours. I also added the cinnamon. Tasted great!

  • Timanda

    I just made this with ground bison (grass fed), and it was excellent! Thank you for the versatile recipe!

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