This healthier version of a Sloppy Joe is made using ground turkey as the base. Mixed with a delicious, tangy, homemade sauce and ingredients you probably already have at home. Served on whole wheat buns with melted mozzarella cheese this Sloppy Joe is anything, but ordinary! The best part is, this healthy sloppy joe recipe is done is under 30 minutes!
I feel like this healthy sloppy joe is one that you can get down and dirty with. Which is why it's perfect to divulge in the comfort of your own home. Who wouldn't be in the mood for a healthy version of the famous Sloppy Joe? So, every time I eat a sloppy joe I've got sauce all over my face and as a result, my hand is basically coated and dripping with whatever is oozing out of the bread! Anyone else enjoy when this happens to you?
So, I was actually curious to why it's even called a "Sloppy Joe". So, I did some research and found out Joe was basically just a cook who one day decided to add tomato sauce to his "loose meat" sandwiches. As a result, sloppy joes were invented. Voila, there you have it. If you love a good sloppy joes just as much as the next person then you must try my Ultimate Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes!
Ingredients to make this meal
You will need the following ingredients to make these ground turkey sloppy joes.
- ground turkey - I like using ground turkey over ground beef because it generally has less saturated fat. Ground turkey is a healthier option and also has less calories if you are interested in that.
- yellow onion and red bell pepper - when I add my veggies into my sloppy joes mix, I have found that the smaller they are diced up the better they are for your manwich. If you have big chunks of veggies, they won't help the meat stick together. You want to dice them up the best you can. I recommend investing in this Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender. This hand blender chops your veggies up to the perfect size and is a much easier option then chopping them with a knife and cutting board.
- organic ketchup - I found a great 5 minute healthier ketchup if you have the extra time to make it. Head over to Sugar-Free Mom's page for her Healthier Low-Carb Homemade Tomato Ketchup.
- Worcestershire sauce - you can't make a sloppy joe without Worcestershire sauce. If you've never had this sauce, it tastes sweet and sour. It's sour from the tamarind and vinegar and sweet from the molasses and sugar.
- cornstarch - using cornstarch when making your homemade sloppy joe sauce will help thicken it up, which is exactly what you want for a sloppy joe. This will make your sauce less watery, as well, and helps the meat stick together better.
Directions to make this meal
Step 1 - First, add the ground turkey to a large cast iron skillet (my new favorite pan to use) and cook until the meat is brown. This is the cast iron skillet I use.
Step 2 - Drain the browned meat in a colander. You can just leave it in the colander and set it aside. In the same pan toss in the butter, onions, and bell peppers. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the meat back into the pan.
Step 3 - Meanwhile, for the homemade sauce, in a small mixing bowl combine beef broth and cornstarch. Whisk together! Add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, and the beef broth/cornstarch mix into the pan. Add the 6 oz of the cheese and stir until the cheese has melted!
Step 4 - Assemble the sloppy joes by scooping out the ground turkey mix and serving it on whole wheat buns and top with the last 2 oz of cheese distributed evenly.
Substitutions and Add-ins
Here are a few suggestions on substitutions for this dish! The best and easiest substitution is to make the meal in the slow cooker! Slow cooker sloppy joes are just as delicious and even easier to make.
How to make slow cooker sloppy joes
Step 1 - Add all ingredients to the slow cooker. Mix to combine.
Step 2 - Turn the crock pot on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. My favorite saying is, "Set it and forget it."
Step 3 - Lift the slow cooker lid and stir all ingredients again. Assemble using whole wheat buns and top with more cheese, if desired.
Here are a few ingredient swaps or add-in ideas!
Ground Turkey - if you aren't a fan of ground turkey or would prefer another option you can also use ground beef or ground chicken. If you love ground chicken, you need to try My Ultimate Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes!
Brown Sugar or Coconut Sugar - I am usually very conscious of my sugar intake so I try not to add it in when I don't have to, but if you like your sloppy joes sweeter then by all means throw some sugar in there. If you add in the sugar, use ¼ cup.
How can the kids help
I absolutely love to cook with my kids! It's a big part of who I am as a mother. I like the bonding experience and it's also a learning opportunity, as well. When making these yummy sloppy joes, there are a couple things you can include your child in.
- Help whisk the cornstarch and the beef broth together.
- Teach your child how to measure out all the ingredients to make your homemade sauce.
- Guide your children using a hand-over-hand approach to teach them to chop up those veggies. I found kid friendly cooking and baking utensils that are child proof and a great beginners set. I bought this Curious Chef Cookware Set for my kids a few years ago and I have nothing, but good things to say about it. P.S. Great Christmas gift idea 😉
What to serve with these "manwiches"
If you want to use your sloppy joe as the main entree, but also want some yummy side dishes. Here are a few suggestions on what to serve on the side.
Tips and FAQ's
I serve my sloppy joe using a wooden slotted spoon. This helps to lessen the amount of extra juice on your plate, but feel free to get as sloppy as you want 😉
ALWAYS make extra so you have some for lunch the next day. Cook once, eat twice!
Store the cooked meat and the buns separately. Store your sloppy joe meat in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. When ready to eat, heat up in the microwave then assemble on the buns with the added cheese.
If you give this sloppy joe a try don't forget to rate the recipe below! Always love hearing what you all think. You can also Stay in touch with me through social media on @Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Don't forget to tag me when you try one of my healthy recipes!
Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes
- cast iron skillet
- small mixing bowl
- cutting board
- paring knife
- wooden spoon
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- ¼ cup onion diced
- ¼ cup red bell pepper diced
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
- 8 oz reduced fat shredded mozzarella
- 4 whole wheat buns
- Heat a cast iron skillet to medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned. Drain in a colander and set aside. You can leave the turkey in the colander while following the next step.
- In the same cast iron skillet add the butter, onions, and peppers. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until veggies are softened. Stirring often. Add meat back into the skillet and mix together with the veggies.
- Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, add beef broth and cornstarch. Whisk until well combined.
- Add beef mixture, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper into meat mixture. Stir until well combined.
- Add 6 oz of the cheese and cook until cheese is melted.
- Serve on whole wheat buns topped with the remaining 2 oz of cheese distributed evenly.