Guilty Pleasure Thursday- Sloppy Joe

2010 June 3

This Thursday’s guilty pleasure, the Sloppy Joe.

Cue the theme music from Adam Sandler on Saturday Night Live…

Now let’s face it, Sloppy Joes aren’t cool. They haven’t made the retro (old-school is the new cool) comeback, they don’t appear on many a menu, and they aren’t met with the same gleeful nostalgia as 1950’s classics like chicken pot pie, meatloaf and mac&cheese.  And I would venture to say that you have not and will not invite friends over for Sloppy Joe, as the dish may even be considered tacky.  I suppose many of you were burned by this second-rate sandwich in your youth.  Maybe your mom made the canned version for dinner on the nights you had a babysitter, and she out on a dinner date with your dad?  Maybe you remember the soggy bun and the neon orange color the fatty mystery meat left on your cafeteria plate?  This wasn’t a staple in our family’s dinner rotation growing up, and they weren’t served my school cafeteria.  This may explain why I occasionally get a crazy craving for that sweet and salty mix that simply must be satisfied.  I recently had one of those cravings and I had to give in.

I urge you to give Joe another chance.  A good recipe that calls for fresh ingredients, lean meat, served upon a toasted bun will change everything.   Here are is a great five star recipe for the classic Sloppy Joe.

And here is another–the Sloppy Joe, revisited and revised to suit the healthier lifestyle.

Sloppy Joe, lightened up


  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef or turkey (92% lean or above)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced and seeded
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 can small red beans or pinto beans, preferably low sodium drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder (or a tablespoon of mustard)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 8 whole-wheat burger buns, toasted


Brown the meat and the onion in a large nonstick skillet or dutch-oven over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, breaking up the meat into crumbles as it cooks. Pour the drippings out of the pan and discard. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and red pepper to the thoroughly drained meat and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, reduce heat to low, and simmer for at least 5 minutes more or until thickened. If you can stand the wait, let the mix cool completely, refrigerate, and serve it the next day (reheated, of course).  Place a scoop of Joe onto each toasted bun and enjoy.

And for those of you vegetarians, who have tuned me out by now, your loss.  Here is a link to a great recipe for a vegetarian Sloppy Joe, the “Snobby Joe” as featured in the Veganomicon Cookbook.

And if you are desperate, like really desperate or camping or snowed-in, Manwich is allowed, but I wouldn’t recommend it.   If you do settle for Manwich, at least toast the bun forchristssake.

Together, we can make Sloppy Joe is new cupcake.

3 Responses
  1. June 4, 2010

    Yum! I know what’s for dinner tonight.

  2. June 4, 2010

    Ah! You’re right. I haven’t had sloppy joe’s in years but those look great right about now!

  3. June 4, 2010

    MANWICH! I’ve never actually seen it in person haha but I think they have great comercials

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