“OMG, Traci, bomb!” – Julia
One-pan classic sloppy joes made healthy! A great make ahead for lunch at work or leftovers.
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Healthy Sloppy Joes
To make sloppy joes healthy, I added in veggies and swapped the bun for a sandwich thin.
The awesome thing about the veggies is that they aren’t noticeable in taste because the overall taste comes from the classic sauce, but you’re getting those great filling, nutritional boosts.
How to make sloppy joes from scratch
The key to a sloppy joe is letting the juices from the meat mix with everything else so start by browning the beef.
In a bowl, mix together the tomato paste, ketchup, sugar, Worcestershire sauce and water. Add it to the browned beef and stir. Let it cook for 3 to 5 minutes to thicken.
Sloppy joes have a distinct flavor and the juices from the meat contribute to that. You can substitute the ground beef for pork, turkey, or chicken, but the flavor will change accordingly.
For turkey and chicken you’ll have to add oil to the skillet before cooking so it doesn’t stick.
All these swaps work well in taste, texture and carbohydrates as well.
You can use just about any kind of onion.
The red bell pepper can be swapped for yellow or orange bell peppers because they’re all sweet.
Zucchini can easily be swapped with yellow squash.
Mushrooms, spinach, or shredded brussel sprouts would be great low carb add-ins.
Low Carb Bun Options
If you don’t know what bread options your body likes, try Dave’s Killer Bread buns (it works for a lot of moms with GD and it’s my favorite brand).
Other options are 100% whole wheat English muffins, bread, buns, or wheat thins. A wheat thin is pictured and is factored into the nutrition count.
If all you have on hand is the bread you normally eat without GD, make it an open-faced sandwich and only use one bun.
Use pre-cut frozen veggies when you can.
Healthy Homemade Sloppy Joe Recipe
- Large Skillet
- Cutting Board
- Chef's knife
- Measuring Cups & Spoons
- 1 cup Chopped Carrots (= 2 large carrots)
- ½ cup Chopped Yellow Onion (= ½ small onion or 1 teaspoon powder)
- 1 cup Chopped Red Bell Pepper (= 1 large bell pepper)
- 1 cup Chopped Zucchini (= 1 medium zucchini)
- 1 tablespoon Avocado Oil
- 2 Large Garlic Cloves (or ½ teaspoon powder)
- 1 pound Ground Beef
For the Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste (no salt added)
- 3 tablespoons Ketchup (no salt added, no sugar added)
- 2 tablespoons Coconut Sugar (or sugar)
- 1 tablespoon Low Sodium Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Water
- 5 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins
- Peel and chop the carrots, onion, bell pepper, and zucchini into ¼-inch pieces.
- Heat a large skillet on medium low. When hot, add the oil and carrots. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring once halfway through.Meanwhile, chop the garlic.
- Add the onion, bell pepper, zucchini and garlic to the skillet. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring once halfway through.Meanwhile, mix together in a bowl the tomato paste, ketchup, sugar, Worcestershire and water.
- Add the beef to the skillet and increase the heat to medium. Break the meat apart as it cooks and cook it through.
- Add the sauce to the skillet and stir. Let it cook up to 2 minutes to meld. Turn the heat off and salt to taste. Scoop 1 cup of filling on each sandwich thin.