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Turkey & Veggies Sloppy Joes

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Sloppy Joes aren’t a regular in our house. Not for any particular reason- I’ve made them a couple times.. or just once.  I think I have refrained from making them at home beause my Fireman has them frequently at the fire station and every time he mentions how miserable they make him.

Now.  My sweet darling- do they make you miserable because of the fact that:

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A.) over eat..
B.) the sauce comes out of a can..
or C.) (unless you happen to be doing the cooking that night) the heart of the Joe is 80/20 ground chuck…?

Whatever the issue is with the Sloppy Joes a la Fire Station, he pretty much can count on being close to the bathroom for the next two days or so. 

Sorry, Fireman.  TMI, I think.  But, I feel it necessary to disclose- really helps my CB readers understand my case to why I don’t make Sloppy Joes often.. or ever.  

I’m scared of them.

So- how do I go about making a Sloppy Joe healthier, leaner, and especially with a non-tummy-grumbling sauce? 

Healthier.  I’m totally adding some summer veggies.  Fiber, vitamins and minerals to boot.   So easy to throw in there, and particularly affordable this time of year. With the temps reaching over 100 these days, a traditional Joe may be too heavy in my book.  Zucchini, sweet onion, and spinach are some easy fillers.
Leaner.  Skip the ground chuck and go for the sirloin, ground chicken breast, or how about lean ground turkey?  I’ll do that. 
Now for that dadgum sauce.  The most nerve racking part, I say.  Well, easy- skip the canned variety. 

But what goes into a traditional Sloppy Joe sauce?  Not quite rocket science- but I did my research.  I learned that the sauce is typically tomato based, but I added a twist and subbed out crushed fire roasted tomatoes and a kick of heat from red pepper flake. 

Since becoming pregnant its like I want that kick even more so than ever.  I like the spice. 

This picture looks like Joe is throwing up on you..

Ok.. I know.  Too much bodily function talk for one post.   Sometimes my filter is broken. 

To round out my sauce I added in some brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce.  I intended on cutting the sweetness of the sugar with red wine vinegar, but realized I was out.  Apple cider vinegar worked well as a last minute substitute. 

After making this, and enjoying my first few bites beyond expectations, I halfway kicked myself for not figuring this out sooner. 

First of all.  If you want easy- this is your meal.  I actually timed my process expecting it to take a bit longer, allowing my Fireman to hop in the shower after working outside all day.  Who wants a stinky man at the dinner table?

I could have made this in the 15 minutes it took him to clean up.  No joke.

There you have it- my Sloppy Joe phobia is cured.  I have a feeling this will go into a regular rotation due to the simple fact that these two babies allow me little energy in the evenings- and the words ‘whip together’ have been  practically thrown out of my vocabulary. 

Makes me tired.   

Turkey & Veggies Sloppy Joes

Yield: 8 servings

Serving Size: 1 sloppy joe (bun, 3/4 cup turkey mixture, & 2 tab


  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, drained and squeezed dry
  • 1 (20-ounce) container lean ground turkey (93/7) (such as Jennie-O)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted crusted tomatoes (such as Muir Glen Organics)
  • 1 large zucchini, grated
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar works, too!)
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 whole wheat hamburger buns, split


In a large non-stick skillet, heat olive oil or medium high heat. Add in onion and spinach, saute until onion is just softened, anout 4 minutes. Crumble in turkey, garlic, and tomato paste- stirring to combine. Next, stir in crusshed tomatoes, grated zucchini, vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring to a low boil; cover and reduce heat- simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spoon 3/4 cup turkey mixture onto each bun half; top with 2 tablespoons cheese. Enjoy open-faced or top with the other half of the bun.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 320; Fat: 9 g; Carbohydrate: 34 g; Fiber: 5 g; Protein: 24 g

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