Healthy Homemade Turkey Sloppy Joes

straight on shot of sloppy joe on bun

These homemade Sloppy Joes are made with lean ground turkey, filled with veggies and smothered in a delicious homemade tangy sauce. Load it on a bun and you’re ready for dinner! They’re sloppy, easy, and delicious!

This recipe was originally published in June 2018 – I’ve since updated the photos and added additional blog content. Enjoy!

Confession guys: Sloppy Joes normally don’t make the cut on my meal plan for the week. In fact, prior to making this post, I bet I hadn’t eaten a Sloppy Joe in at least 5 years.

This is probably due to the fact that we ate these at least three times a week when I was growing up. 

I lovingly blame this on my wonderful Dad. My parents divorced when I was young, and when I stayed with him, there were only three things that he knew how to cook: frozen corn dogs, frozen pizzas and SLOPPY JOES.

Yup, he could easily open up a can of Manwich Sauce (you know what I’m talking about, right?) and throw it in a pan with some beef, slap it on a sesame seed bun with some mayo and call it a night. 

sloppy joe meat in pan with wooden spoon

Oh, and you can’t forget the melted slice of provolone cheese. And also the frozen french fries. Man, those were the simple days, right?

Anyway, after eating so many of those during my childhood, I feel like I’ve finally come around to wanting to eat them again. And boy am I glad I did! 

Why You’ll Love These:

I love that even though I did make these lightened up – they still taste JUST as delicious as the ones you ate as a kid. 

What does lightened up mean? For one, I ended up making my own sauce! No offense to the canned sauce you can buy in the store – I just really enjoyed the flavor of my own! 

spoon in bowl of homemade sloppy joe sauce

You also get to make it as sweet, smoky and spicy as you want it which is nice. 

And I do love ground beef – but for this recipe, I used ground turkey to change things up! It’s a great lean high protein meat which I love. 

But you know me…I’m all about balance which means I can’t give up everything! 

So yes, there are buns. And they are toasted. And they have cheese. And they’re delicious! 

close up of open faced sloppy joe sandwich on wooden board

Each bite is incredibly delicious – the sauce is tangy, a little smoky…the melty cheese, the buttery brioche buns. So messy. So delicious. How can you go wrong?! 

So let’s get into what you need to make these! 

Ingredients You Need: 

  • Ketchup, worcheshire sauce, yellow mustard, apple cider vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Ground turkey
  • Green bell pepper, diced
  • Yellow onion, diced
  • Garlic, minced
  • Olive oil
  • Brioche buns
  • Warm water
  • Cheese of your choice – I love sharp white cheddar or provolone 
  • optional: mayo, jalapeno, butter to toast the buns

Best Tips for Making Sloppy Joes: 

So, let’s begin by talking about the homemade sauce. It’s super easy and only requires ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen! 

You quickly whip them up in a bowl and then taste and adjust. You can always adjust the seasoning if needed – need more salt? Add it! Want it spicier? Add a dash of hot sauce! 

It has the most amazing flavor – it is like a barbecue sauce on steroids; tangy, zippy and has a major kick to it. 

Now….about the meat and veggie situation.

overhead of full pan of sloppy joe meat with a wooden spoon in it

Unlike my childhood, where vegetables were scarce, I used an an entire green bell pepper, onion and two cloves of garlic for extra flavor in this meal! 

It gives it a delightful crunchy texture! 

After sautéing the veggies, add in the ground turkey all the way through. Add the sauce directly into the pan along with a little bit of warm water and let it simmer all together, all of the ingredients melding into one giant flavor bomb. 

close up of side of full sloppy joe sandwich

Finally, after buttering some buns and toasting them in the oven with some cheese, I schmeared mayo on one half of the bun and loaded the rest with a hearty scoop of Sloppy Joe mixture. 

Totally optional but I even threw on some jalapenos for a pop of color and a kick of spice! 

And there you have it. A Healthy Homemade Turkey Sloppy Joe. And boy oh boy, did they live up to their name! So sloppy. So delicious. So hearty. EVERYTHING I WANTED IT TO BE.

bite taken out of healthy sloppy joe sandwich

This is bound to be a crowd pleaser! I know because my husband ate two of them in one sitting…(don’t tell him I told you that!)

Side Dishes to Serve These With: 

Did you enjoy this recipe? Here are a few others you might like: 

Turkey Taco Quinoa Skillet 

Loaded Turkey Taco Bowls 

Gouda Apple Pork Burgers

Healthy Homemade Turkey Sloppy Joes

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword healthy sloppy joe, sloppy joe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 402 kcal

Ingredients

Sloppy Joe Sauce

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp worcheshire sauce
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Sloppy Joes

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup sharp white cheddar cheese (or your cheese of choice)
  • optional: mayo, jalapeno, butter to toast the buns

Instructions

  1. Mix all of your sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Dice your veggies and throw them in a cast-iron skillet with some olive oil on medium heat. Cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Once done, transfer them to your bowl of sauce.

  2. Add your ground turkey to the same skillet, and break the meat apart with a spatula. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until done. When done, add the veggies and the homemade sauce. Mix thoroughly until combined. Add water to thin it down and let simmer for 10 minutes on low heat, adding the cheese halfway through to let it melt. 

  3. Optional: While the Sloppy Joes are simmering, add a schmear of butter to your buns and toast them in a skillet on the stove-top until golden brown and crisp. 

  4. Once the Sloppy Joe meat is done simmering, add to hearty spoonful to your bun and eat it while it's hot! 

Recipe Notes

Optional: Serve with french fries or kettle chips! 

The nutritional facts do not include the fries. 

 

 

 

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