Sloppy Joes are a traditional American comfort food favorite because they are quick and easy to make and very satisfying to eat. However, they are not exactly known for their health benefits. For example, one of the leading prepared canned Sloppy Joe sauces contains over 400 mg of sodium for just one serving. To put that in context, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that you consume less than 2,400 mg. of sodium per day (and much less if you fall into certain groups) to help you maintain healthy blood pressure. So, by using just one small serving of a processed sauce you are consuming almost 17% of your Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of sodium. In addition, Sloppy Joes typically use high-fat meats which can potentially cause health problems long-term for you if you consume them as a regular part of your diet.
To make a healthier version of Sloppy Joes, I:
- Use lean meats like chicken or turkey burger
- Include a generous base of vegetables (which provides additional nutrition, saves you calories, and stretches your protein dollars further)
- Add no-salt tomato sauce and only include a pinch of salt (No-Salt sodium free salt can also be substituted) for additional flavor
Make a double batch of my recipe because it freezes well for later use on a busy weeknight when you have less time (or desire) to cook but you still want something quick and easy that satisfies you and your family.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup chopped carrots
- ¼ cup chopped onions
- ¼ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped red, green or yellow sweet peppers
- 1 pound 93% fat free turkey burger
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 - 8 oz can no salt added tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the carrots, onions, celery and peppers for 5 minutes until they begin to soften.
- Move vegetables to the perimeter of the pan and add turkey burger to the center of the pan. Sprinkle turkey burger with salt and pepper. Cook the turkey burger for 15 minutes until browned and all redness is gone.
- After the turkey burger is browned, add tomato sauce and brown sugar. Let the sauce thicken for 5 minutes over medium heat.
- Serve open face on a bun or English muffin.