When I was a kid Sloppy Joe’s were a staple dinner in our house — the traditional beef with the can of sloppy joe sauce (I think it was a can, right?), on a bun with mayo and a side of cole slaw. Dinner served. I loved it. The adult version of me gagged at the thought of it. My tastes have changed, and with mostly healthy eating choices in our house, sloppy joes never came to mind when planning dinner menus. That is, until we realized we could make a clean eating sloppy joe recipe.
Now they are a staple dinner in my house too, just more like Sloppy Joes 2.0 or, as we like to call them, Clean Eating Sloppy Joes. I’ll admit I was terrified to tell my husband what we were having for dinner the first time I made this. I could picture the horrified look on his face as he’s probably even more health conscious than I am. BUT, now he is asking me for them every week.
There are several things I love about this clean eating sloppy joe recipe:
- The recipe is quick and easy.
- It’s healthy!
- It’s pretty inexpensive.
- You can change it up a bit depending on your preferences (sweet potato vs regular baked potato, turkey vs ground beef).
- My kids love it. So, it’s a win.
THE SIMPLE PROCESS TO COOK THIS CLEAN EATING SLOPPY JOE RECIPE
We use ground turkey for our clean eating sloppy joe recipe, but you can definitely use ground beef instead! I normally chop up the onion and green pepper while the ground turkey is browning. Then, I add the onions for a few minutes.
Once the onions soften a bit, I add in the green pepper, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, parsley and salt. While that cooks I will boil the dates in just enough water to cover them. This softens them enough to make the sauce. They only need to boil for a minute or two.
I used to drop them into my blender with the tomato sauce and tomato paste next, but then I started making morning shakes every day and replaced my blender with a Magic Bullet. The Magic Bullet works just as well to make the sauce and the clean up is easier, so Magic Bullet wins!
After that, the sauce goes right into the pan, stirred in and you’re ready to serve up your clean eating sloppy joes! My family loves to eat this on top of sweet potatoes, but we occasionally opt for a regular baked potato. I love that you can swap several options out with this recipe depending on your preferences. Sometimes half of us eat baked sweet potato and the others eat a baked potato.
The recipe below is more than enough to feed my family of four, but I normally double it and get a leftover night out of it as well! Be warned, once you try it and your family loves it you will have to start making it every week too!
Clean Eating Sloppy Joes
These clean eating sloppy joes will be a family favorite!
- 1 lb ground turkey (sub for beef if you prefer)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion (I normally just use half of a large onion)
- 1 chopped green pepper
- 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 minced garlic gloves (I use the Pampered Chef garlic press, makes it so easy!)
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 5 pitted medjool dates
- 4 russet potatoes or sweet potates (whichever you prefer, one per person)
- Green Onions (optional garnish)
Preheat oven & pop potatoes in the oven to bake so they're finished by the time you're finished with the rest of the steps. (I try to do mine a bit ahead of time so they cool a bit before my small children eat them!)
Brown the ground turkey in a large pan over medium/high heat and then add the onion, cook for a few minutes or until onions start to become translucent. Drain any excess grease. (When using ground turkey there won't really be any excess grease to drain, so you'll only need to do this if you're using beef.)
Reduce the heat to medium and add the green pepper,apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, dried parsley, and salt.
While that’s cooking, in a small pot, bring ⅔ cup water to a boil and add the dates. Boil 30-60 seconds, just long enough to soften the dates. Remove the dates from the pot.
Place the dates into a food processor or blender, add tomato sauce and tomato paste. Blend well then add to the turkey mixture.
Serve sloppy joe mixture on top of baked potatoes. Garnish with green onions if you’d like!
Hi, I’m Jessica! I am wife to Chris, and mom to Kaiper, Alana and our silver lab pup, Maui. We are expecting baby #3 right now, and excited to become a family of 5! I am a freelance website & blog developer, Co-Founder of Moxie Girl Fit Club, and aspiring author. I share about everything from parenting, how to make money from home, tutorials for my fellow bloggers, fitness and being a new homeschool family. Learn more about me here.