Healthy Sloppy Joes

Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

These healthy sloppy Joes are and easy and delicious weeknight meal ready in 30 minutes. They’re made with simple ingredients including a serving of vegetables, and are much lower in sugar than traditional Sloppy Joes.

healthy sloppy joes recipe on a bun


I love making healthier versions of classic recipes, like these healthy sloppy Joes!

This recipe has much less sugar than traditional sloppy joe recipes and contains a serving of veggies!

Also, these are thick sloppy joes, so you don’t have to worry about them dripping off the bun and making a mess. Plus, a thick sloppy joe means no soggy buns (and homemade burger buns are the best to serve with this recipe).

Up close front shot of healthy sloppy joes recipe on a bun with the top of the bun off to the side and french fries in the background

Healthy Sloppy Joes: Ingredients & Substitutions

overhead photo of the labeled ingredients in this Healthy Sloppy Joes recipe
  • Lean ground beef.I recommend 93% lean ground beef, however any percentage works well. You can also use ground turkey or ground chicken, but you will need to add 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil for cooking. 
  • Bell Pepper. Choose your favorite color, or substitute different vegetables like shredded zucchini, diced carrot, etc. 
  • Brown Sugar. Coconut sugar can be used in place of brown sugar for a refined sugar free version.

Note on Ketchup

There are some great organic ketchup varieties on the market that I suggest using. Or, you can substitute substitute ¾ cup tomato sauce and 1 Tablespoon honey for the ketchup. 

healthy sloppy joes recipe on a bun with pickles on a round black plate with ketchup and french fries and fresh thyme

How to Make Healthy Sloppy Joes

Let’s walk through how to make healthy sloppy joes, and don’t forget to watch the video.

Begin by cooking the onion, minced garlic and ground beef together until the meet just begins to brown.

Then, add the bell peppers and cook until the ground beef is browned and the peppers are soft.

Next, add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer until you are ready to serve, and for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the lid from the pan in the last 5 minutes of cooking so the sauce will thicken. If you like runnier sloppy joes then you do not have to do this!

Serve

Serve these healthy sloppy joes on buns (I suggest these homemade hamburger buns or pretzel rolls). Scoop some of the sloppy joe mixture onto the bottom half of the bun, then add toppings (if desired) like pickles, coleslaw, etc., then put the top of the bun on and enjoy.

Serve with your favorite side dishes, some suggestions include:

Up close front shot of healthy sloppy joes recipe on a bun with pickles

Store/Freeze

Store leftover sloppy joe mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Overhead view of healthy sloppy joes recipe on a bun with pickles on a round black plate with ketchup and french fries and fresh thyme

Healthy Sloppy Joes Recipe FAQs

Do I have to use ketchup?

You could replace the ketchup with tomato sauce and increase the sugar (or not if you like less sweet sloppy Joes) but I use it for ease and taste.

Can I freeze this recipe?

Yes, freeze the sloppy joe mixture in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Can I double this recipe?

Yes, to feed a crowd you can double (or triple) this recipe easily.

healthy sloppy joes on a bun with pickles

If you make and love our recipes, it would mean so much to me if you would leave a comment and rating! And don’t forget to follow along with us on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Youtube – be sure to tag @joyfoodsunshine and use the hashtag #joyfoodsunshine so we can see your creations!

Healthy Sloppy Joes (Homemade in 30 minutes)

Laura
These healthy sloppy Joes are and easy and delicious weeknight meal ready in 30 minutes. They're made with simple ingredients including a serving of vegetables, and are much lower in sugar than traditional Sloppy Joes.
5 from 7 votes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 176.3
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl mix together ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder garlic salt, mustard, and black pepper. Set aside.
  • Add ground beef, onion and minced garlic to a medium skillet and cook over medium-high heat until it begins to brown.
  • Add bell pepper and cook until the meat is browned and the pepper is soft.
  • Add the sauce mixture to the meat, and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, and simmer covered for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and simmer for about 5 minutes more or until the mixture thickens (if you like thicker sloppy joes).
  • Serve with your favorite garnishes on your favorite buns.

Video

Notes

Nutrition information calculated for the Sloppy Joe mixture alone, using 93% lean ground beef, making 8 servings. It does not include the bun since there are many bun options and all have varying nutritional information. 
Ingredient Substitutions
  • Ground Beef.  I recommend 93% lean ground beef, however any percentage works well. You can also use ground turkey or ground chicken, but you will need to add 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil for cooking. 
  • Bell Pepper. Choose your favorite color, or substitute different vegetables like shredded zucchini, diced carrot, etc. 
  • Brown Sugar. Coconut sugar can be used in place of brown sugar for a refined sugar free version.
*Ketchup
You can substitute ¾ cup tomato sauce and 1 Tablespoon honey for the ketchup. 
Store/Freeze
Store leftover sloppy joe mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 176.3kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.7g | Protein: 18.2g | Fat: 5.3g | Saturated Fat: 2.3g | Cholesterol: 48.8mg | Sodium: 442.2mg | Potassium: 35.3mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 7.9g | Vitamin A: 50IU | Vitamin C: 17.5mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you enjoy this recipe? Have a question? Leave a comment below!

Try these recipes




latest recipes

Post a Comment or Ask a Question!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Love this recipe been making it for couple of years. I use ground turkey, 1/2 cup siracha ketchup and 1/4 regular which gives it a nice kick. I also use whatever pepper I have available green, red, yellow or orange. 647 sandwich rolls to keep calories low. Yum!

  2. 5 stars
    I loved this recipe! I used organic cane sugar ketchup and canned pepper to save a little time and cut out the corn syrup.
    We put it on baked sweet potatoes for a healthier option. Will make again. My only qualm would be that this is more like 4 servings, not 8. Eight servings would put each sandwich at less than 1/4lb of meat!

  3. 5 stars
    Just made this for dinner! So delicious!! I subbed maple syrup for brown sugar and used unsweetened ketchup. 4 kids and 2 adults loved it! Thank you for the great recipe!

  4. This is absolutely brilliant. I have some guests coming over tomorrow and I am thinking of serving this. Thank you for this wonderful idea. You just saved me from the stress brought my deciding what to serve.

  5. I don’t like sloppy joe’s to resemble pasta sauce either. This is a great recipe! I made a huge vat of this the other day. I didn’t have enough ketchup, so I added some barbecue sauce. So delicious! Thanks!

  6. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight with a salad and oven baked steak fries. My husband and I both loved it. Thanks for a great tasting healthy sloppy joe recovery.