Turkey Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes were kind of a staple growing up in my house. It’s game night and the cheerleaders are coming over for dinner, what are we going to have? Sloppy Joes! We had a big test in school today, and I could sure go for some comfort food, what’s for dinner? Sloppy Joes! Or it’s been a particularly busy day, mom hasn’t had time to prepare a huge meal for dinner, what should we have? Sloppy Joes! To be fair to my mom, maybe we had them 2 times a month at most, but it always felt like the best answer to me. Yummy comfort food, great for a crowd and easy to pull together. That just so happens to be my favorite kind of food to feed my family today. Here’s just a delicious and healthier twist, because eating healthy should be comforting too!

As organic as possible:

Olive oil cooking spray
1 medium Green bell pepper, finely diced
2 lbs ground Turkey
1 1/2 T granulated Onion
1 1/2 T granulated Garlic
1 tsp Chili powder
1/2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground Black pepper
1/2 tsp dried Thyme
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1 14.5 oz can Tomato sauce
1/4 cup Ketchup (I use organic with a cane sugar, and I think it gives the mixture a little depth of color and flavor, but for die-hard clean eaters feel free to omit)

Whole grain Hamburger buns

Coat a large frying pan with olive oil spray over medium heat and add the green pepper and turkey. Start to separate the turkey with a wooden spoon (or utensil of your choice) and add the granulated onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano. Continue to incorporate spices into meat mixture as it browns.

(Side note: For Sloppy Joe’s made with beef, I prefer to use freshly diced onion and minced garlic. However, I like the concentrated flavor of granulated onion and garlic for ground turkey. Also, I like to flavor the meat as it is browning- I think it tastes better. Could you add the spices to the turkey after it has been strained -so you don’t lose any- along with the tomato sauce and ketchup? Yes… but I wouldn’t.)

When turkey is mostly cooked through (because turkey has a tendency to dry out, and it will continue to cook in the sauce) strain the majority of the excess fat- a little keeps some flavor… (Who knew Turkey Sloppy Joe’s were so technical?) Add the tomato sauce and ketchup. Stir until combined and saucy. Allow to simmer on low for at least 15-20 minutes.

Serve on whole grain buns, because there is no reason to cut corners on our healthy meal. And if I may, I suggest a side of baked sweet potato fries because they are awesome.


  1. Your Grandmother (my Aunt Donna) made THE BEST Sloppy Joe’s!!! It seems I would regularly be in Gibraltar on my birthday (June 20) and us kids could pick out what we wanted for dinner and I ALWAYS chose Sloppy Joe’s! She never shared her recipe with me and I’ve tried many times, over the years, to duplicate hers . . . this is just one of my favorite memories of your beautiful Grandma!! xoxo

    1. Thanks Colleen 🙂 She was a wonderful cook. She would never share her pie crust recipe with my mom either, lol. I wonder what she would think of my sharing everything?!

  2. Your family makes the best sloppy joes!! I’ll have to try them with the turkey for a healthier upgrade! And of course organic buns😉 Thanks for the recipe:)

  3. I was an early adopter of the Sloppy Joe in England for reasons I now forget. What I remember is the legions of children and teens who demanded invitations to eat at our table as the news of these delights spread. Turkey would certainly be an enhancer in my almost no red-meat eating opinion 🙂

    1. There is truly something beckoning about a Sloppy Joe… so I am not surprised! This is an easy transition for sure. Thank you Osyth 🙂

  4. I made turkey Sloppy Joes on King’s Hawaiian sliders last week. Family was NOT impressed. I had made that recipe for them before and they liked it, I wonder what was different? I’ll have to try yours with all your suggestions next time. 🙂

    1. Who doesn’t like King Hawaiians? Can’t help you out on that one KR, I would have had to taste them. I can tell you these were great. Even my pickiest eaters (ages 1-40) loved them!

    1. Who would have thought Sloppy Joe’s could have such a special place in one’s heart? Sometimes there’s no accounting for comfort food. For my husband it’s spaghetti, ketchup and cheese (yuck)!

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