My Kids Ate It: Very Veggie Sloppy Joes

by Wendy Copley on July 29, 2013

Very Veggie Sloppy Joes

As a born and bred Midwesterner, I love a good sloppy joe. They are tasty, fast and I know that my kids will always eat them.

Healthy? Er…not necessarily.

The other night I had a pound of turkey and a craving for this childhood favorite, but after eating recklessly on vacation I wanted something a little lighter than the classic sloppy joe recipe. I dug around on the Cooking Light website for a bit and found a nice, basic recipe I could use. Though this recipe lived up to my healthy expectations, I didn’t have all the ingredients for it on hand, so I decided to use it as a jumping off point.

I didn’t have onions or green peppers, but I did have an orange pepper and a pattypan squash from our garden sitting on the kitchen counter so I used those instead. I was a little concerned that the dish would be too squash-y, so I grated it on the finest side of my box grater and that worked really well, because the squash sort of melted into the sauce. When I asked later, no one said they’d noticed it was there. Success!

Very Veggie Sloppy Joes
recipe based on this one from Cooking Light


  • 1/2 cup diced orange or red bell pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 2 cups no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow squash, grated on the smallest hole of a box grater
  • 6 burger buns


  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper and ground turkey; cook until turkey is cooked through, stirring to crumble.
  2. Stir in tomato sauce and next 9 ingredients (tomato sauce through grated squash); reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Divide meat mixture evenly between the buns and serve with some easy sides like veggie sticks or baked potato chips.

Very Veggie Sloppy Joes

The Verdict

Everyone liked this and finished their sandwiches and my older son and my husband each ate two. To keep the whole dinner easy, I served these with raw veggie sticks and baked sweet potato chips. We got hella vegetables at this meal!

How do you like your sloppy joes?

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  • And now I want Sloppy Joes…

  • Ditto.

  • musadiq

    ditto means

  • Karen

    I LOVE throwing random chopped veggies into sloppy joes. In my house, there’s always chopped onion and garlic (everyone here loves those), usually chopped bell peppers, often chopped zucchini and/or shredded carrot (works surprisingly well in tomato sauce), and usually a can of diced tomato, in addition to tomato sauce (sometimes just marinara, when I’m lazy).
    We usually have them with baked sweet potato fries (another thing everybody loves).

  • hi

  • Becca

    How long did it take you??? Also, my squash is already cooked (leftovers). Will that still work okay for this recipe??

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