Got ground beef? Put it to good use in these easy Stovetop Sloppy Joes! They make a big batch so they’re great for parties, families that want leftovers, or freezing for future meals.
Simple is always better
I find it incredibly fitting that this recipe is appearing on the blog while I’m in Minnesota hanging with Stacie for one of our “work-cations” and that it’s also showing up right about Father’s Day. Growing up, my dad made a lot of Stovetop Sloppy Joes for me and my brother. They were easy, economical (thanks to a freezer of wild game), and simple to make with just a handful of ingredients – onions, garlic powder, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.
Since he always made them with his “special recipe,” aka just adding ingredients to taste, he also took it upon himself to name them in his own special way as he has a knack for doing so. For example, Wild Rice Soup was “Fish Eye Soup” at our house and milk mixed with strawberry drink powder (yes, we drank that as kids in the 1980s) was “Pink Bunny Milk.” Sloppy Joes were “Messy Marvins” and that’s how I still affectionately refer to them when I make them for my own family.
As you can see, from the short ingredient list, they really couldn’t be any simpler. Except for the fact that many of the ingredients themselves have many ingredients, many of which are sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, stabilizers, preservatives, gluten, MSG, etc. This is EXACTLY why I felt called to recreate these in a way that I could feel really good about (and good after eating them!).
Wondering if you should purchase grass-fed beef? Learn how to choose quality red meat in this post!
How ‘bout them Sloppy Joes?
I already mentioned that I have a soft spot for Sloppy Joes, but what I didn’t tell you is that I developed a secret love of Manwich in college. Don’t judge. Manwich on big fluffy onion buns was awesome after a day of skiing knee-deep powder or paddling the river. At least I DID secretly love that hyper-palatable canned concoction until I created this recipe for Stovetop Sloppy Joes and now Manwich is dead to me.
Also, back in the day, it was onion buns, but now I enjoy my Stovetop Sloppy Joes on baked sweet potato rounds (aka sweet potato “buns”) as a way to get more veggies in my diet and make them Whole30-friendly and gluten-free.
I’m sure you also have some secret food loves, and I would love to hear about them, so please share in the comments below AFTER you print off this recipe and add everything to your grocery list, of course.
Oh, and one last thing – always make enough Stovetop Sloppy Joes so you have leftovers to stash for later in the week or to stash in the freezer for a super easy meal later on down the line. I’ve written the recipe to serve eight but feel free to use a bigger pan (or two pans) and double it to get 16 servings. Your future self will thank you!
P.S. Don’t forget to serve them up with a side of Creamy Broccoli Slaw. So good.
Stovetop Sloppy Joes
For Sloppy Joes:
- 2 lbs. lean ground beef (may substitute ground turkey)
- 2 teaspoons avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 small bell pepper, diced (any color)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- ¾ cup water
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard (may substitute Dijon mustard for Whole30-compatible)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon fish sauce (may substitute coconut aminos or tamari*)
- ½ teaspoon paprika (smoked or sweet)
- 1 ½ – 2 teaspoon fine salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
For Sweet Potato “Buns:”
- 2 large sweet potatoes cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds (with peel intact)
- 1 teaspoon avocado oil or olive oil
*Note: Tamari contains soy and thus is not allowed on Whole30
- Place a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add oil, onions, and peppers. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until onions start to soften (about 5 minutes).
- Add the ground beef and garlic. Use a large spoon to break up meat, cook, stirring occasionally until meat is browned and almost cooked through. About 10-12 minutes. Drain meat if desired.
- To the meat mixture, add tomato paste, water, mustard, vinegar, fish sauce, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine. Continue to cook over medium heat (about 10 minutes) until hot and ground beef is cooked through and peppers are tender.
- Taste and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 4 days. May also be frozen up to 3 months.
To make Sweet Potato “Buns:”
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a large baking sheet (or two, depending on how many sweet potatoes you’re going to bake) with parchment paper.
- Arrange sweet potato slices in a single layer on baking sheet(s). Brush with oil.
- Bake for 25-30, flipping halfway through baking time, or until sweet potatoes are tender and lightly browned on the surface.
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- Serving Size: ⅛ recipe (meat only)
- Calories: 287
- Fat: 18g
- Sodium: 468mg
- Carbohydrate: 4g
- (Fiber: 2g
- Sugar: 2g)
- Protein: 22g
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