Moms with picky eaters, you want to try this recipe!!  For years I would make sloppy joes with Manwich.  Pound or so of ground turkey (been doing ground turkey for years, as I don’t do red meat, although the rest of my family loves burgers and steaks), can of Manwich, heat through.  The first time I tried to make my own, get this:  my kids literally said, “Mom, these are the best sloppy joes you’ve ever made.”  No joke, they inhaled the healthier, veggie-packed version!  It just goes to show: real food tastes way better.

I have experimented with using tomato paste, vinegar, and water instead of ketchup… yes, ketchup is controversial in the clean-eating world because of high fructose corn syrup and salt content.  I personally find that they like the flavors better when I go with ketchup, so I stick with it and use Heinz’ organic.  If you’d rather sub out ketchup, go with a six ounce can of tomato paste and about 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup water.  You don’t need to add the sugar or karo syrup that is often used to make homemade ketchup because this recipe already has brown sugar in it.  If you want to keep things simple, buy the healthiest ketchup you can find and follow the recipe below.

  • Ground turkey, two lbs
  • Bell peppers, 2, any color, diced
  • Sweet onion, large, diced
  • Garlic, one clove, minced
  • Ketchup 1 c
  • Brown sugar, 1/3 c
  • Worcestershire, 2 T
  • Dry mustard, 1 T
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Begin by sautéing the onions and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat.  Heat until the onions begin to caramelize and your kitchen smells amazing.  Transfer to slow cooker.

Veggiefied Sloppy Joes

Place skillet back on stove top and repeat same process with diced peppers, transferring to slow cooker after sautéing.  (You certainly can saute all the veggies together, or even skip this step and throw the veggies in the slow cooker raw, but for best flavor, I definitely recommend sautéing.) Transfer veggies to slow cooker.

Using the same skillet, brown the ground turkey, chopping it up as small as you like (I like it small so the sauce can permeate every bite). Transfer meat to slow cooker.

Add the ketchup, brown sugar, worcestershire, dry mustard, and salt and pepper. Stir well.

Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Enjoy!

This can also be made totally on the stove top! Simply allow ten to fifteen minutes after your final step to let it all simmer on low to make sure all the flavors are all mixed up and happy!