Veg-Filled Sloppy Joes: A Man and Kid Approved Recipe!

by tinareale on February 20, 2013

Last week I posted a quick little dinner I threw together – the Greek Chicken Salad Pitas. To my surprise, even though I called it “not a recipe”, I had quite a few requests to share more of these “recipes”. I guess people are like me and want something super simple to toss together for a breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner. Makes sense. I know I don’t like to give more than twenty minutes to a weeknight meal if I can help it. Which is why these Veg-Filled Sloppy Joes are a staple in our house.

Sloppy Joes – they used to be one of those meat filled dishes with sauce from a can and nothing else but a white bun when growing up. Now you can find all sorts of recipes for vegetarian ones using lentils. I have a man that likes his meat, though, and didn’t seem too keen on the lentil version. So, I found a compromise and one that gets some extra veggies into my kids too. They’re good about healthy eating, but adding in some extra never hurts, in my opinion. The compromise led to this weeknight dinner which was ready in 20 minutes for us the other night. Enjoy!

veg filled joes

Prep Time: 5 – 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 – 20 minutes
Serves: the recipe yields 6 servings for us (but some of those are smaller since they are for the kids, so you may get 4 servings out of it depending on how much you use on your sandwich)


  • 8 oz lean ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 large carrot, grated (yields about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small zucchini, grated (yields about 1/2 cup)
  • 10 white button mushrooms, diced (yields about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can red kidney beans

Place the ground beef, onion, and garlic in a large pan over medium to high heat. Cook until meat is browned and onion turns translucent. Add the vegetables and seasonings to the pan (grated carrot, grated zucchini, diced mushrooms, brown sugar, and chili powder). Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes. Lower the heat and allow the mix to simmer for 5 minutes. While simmering, rinse and drain the kidney beans, then mash with a fork until reaching a pasty consistency (don’t mash until completely smooth). Add the beans to the pan and fold in until evenly mixed. Simmer an additional 3-5 minutes until warmed through. Scoop some of the mix onto a whole wheat bun for a quick, family friendly sloppy joe sandwich.


Voila! Done! We served ours alongside a simple salad and it made for the perfect dinner. Be sure to let me know if you try it!

Did you like Sloppy Joes growing up? What’s a kid friendly favorite meal for your family?


1 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More February 20, 2013 at 8:40 am

I used to love sloppy joes as a kid but after going vegetarian, the hard thing was finding a recipe that was good and would give me that same comfort. I found a great recipe a few years ago and have been able bring back that comfort food favorite. :)

2 Linz @ Itz Linz February 20, 2013 at 8:50 am

You just gave me a great idea!! I think I’m going to try and make sloppy joes and use some of my pulp leftover from juicing in it!!! Hmm….

3 Alayna @ Thyme Bombe February 20, 2013 at 8:54 am

I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever had a sloppy joe. These look really good though with all the fresh veggies packed into them.

4 Lauren February 20, 2013 at 9:43 am

mmmm, I haven’t made sloppy joes in forever! Love this recipe!

5 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions February 20, 2013 at 10:15 am

These sound fantastic! My mom used to make sloppy joes a lot when we were growing up, but I’ve never made them for myself. Love the idea of a quick weekday meal, too. I’m always so pressed for time on weeknights that something that requires little work is just what I need.

6 Stephanie @ My Freckled Life February 20, 2013 at 10:16 am

Yummm!! This looks good! I used to LOVE sloppy joes as a kid, but I dont think I’ve ever actually had one as an “adult”. They always sound so unhealthy. But what a great way to bring in a ton of veggies and STILL appease a meat-eating husband (mine is totally the same). This definitely might have to make an appearance in our house soon – except with ground turkey since I cant eat red meat anymore. But yum, and thanks for sharing the recipe!!

7 tinareale February 21, 2013 at 7:13 am

You should definitely give it a try!

8 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 20, 2013 at 11:28 am

OOoo these look Katie-friendly too. I don’t have any kids, other than myself, but when I was growing up some of our healthier meals that we loved were a pasta salad my mom made (although I would pick around the red peppers…) and greens rice, which had plenty of broccoli in it!

9 Amanda @ Romancing the Unusual February 20, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I hated sloppy joes as a kid. I was a weird one. But these look delicious!

10 janetha February 20, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I freakin’ love sloppy joes, but M hates them. I am comin’ over to your place!

11 tinareale February 21, 2013 at 7:14 am

Crazy man. I’ll be waiting for you. :)

12 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries February 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm

I loved sloppy joes as a kid and still do love them! I love the idea of the extra veggies in there!

13 Lisa February 20, 2013 at 3:22 pm

I didn’t like sloppy joe’s until I was in college, because they were super simple during those times! Now I absolutely loooove them. Especially because you can always mix it up and they’re quite the comfort food!

14 Amanda @ Run Principessa February 20, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Dang. I gave up meat for Lent, but I’ve got some Lentil Sloppy Joe’s on the menu for this week. You can be sure I’ll be making this after Easter. :)

15 Amanda February 20, 2013 at 4:01 pm

You can bet I will be trying this recipe thanks Tina!

16 Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef February 20, 2013 at 4:58 pm

this sounds fabulous, tina!!!

17 [email protected] Palate February 20, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Love the addition of the kidney beans! Sloppy joes are unheard of in Ireland…except for in my world! I have a tempeh one coming next week!

18 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama February 20, 2013 at 7:29 pm

I absolutely hated sloppy joes growing up. The funny thing is that now it’s one of my favorite meals except I make a vegetarian version. Maybe I’ll surprise the hubs and make yours for him one night!

19 Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) February 21, 2013 at 7:24 am

pinned!! :)

20 Bek @ Crave February 22, 2013 at 2:49 am

That;s what I do to stop everyone whinging! Keep the meat and up the veg ;)

21 Sharla February 23, 2013 at 2:06 pm

My mom started adding carrots to her sloppy joes AFTER I became an adult and I love it!!

22 Diane April 4, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Made these the other night and boy did it make a bunch! I happily had leftovers for lunch yesterday and today! Both my husband and son enjoyed, which is rare (especially for a husband that’s addicted to processed foods). Quick tip: I used a food processor to chop up the carrots and zucchini (yellow squash in my case because it’s what I had on hand). Just a few pulses to get small pieces without creating mush. I actually did the beans that way, too! Saved some time and energy, which this gal always needs more of!

23 tinareale April 5, 2013 at 8:03 am

GREAT idea! Thanks for sharing. I’m with you that cutting down prep time is always helfpul. Glad your family loved these and aren’t the numerous leftovers SO great?! One of the other reasons I absolutely love this meal.

24 Deirdre January 18, 2014 at 11:02 am

What??? No roasted red and green peppers? It isn’t sloppy joe without peppers, people ;)

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