Clean Sloppy Joes Recipe – the secretly healthy version!

Feb 4th
Clean Sloppy Joes Recipe

Sometimes I set out to create recipes specifically for the blog, and other times I just stumble upon a great recipe while whipping up something for my family. The latter is what happened with this recipe.

I used to love Sloppy Joes when I was a kid, but my mom never made them because we didn’t eat things like Manwich. It wasn’t healthy. And it still isn’t. All that high fructose corn syrup and regular corn syrup, who needs all that extra junk? Plus, it really is just too sweet tasting, regardless of the heath benefits. And lets face it, a bunch of meat swimming in canned sauce on a junky white bun? Doesn’t really appeal to me anymore.

Clean Sloppy Joes Recipe

But if a Sloppy Joes recipe were to be cleaned up it wouldn’t be all that unhealthy and would probably taste better too. A Clean Sloppy Joes Recipe, imagine that! My childhood self is rejoicing! This is healthy comfort food at it’s best.

Not only is this a clean Sloppy Joes recipe, but there are even some sneaky vegetables in there! Your kids (and husband) will never know you added in some extra veggies. Shredded carrots and zucchini to be exact. Seriously, I had my teenage brother and his sweet girlfriend over for dinner and they didn’t notice at all! Hehe, so sneaky! I felt like doing a little happy dance.

Clean Sloppy Joes Recipe

This clean Sloppy Joes recipe is pretty versatile. If you like it a little more on the sweet side – add some extra honey; like to kick things up a notch – add more cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce. You can swap the horseradish mustard with plain yellow mustard. Leave out the onion like I always do, and instead put in 1/2 teaspoon onion powder. Don’t have a green pepper on hand? Just leave it out.

You can make this in the crock-pot (see note) or make it ahead of time and reheat. It really only gets better the more it cooks.

Clean Sloppy Joes Recipe

I like to serve this recipe with some sliced avocado, sweet potato wedges, some radishs and an orange. Or my fast and easy, Two ingredient Cloeslaw and  Crispy Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries. It’s also great over a baked sweet potato, or in a bun (but please keep it clean, folks!).

Clean Sloppy Joes Recipe – the secretly healthy version!

Clean Sloppy Joes Recipe – the secretly healthy version!


  • 1-2 tablespoons avocado/coconut/olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 lb. ground beef or turkey
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, shopped
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, shredded
  • 2 medium-small zucchini, shredded
  • 1 14.5oz can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes that have been blended until smooth
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup or tomato paste (use the paste for Whole30)
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey (omit for Whole30)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon stake seasoning (I used Mccormick Montreal Steak Seasoning)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional for serving: sliced avocado and my fast and easy Two Ingredient Cloeslaw and sweet potato fries, or go traditional with rolls.


Drizzle the oil around the bottom of a dutch oven, just enough to get a light coating. Add in the onions and cook over medium heat until they are soft and translucent. (If you are like me and don't like onions, just skip this step and skip the oil.)

Add the beef to the dutch oven and brown. Make sure it is cooked through and brake it up into small pieces while cooking.

Once the beef is brown add in the rest of the ingredients and cook on medium heat until everything has melded together, then turn the heat down to a low simmer and cook until the sauce is as thick as you like it.

Serve with sliced avocado, my fast and easy Two Ingredient Cloeslaw and sweet potato fries, or go traditional with rolls.


Too keep the recipe clean as possible, use grass-fed beef and organic ingredients. Also use tomatoes that are from BPA-free cans.

You could make this in the crock pot pretty easily. Just cook the onions and brown the beef on the stove and then toss everything in the bowl of your crock pot and set to low for 5-6 hours.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>