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.
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.
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.
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!).