Is there a more all-American food than sloppy joes? You might come back and tell me it’s the hot dog, but even that has it’s roots in German sausages and the like. Sloppy joes- as un-fancy as they are, are an inexpensive dinnertime staple for so many families. Ground beef, mixed condiments, onions and brown sugar, slapped on a big fluffy white bun and served up as a quick weeknight dinner. It seems like an unlikely combination, but somehow it works. Back when I was creating my first online nutrition program, I decided to re-create some family favorites with a healthier spin- ditching the white bun for a baked sweet potato and choosing some less-processed ingredients for the high fructose corn syrup laden ketchup. I’ve tweaked the recipe over the years- I still add a bit of ketchup, but get the sweet tomato flavor from mostly tomato sauce– And it still works! It might not be the big chewy bun of your youth, but it sure is tasty- the sweet potatoes work perfectly with the sweet-and-savory sauce and my kids go crazy for it!
This recipe is easily tweaked- start with the base (sauteed onion, pepper + ground beef with garlic and seasonings; tomato sauce and worcestershire, adding more or less ketchup and coconut aminos for sweetness, or chili powder, cumin and oregano if you like more of a kick.
Sweet Potato Sloppy Joes
1 tbsp avocado or coconut oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1 lb grass-fed ground beef or turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt + pepper
1/3 cup no-sugar-added tomato sauce
2 tbsp all-natural ketchup (optional– if omitting, I suggest tripling coconut aminos)
1 tbsp all-natural worcestershire sauce
1 tsp coconut aminos
1 tsp prepared mustard (dijon or regular)
Spicy- add in:
pinch chili powder (I add up to 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1 baked sweet potato per person, served hot
1. Heat oil in a large sautee pan. Add onion and pepper and sautee until translucent. Add ground meat to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Once mostly cooked, stir in garlic.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together tomato sauce, ketchup if using, worcestershire, coconut aminos and mustard. If you are making the spicy version, stir in seasonings. Pour over top and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
3. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper or ketchup or coconut aminos for sweetness if desired. Serve on top of hot, halved baked sweet potatoes.
I love serving sloppy joes up alongside another American (though I think upon researching it’s roots are actually Dutch) favorite- cole slaw, using my homemade avocado oil mayo.