Sloppy Joes

Inspired by a dish that my friend @cakes_by_drea made few days ago, I decided to test a few #sloppyjoe recipes.

Classically, Sloppy Joes are a fragrant-sweet concoction of ground beef, peppers, onions, tomato sauce, ketchup , brown sugar, herbs, and acid. Although these are all tasty ingredients, their nutritional value isn’t top notch! I wanted to create something a little less sweet with a big burst of flavorful nutrition. I tested this recipe with extra firm tofu, turkey, and grass-fed ground beef. All three results were quite tasty.

I scaled back the sweetness by using mixture of tomato  paste and sauce , then coaxed back some of it with the addition of a small amount of iron-rich black strap molasses, balsamic vinegar, and a whiff of ground cloves.

Finally, why not see how many extra veggies I could incorporate before it resembled a vegetable stew ?  I folded spinach leaves and a little chopped parsley  in at the end (the latter not technically a vegetable, but it counts for nutritional purposes.)

  • Author: Leslie Myers
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: Main Dish


  • 2 Tbsp oil (we used avocado oil), divided
  • 1 lb ground turkey, extra firm tofu cut into 1/2 inch cubes or grass fed ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup small diced red or green bell pepper 
  • 1/2-1 cup water 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 ounces tomato paste (1/2 of a 6 ounce can) 
  • 7-8 ounces tomato sauce (about half a 15 ounce can)
  • Half a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1-2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8th tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 cups spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley leaves 


  • Over medium-high heat, heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large sauté pan over
  • Sauté the turkey, beef or tofu until browned and cooked though
  • Remove from the pan
  • Add the remaining oil. Add the onions, celery, carrots and bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Splash in 1-2 Tbsp of water to steam and soften the vegetables
  • When vegetable are softened, add the garlic and cook for a minute
  • Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or two
  •  Add the tomato sauce and all of the other ingredients with the exception of the spinach and parsley. Cook, while stirring, another 5 minutes
  •  Just before serving, add the spinach and parsley and stir just until the spinach is wilted.


  • Calories: 312
  • Sugar: 11.3 g
  • Sodium: 691 mg
  • Fat: 15.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 24.3 g
  • Fiber: 7.7 g
  • Protein: 25.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 77 mg