Sloppy joes are a quick and easy budget-stretching meal that you can sneak some healthy vegetables into and even your fussiest eaters will still enjoy them. Instead of the go-to commercial sauce that’s laden with chemicals, give this recipe a try next time you’re in the mood for a tasty sloppy joe.
In a large frying pan, begin browning your ground beef. Check through your fridge and gather up some vegetables. I like to make these when I have odds and ends of produce in the fridge that may go to waste if I don’t use them up. Cut your vegetables into large chunks and put them in a food processor. In this batch, I used up some celery, onion, red pepper and carrots. Add a few sprigs of fresh basil if you have it. Pulse until the vegetables are about the same consistency as ground beef.
Mincing the vegetables lets you “hide” those that fussy eaters may not like and really enhances their flavour. Not only does it add some great nutrients, it helps stretch your ground beef, which saves you money.
Once the ground beef is browned, drain off the fat and return it to the pan. Add your minced vegetables and allow the mixture to simmer on medium-low heat for two or three minutes while you prepare the seasonings and the sauce mixture.
In a small bowl or large measuring cup, mix 3 tbsp of tomato paste or one small can with a cup of water. To the meat and vegetable mixture, add 1 tbsp each of oregano, basil (if you did not have fresh), onion powder, chili powder and minced garlic.
Stir in the tomato paste mixture and simmer on low heat for five minutes or until the mixture has thickened and is not watery.
Give the mixture a taste and add salt as desired. Serve on your favourite buns and top with grated cheese if desired. I hope you enjoy this healthier twist on the ultimate sloppy joe sandwich!