We’ve been selling people on our Best Sloppy Joes recipe for years and years and thought it was about time to make a Healthier Sloppy Joes with Turkey recipe!
Ground turkey makes a great healthy substitute for sloppy joes, however they are they so much lighter than a ground beef sloppy joe that you’ll want to adjust the recipe slightly. This healthier sloppy joes recipe can be made stove top, in a slow cooker or even an instant pot!
How Healthy are Sloppy Joes?
While ground beef packs great protein, it along with the sugar, condiments and fats in sloppy joes along with the bread for the sandwich can make for a not so lean meal. However, there are some easy changes you can make to lighten up the calories.
Healthier Substitute for Sugar in Cooking
Brown sugar really makes for a delicious sloppy joe, the sweet the smoky and that wonderful umami flavor, but for those watching their sugar carrots are a wonderful substitute. Just grate some carrots into the mixture and you won’t miss the sugar at all.
Healthy Substitute for Ground Beef
Ground beef is not actually unhealthy, but you can cut on the calories and fat by using ground turkey. When you use ground turkey you’ll notice that there isn’t as much fat, so you’ll want to add a little oil while the meat is browning so it doesn’t over cook or dry out.
How to Make Healthier Sloppy Joes with Turkey
To make healthier sloppy joes with turkey start off with a diced onion which is a great way to add flavor without adding many calories. This is a great time to add the oil, but only start with a small amount as we aren’t looking to boil the onion in oil.
As the onion cooks it will become tender and at this point you should add the ground turkey. Cook, stirring occasionally and adding small amounts of oil to keep the ground turkey from burning.
From here, add all other ingredients, stirring as you go until everything is combined.
Now you just let the sauce simmer and cook!
How to Cook Sloppy Joes in a Slow Cooker
You can make sloppy joes in a slow cooker if you first saute the onions and cook the meat. At this point, pour everything into the slow cooker or crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours.
How to Cook Sloppy Joes in an Instant Pot
An instant pot is really the way to go for sloppy joes as it brings out the flavor in a fraction of the time and you only have to dirty one bowl!
Turn the instant pot onto saute and add the onion and oil and proceed just as the original recipe states. Continue with the recipe as normal and then turn the instant pot to manual high pressure for 15 minutes.
Allow a natural release for 5 minutes and then turn to vent and remove the lid. Serve as normal.
Healthier Sloppy Joes with Turkey
Healthier Sloppy Joes with Turkey
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup Onion diced fine
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Garlic minced
- 1 Pound Ground Turkey
- 1 Carrot grated
- 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 3/4 Teaspoon Liquid Smoke
- 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 Cup Tomato Sauce
- 1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Whole Wheat Buns for serving
Stove Top Method
- Heat a dutch oven over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once its hot, quickly add the onion and stir occasionally until translucent.
- Add the peppers and garlic and stir occasionally for 1 minute then add the ground turkey and break it up with a wooden spoon, stirring it all together. Allow to cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the carrots, mustard, worcestershire, liquid smoke, chili powder, and paprika.
- Stir for 30 seconds and then add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and salt and pepper.
- Allow to cook for 5 minutes, season to taste and serve or cook up to 1 hour on low and then serve. (The longer it cooks the better the flavor.)
- Scoop onto buns that have been brushed with butter.
Slow Cooker Method
- Prepare the onion and meat as per above. Turn a crockpot on to low heat and add the meat, onions and all remaining ingredients. Place the lid on and cook for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours.
Instant Pot Method
- Turn the instant pot onto saute and add the onion and oil and proceed just as the original recipe states. Continue with the recipe as normal and then turn the instant pot to manual high pressure for 15 minutes. Allow a natural release for 5 minutes and then turn to vent and remove the lid. Serve as normal.
All these years I’ve thought sloppy joes were the worst dinner and then we spent months testing and now it’s the best sloppy joes recipe you’ll ever make!
Looking for another comfort food that uses ground turkey? Try this crockpot meatloaf!