Non - Vegetarian Meals

Meat and Veg Sloppy Joes

You could probably guess that “sloppy joes” were American by the name alone. Once you see a picture, then you can be sure they are American!

Sloppy joes are basically stewed beef sandwiches in a tangy sauce served on hamburger buns. While you can purchase pre-made sauce in America, they really aren’t very difficult (and are much tastier!) to make from scratch. I have tried my grandmother’s recipe in the past, but think I must have written it down incorrectly because it just didn’t work. This time I have used this recipe as my inspiration (followed very loosely but I thought I should still link to it), and am very happy with the outcome! 

Sloppy joes are traditionally made with beef (and perhaps a bit of onion and green pepper), but I decided to swap out half the beef for vegetables and it worked evenbetter than I had hoped! The veggies I used (onion, green pepper, celery, carrot) complimented the sauce, but the sauce is tangy enough to overpower any distracting veg flavour should you choose to use other veg. Honestly, unless you are inspecting your meal, you wouldn’t have a clue that half of the filling was vegetables!  To make this vegetarian, you could easily swap out all of the meat for veg and maybe add in some lentils or meat alternative (tofu, quorn, etc.) instead. It is really the sauce that makes this meal so you could really pour it on just about anything you want. 😀

If you haven’t tried sloppy joes before, do yourself a favour and add this to next week’s meal plan. Not only did Jason and I love this recipe, but our German au pair and my two kids as well. I promise it won’t disappoint! Just be warned that they are super messy (and fun!) to eat, hence the name. 😉

Beef and Veg Sloppy Joes

Print Recipe


  • a glug of olive oil (around 2 tablespoons)
  • 250g (half a pound) mince (ground) beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • (you can really use whatever veg you have in your fridge: mushrooms, courgette, etc. Try grating veg such as broccoli to make the texture less noticeable.)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • sauce:
  • 240g (1 cup) ketchup
  • 240 g (1 cup) Water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mild chilli powder (taste it before you add it to make sure it is indeed mild enough for your kids! I recommend Sainsbury's brand for the legit mildness while still retaining flavour. You can always leave the chilli powder out and add more smoked paprika if need be.)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • hamburger buns (I recommend brioche)



add olive oil to a large pan over medium heat


sauté the vegetables until they begin to soften


add beef to the pan of vegetables and cook through


add ingredients for sauce and let simmer until most of the water evaporates (about 15 minutes)


serve over hamburger buns


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1 Comment

  • Reply
    September 18, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    I grew up eating sloppy joes, made from a mix! I like to add vinegar and molasses to mine. I also use red lentils and even quoin mince substitute successfully. Your recipe looks great.

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