Weeknight Sloppy Joes

Sloppy joe is the meal of childhood, along with spaghetti, tacos, and meatloaf. (I’m sensing a pattern…it must be the delicious beef!) And thankfully we can all be children at heart and enjoy sloppy joes throughout adulthood.

As a weeknight chef, sloppy joes couldn’t be easier. At minimum, it requires browning some beef (or turkey), tossing in ketchup, and spooning it onto buns. Simple, tasty, and filling.

But I prefer to spice things up, literally and figuratively. The pan warms with olive oil before I toss in diced onion and garlic. In my husband’s opinion, that’s the best smell – especially when the aroma hits him walking in the door from work!

While that’s simmering, I grate carrots or zucchini (because every parent wants to sneak in vegetables!). Next I brown the beef with the onions and garlic. Finally, I add in the secret veggies and the sauce.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of a homemade sauce; this one is straightforward and delightable to everyone’s taste buds. It’s a combination of ketchup, barbeque sauce, worcestershire, and (optional) red pepper flakes. Give that a whirl and thoroughly combine with the meat mixture for perfect sloppy joes.

Wondering what to serve as a side dish? Potatoes and green beans are perfect! Try green beans simmered in Dale’s sauce or these provencal potatoes.

Curious to make your own biscuits to replace store-bought buns? You can’t go wrong with my go-to quick biscuits or these fluffy whole wheat biscuits.

Yield: 4

Weeknight Sloppy Joes

Weeknight Sloppy Joes

A classic dinner that’s quick to prepare using ground beef, a homemade sauce, and hidden veggies.

Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef, or turkey
  • 1 carrot or zucchini, seeded, grated
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup barbeque sauce
  • 2 Tbsp worcestershire
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes, optional


  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the diced onion and minced garlic. Allow to simmer until onions are translucent, around 5 minutes.
  2. Add ground beef to skillet and break up as it cooks.
  3. While beef is cooking, grate carrot (or zucchini).
  4. Mix together the ketchup, barbeque sauce, worcestershire, and red pepper flakes for the sauce.
  5. Once meat is done, add vegetable and the sauce to the skillet. Mix together and allow to simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes.

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