This past weekend I spent my time catching up with a friend and enjoying a short trip to DC. I absolutely love weekend trips! You get in and out of cities with a few fantastic meals, memories to laugh over, and the excitement of travel. There’s only really one thing I despise: travel aftermath.
I always find myself in a state of chaos after an adventure. I’ll even fully admit to you that my suitcase isn’t getting unpacked for at least two weeks. There will also be piles of laundry starting at me, and it will take at least two days to sift through emails. Oh and then to top it all off I have to think about cooking myself dinner after dining out all weekend and guzzling margaritas like I have the metabolism of a gymnast… forget it! At that point all I desire to do is spread out in my bed and watch a marathon of shows that used to be cool in the 90s. Or the Food Network because it’s truly the only channel I need.
This is the time where super lean turkey sloppy joes come in. They’re so easy to throw together — and healthy too! Total travel worry diminished. Really you guys, you absolutely have no idea how obsessed I am with favorite childhood foods, particularly heaping tomato slathered juicy turkey sandwiched between a whole wheat hamburger bun. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. As a kid, I used to eat them with corn chips almost every day. Now that I’m an adult, I hold the hope that someone will create a sloppy joe food truck and park it in front of my house during lunch time.
Okay I admit that’s an unlikely scenario, but I really do adore them! These joes are a quick fix for my comfort food cravings.
Seriously how much easier could dinner get? Minimal ingredients. Healthy and easy. Just awesome flavor in your mouth. They remind me of being a kid! This recipe calls for a bit of BBQ sauce which means the sloppy joes aren’t as sweet, but instead have a perfect tangy, rich flavor with a hint of spice. I recommend using a bbq sauce with minimal sugar, and a spicy flavor, although your favorite sauce would work too. My favorite way to serve them? With sharp cheddar cheese on whole wheat crusty buns. Doooo it.
Favorite Lean Turkey Sloppy Joes
Get your comfort food quick fix with these healthy turkey sloppy joes. They have a tangy, rich flavor, and are super easy to throw together. A true childhood classic with a leaner twist!
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 pound extra lean ground turkey
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- red pepper flakes, if desired
- 1 cup (8 oz) tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup bbq sauce of choice
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Frank's Hot Sauce or Tabasco
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, if desired
- 6 whole wheat hamburger buns
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Once oil is shimmering, add red bell pepper, onion and garlic and cook until the onion is tender and garlic is fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and set aside. Keep heat on and use the same skillet to cook your turkey.
Next add ground turkey to the skillet. Break up the meat and spread it around the pan. Season generously with salt and pepper and cook 8-10 minutes or until the turkey is cooked and no longer pink.
Stir in tomato sauce, a pinch of red pepper flakes, bbq sauce, Worcestershire, chili powder, tomato paste, and hot sauce to the skillet with the meat. Add in the vegetables and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. If you find the sauce too tangy, add a bit of brown sugar or ketchup.
Serve on whole wheat hamburger buns. Top with cheese if desired.
Gosh this look so amazing. I seriously have always loved sloppy joes. Thanks for making me feel so not guilty if I try this recipe!
Beautiful! Can’t wait to try! Do you think this could also work as a chunky pasta sauce? Mmm hungry…
Oh definitely! Although you might have to change up the ingredients, try leaving out the bbq sauce and adding extra tomato sauce along with some Italian spices — basil and oregano!
I haven’t had a sloppy joe in so long! Looks like a great recipe 🙂
Comfort food! Love them – I always top mine with diced onion and grated sharp cheddar. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Wow, so good and good for you, I doubled the BBQ sauce and ate almost half the batch (no bun, just lettuce boat for the vessel.). GREAT winter meal
Do you feel like I’m a blog stalker? I promise I’m just a normal girl who just happens to have the exact same food tastes as you and is in love with your recipes. 🙂
Made these tonight with elk instead of turkey (that’s what you get when you’re a hunters wife), and it was actually very good! I was nervous because I hadn’t had a sloppy joe since I was 10 and it came from a can. haha. But these were great….a bit tangy for me so I added a wee bit ‘o brown sugar like you suggested and they were perfect. Thanks so much for your great recipes! I think it’s about time I tackled one of your cookies…I can’t resist any longer. Now to choose…..mmmmm.
Thanks so much for posting this recipe. It’s the best! The only recipe I use to make sloppy joes. YUMMM!
First time eating a sloppy joe that did not come from a can lol. They came out great! So zoo much better homemade! Thank you for this awesome recipe!!
This is my new "go-to" Sloppy Joe recipe. I've made it a 1/2 dozen times now. 🙂
I have to say, this was the first recipe of yours I tried over a year ago and since then became a follower of your blog. This recipe (and your green detox smoothie, except I replaced blueberries instead of the strawberries) are my favorites! I made this tonight and I always use the 80 calorie wheat buns to help keep it on the healthy side!
Loved it! Different bbq sauces give it a different spin on it. This is the easier and purist recipe I’ve come across. This will be great for a quick breakfast or with an over easy egg.
I made this last night. It was so good. Even my boyfriend, who basically only likes cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and lasagna, LOVED it. It tastes just like an original sloppy joe and you wouldn’t even know it was healthy.
These are really great! Hubby and I just had them for dinner tonight and we really enjoyed how simple and delicious they were. We had ours “open-face” style. Awesome!
I pretty much am obsessed with every recipe I’ve ever tried of yours!!! I love this! I cut back on the spice for my kids (just a sprinkle of chili powder instead of a tsp) and somehow it was all super thick pretty much right when I stirred it all together, so it did not need any simmer time. It might have been the thick BBQ sauce I used. But anyway, it was an even quicker recipe than I thought, and soooooooooooo gooooooooooood. Best sloppy joes ever.
This was great. How much is serving in ounces?
This was awesome. How much is a serving in ounces?
Any way to make this in the slow cooker?
Delicious and no need to cook veggies and meat separate just throw it all in there and cook till its done then add everything else and simmer. Less mess to clean up.
Thanks for this recipe! Definitely a family night MUST!
You’re welcome! Agreed – SO good!
I made this for Sunday dinner and served it over a baked potato instead of on a roll. My husband and I enjoyed this very much. Then last night with some of the leftover sloppy joe I mixed it in with some zoodles, also delicious. I still have enough left to actually have some on a roll probably tomorrow’s lunch. Thanks for the great recipe and so versatile. you can use it many different ways. With all that great flavor I don’t even miss the ground beef.
Those all sound delicious! I’m glad you two were able to enjoy it so many different ways!
I just did the calories on your recipe, the Nutrition is way off, I punched everything in and came up with 417 calories and that’s without the whole wheat rolls. Not sure what you did to make it so much less? I was really excited when I saw the low calorie on this.
Nevermind I figured it out what I did, thanks anyway
you were right!
Do you know the calorie and carb count without the bun?
I didn’t calculate it for this recipe, but you can just subtract the calories + carbs from a traditional whole wheat bun (I would take a look online for this info if you don’t have them in your kitchen).
Made this tonight for dinner. This is the first time I’ve actually liked a sloppy joe. Very good and simple recipe. Thank you for sharing it.
Amazing! These ones are 100x better than the store-bought kind 😉 Glad you enjoyed!
Anyone know the serving size? I am hoping it’s around a 3/4 cup.
Do you happen to have the nutrition info for just the sloppy joes, and not the bun/cheese, since everyone’s buns and cheese are different?
Thanks js much!
This one just includes nutritional info for the sloppy joes + bun, so I would just estimate and subtract a standard bun that you find the nutrition info for 🙂
Thanks for another great recipe. I love using ground turkey and was looking for something different.
Love this one! I use it for tons of different recipes. Try these other ground turkey recipes next!
These were delish. My family ate them before I even sat at the table. I modified a bit by adding liquid smoke for a smokey flavor. I also scooped the meat on a bun, added a slice of cheese and put in the oven to melt the cheese and crisp the bun and top. I broiled at the end for a few minutes and they were so yummy. Thanks for this easy, great recipe!
Love it! Great idea with the melty cheese. YUM.
Seriously delicious! My whole family loves this recipe! The star rating isn’t working for me but 5 stars!
Amazing! I’m so glad 🙂 One of my go-to’s for dinner.
I made this and my husband loved it! Easy to make and very delicious!
So happy to hear that! One of my go-to’s for dinner, too.
Another great recipe! Thanks! I thought for sure my 4 year old would balk at the pepper and onion chunks, but he gobbled it up! Great flavor!
Perfect! So glad this was kiddo-approved 🙂
These are a go to in my house!! Super lean and super yummy! My husband doesn’t even like turkey meat, but he loves these. Thanks for a great recipe!
Love it! So happy to hear that!
I love this recipe! The only thing I wanted to know is how much is a serving size?
So happy to hear that! It should be about 1/2 cup each for 6 sandwiches.
Hi Monique! Just wondering if you have a recommendation for how to make this meal in a slow-cooker? Thanks in advance!
Hi! Simply brown the meat, then add everything else to the slow cooker and cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low.
This is my favorite sloppy joe recipe!
This was the first AK recipe I ever made and the reason I continue to make AK recipes! This is so good and I’m not even a Sloppy Joe fan but this made me one. It is a family favorite. A perfect weeknight meal, healthy and quick. Make this now!
The always reliable ambitious kitchen does it again! I was between making turkey tacos or turkey sloppy joes – did a quick search on AK and found this recipe. Omitted the red pepper flakes, hot sauce and brown sugar since I had a 6 yr old and 11-month old eating this, too. Good news, the kiddos liked it and two thumbs up from the adults!
YAY, I’m so happy you found this one and enjoyed it!! Totally fine to leave those things out–glad you guys all loved them 🙂