Sloppy joes may be known as lowbrow cafeteria food, but they’re still delicious. To make these satisfying hot sandwiches, cook bell peppers, onions, and garlic until softened; add tomato paste; and then brown ground beef or turkey in the same pot. Add a few seasonings along with Worcestershire and tomato sauce, and simmer until the flavors concentrate into a sweet, tangy mixture. Pile a generous helping on a toasted bun, top with our Cabbage and Carrot Herbed Slaw, and don’t forget to tuck a napkin under your chin.
Game plan: The flavors continue to develop as the sloppy Joe mixture sits, so you can make this recipe up to 2 days in advance and refrigerate it in a container with a tightfitting lid, or freeze it for up to 1 month.
Find out where sloppy Joes come from (probably), and try our Red Curry Sloppy Banh Mi Sandwiches recipe too.
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 1 hr
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into small dice
- 2 medium yellow onions, small dice
- 4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 pounds lean ground beef or ground turkey
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 2 (14-ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
- 6 to 8 hamburger buns, split and toasted
- Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the peppers, onion, and garlic, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 6 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, stir to combine, and cook until the raw flavor has cooked out, about 1 minute.
- Increase the heat to medium high, add the ground beef or turkey, and cook, breaking the meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until it’s just cooked through and no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, and measured salt, stir to coat the meat and vegetables, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the tomato sauce, water, vinegar, Worcestershire, and brown sugar, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors meld and the mixture thickens, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.