No. 191: Homemade Sloppy Joe's

Last night was a comfort food kind of night. There were lots of errands to run on the way home from work and some serious DVR catching up to do.

Side note: Has anyone been watching The Leftovers? We are fascinated by it, yet also so very confused:)

Ok, to continue, I found myself craving something familiar. Something worthy of sitting around and doing little on a Tuesday night.

Sloppy Joe's (the kind from the mix or can with lots of ketchup) sounded wonderful. But honestly, I had never made this classic family dish from scratch.

Homemade Sloppy Joe's

This version of was heavily inspired by a Food52 recipe I found during a quick Google search in the Safeway parking lot. Thank goodness for the Internet on phones.


1/2 large onion, finely diced
1/2 bell pepper, finely diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 hot banana or jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground beef*
1 14-ounce can, petite diced or crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
2 teaspoons steak sauce
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4-6 buns
Sliced or shredded cheddar cheese, if desired

*If you want to make a veggie version of this dish, replace the beef with 12 ounces of soy crumbles.

To make

Brown the ground beef in a pan and set aside.

In the same pan, saute the onions, celery, sweet and hot peppers over medium heat for a few minutes. Add the garlic and saute until the onions are translucent.

Add the beef and the crushed tomatoes and stir well. Add the ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, mustard and paprika and bring to a boil while stirring.


(There was no way to make this photo pretty. This dish is sloppy and delightful.)

Reduce the heat to a low simmer and let mixture cook for about 30 minutes. When ready to serve, ladle sauce over the bread.


Top with a slice of cheese and the other half of the bun.

The results

I loved the variety of ingredients in this mix, especially the addition of celery and peppers. Those unexpected elements paired with the sweet, vinegary sauce really elevated these Joe's to a fancier level than usual.

Sloppy Joe's

Red wine vinegar might be a nice swap out for the cider vinegar. I also found myself craving a side of cole slaw with these little guys.

But all in all, a terrific one pan meal delivered in under 45 minutes total. Perfect for the fam or a hurried week night.

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Amelia McCormick

Kansas girl transplanted to Asheville, North Carolina. Smiler, lover of great food and wine, facilitator, runner, storyteller, wife, optimist, and mother of sweet twins:)

Asheville, North Carolina