When I was a kid, I loved sloppy joes. Though I have to confess, I did not know you could actually make them from scratch. I thought sloppy joes only existed from a can until I was well into adulthood. When I finally discovered the formula for making them without all the icky processed garbage you usually find in canned varieties, I fell in love all over again. This recipe is really just as easy to throw together on a busy night. Plus, it is far healthier and tastes even better than you remembered. Serve it traditional on a bun with a side of corn and oven roasted sweet potato fries. Or eliminate the processed carbs, and serve it over a baked sweet potato. My kids love it either way.
1lb ground meat (I typically use turkey, but beef or chicken work great as well)
1 medium onion chopped
1 sweet bell pepper chopped (red, yellow, or orange varieties)
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
½-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional depending on how spicy you like it)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoon chili powder
A dash or two of cayenne pepper (optional depending on how spicy you like it)
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup ketchup (look for lower sugar varieties with no high fructose corn syrup)
6-8 sprouted grain or whole wheat hamburger rolls -OR-
4-6 medium sweet potatoes
Heat the oil in a large saucepan on medium high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pan. Sauté the vegetable for 3-5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add the ground meat and salt. Break up the meat in the pan and begin to brown.
Once meat is broken up and beginning to cook, add the cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir and coat the meat and vegetables with the spices. Then, add the ketchup. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to cook for about 6-8 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly and the meat is cooked through. Serve on toasted rolls or over baked sweet potatoes.