Sweet potato stuffed with Sloppy Joes filling on a plate, with a teal-handled fork and pickle slices next to the potato.

There are few things in life I love as much as reliving food from my childhood. And it feels like my childhood was filled with a whole bunch of Sloppy Joes! With two working parents, our Sloppy Joes were a weeknight meal made quick, thanks to a pound of ground beef and sauce from a can.

As I got older and started experimenting in my own kitchen, I worked out my very own version of that tasty Sloppy Joes sauce. My Lentil Sloppy Joes have been a staple in our house for years, but when a health care professional suggested I cut out added sugar to treat an illness, out went my standard recipe, and into the kitchen I went to start experimenting! And this no-sugar-added Sloppy Joes recipe was born. It’s just as sweet, tangy, and rich as the original version (or the Sloppy Joes sauce you love from the can), but it’s made with paleo- and Whole30-friendly ingredients!

Sweet potato stuffed with a beef sauce on a plate, with sliced pickles on the side.

How do you make healthy Sloppy Joes?

The key to truly nourishing Sloppy Joes is to start with all whole food ingredients to make the sauce. It sounds tricky, but I promise this isn’t a long process! In fact, you make the entire sauce in under a minute in your blender. Into the blender goes:

  • Medjool dates
  • Water
  • Tomato paste
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Coconut aminos (a grain-free and soy-free alternative to soy sauce)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Garlic
  • Sea salt

Once those goodies take a trip in the blender, they become a velvety smooth sauce that you pour over a mixture of sautéed ground beef, bell pepper, onions, and garlic. The sauce bubbles away until thick and rich.

A wooden spoon stirs filling for Sloppy Joes in a cast iron skillet.

How do you serve Whole30-friendly Sloppy Joes?

Step aside, sad hamburger bun. The tender, fluffy, flavorful sweet potato stuffed full of homemade Sloppy Joes is a match made in comfort food heaven! You can serve your healthy Sloppy Joes on all kinds of vessels, but I really think there is nothing finer than a giant, bright orange, baked sweet potato overflowing with Sloppy Joes. The combination of flavors, textures, and colors makes this a knock-your-socks off dinner that is filling and nourishing.

Can you make these healthy Sloppy Joes vegetarian?

The sauce for these Sloppy Joes is 100% vegetarian (vegan, even), but the beef…well…isn’t! We have two other great vegetarian/vegan Sloppy Joes recipes you can check out though—Lentil Sloppy Joes and Cauliflower Sloppy Joes. You can also feel free to use this Sloppy Joes sauce mixed with your favorite plant-based meat crumbles or plant-based ground meat substitute.

Sweet potato stuffed with Sloppy Joes filling and topped with sliced green onions.

What toppings go well on these stuffed sweet potatoes?

These Sloppy Joe stuffed sweet potatoes are so packed with flavor, that they really don’t need anything—but I love to add a little tangy crunch with some dill pickle slices! Sliced green onions, shredded cheese (if you don’t need them to be paleo or Whole30), and mustard are all excellent, too!

What’s the best way to make baked sweet potatoes?

Baking a sweet potato couldn’t be easier. Scrub your sweet potatoes well, and then pop them on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until you have a soft sweet potato all the way through. You can check this by piercing the sweet potato with a knife or a skewer—it should go through smoothly when the sweet potato is fully cooked. The cooking time will vary depending on the diameter of the sweet potato—the wider the potato, the longer the cooking time.

Sweet potato stuffed with a beef sauce on a plate, with a teal-handled fork resting on the side of the plate.

Can you freeze these stuffed sweet potatoes?

The Sloppy Joes sauce can absolutely be frozen. In fact, I recommend doubling it or tripling it when you make it so you can pack away some super easy weeknight dinners in the freezer—even easier than opening a can!

A wooden spoon sits in a beef sauce in a cast iron skillet.

You can freeze the baked sweet potatoes, but I find that the texture changes to be slightly more gritty after freezing—good for mixing into smoothies, but not so great for fresh eating. I prefer to stick with fresh-baked sweet potatoes for this recipe.

Sweet potato stuffed with Sloppy Joes filling on a plate, with a teal-handled fork and pickle slices next to the potato.

Sloppy Joes Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

These no-sugar-added, paleo Sloppy Joes are comfort food done right! The tangy sauce stuffed into a baked sweet potato makes for a hearty Whole30 dinner.


  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean

For the Sauce:

  • 4 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, whole
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the Meat:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sliced green onions and dill pickles, for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the whole sweet potatoes on a baking dish, and bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until soft all the way through (it may take more or less time, depending on the diameter of your sweet potatoes). Set aside.
  2. With 15 minutes left in the sweet potato cooking time, combine the dates and boiling water in the pitcher of a blender. Let soak for 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, coconut aminos, mustard, 1 whole clove of garlic, and salt. Blend on high until the mixture is very, very smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a medium-size skillet over high heat, brown the ground beef until cooked through. If the beef has released a lot of grease, drain all but about 2 tablespoons.
  5. Add in the onion, bell pepper, and minced garlic. Sauté until the veggies are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add in the tomato sauce and bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thick and heated through, about 3 minutes.
  6. While the sauce is cooking, cut open the sweet potatoes and “fluff” the insides. Top each sweet potato with the Sloppy Joes sauce, and then top with green onions and dill pickles.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 sweet potato
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 546Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 846mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 8gSugar: 32gProtein: 36g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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