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!
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
- Tomato paste
- Apple cider vinegar
- Coconut aminos (a grain-free and soy-free alternative to soy sauce)
- Dijon mustard
- 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.