Made with ground turkey, vegetables, and a super easy homemade sauce, this turkey sloppy joes can be on your table in 30 minutes!
- Ground turkey - I recommend not going any leaner than 93% lean turkey for the best flavor and texture.
- Vegetables - I like to use green bell pepper and onion but feel free to use whatever you wish. Mushrooms, carrots, or zucchini are all great options!
- Dates - A great refined-sugar-free alternative to the traditional brown sugar/ketchup. They also help cut through the acidity of the tomatoes.
- Pumpkin puree - Makes the sauce nice and creamy while boosting nutrition.
- Make the sauce - place all the ingredients in a food processor/blender and blend until smooth.
- Cook the turkey. Add the vegetables and cook for several minutes.
- Add sauce to the pan and combine.
- Cook until thickened.
Tips for Success
- Be sure to soak the dates in hot water for at least 15 minutes, until soft and just starting to fall apart. I suggest reserving the date-soaking water to use for thinning out the sauce, if necessary.
- Toast the buns! Spreading on some butter is always a good idea 😉
- Add the sloppy joe mixture to the bun right before serving. Otherwise the bread will get too soggy.
- I actually like to keep the vegetables a bit larger so my kids can see them and also for added texture. If you'd like to finely chop instead, I recommend using a food chopper like this one! It's so handy for quick vegetable prep.
- Double or even triple the recipe! It freezes beautifully.
How to serve turkey sloppy joes
Besides on a toasted bun, here are some other fun ways to enjoy this delicious meat mixture!
- Add to grilled sandwiches
- Serve with pasta
- Combine with oatmeal for a savory version
- Pour over roasted sweet potatoes
How to serve to babies
Start by serving a very small portion to make it less overwhelming for your baby. You can always offer more, following your baby's lead.
How to serve to toddlers
If your child has a difficult time biting into burgers (or sandwiches), cut into smaller, more manageable pieces.
And if your child is not a fan of foods touching, try serving it deconstructed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Leftovers taste even better! You can also freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the microwave or in a skillet before serving.
Lentils will be a great, flavorful alternative!
Other ground meat recipes to try
Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!
Kid-friendly Sloppy Joes
- 3-4 medjool dates see note
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup no salt added tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 medium bell pepper diced
- ½ yellow onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ½ teaspoon salt and pepper can add less or leave out
- Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook for 3 minutes or so until browned, stirring to crumble. Add the vegetables and cook until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, place all the sauce ingredients into a food processor or blender and puree until completely smooth.
- Add sauce to the pan. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20-25 minutes, until mixture gets thickened. If too thick, add reserved soaked date water to desired consistency.
This post was first published in 2020.