This kid-friendly sloppy joe is a healthier twist on a classic comfort food and makes for great leftovers! Made with lean beef, vegetables, and a super easy homemade sauce with pumpkin, this quick and easy meal can be on your table in 30 minutes! I used medjool dates in place of the traditional brown sugar/ketchup to make it refined-sugar free. It also helps cut through the acidity of the tomatoes.
This will be a nutritious and delicious way to serve beef to babies and toddlers alike. If you’re LO is not too fond of meat, definitely give this recipe a try! For more inspirations, be sure to follow @kidfriendly.meals on Instagram
I suggest doubling or even tripling the recipe! You can serve this on a bun, over rice or other whole grains, pasta, veggies…basically anything and everything! It also freezes beautifully.
To give you a couple of ideas, I served this with purple sweet potatoes and pasta with spiralized veggies the next day. Purple sweet potatoes happens to be one of my 21 month old son, Caleb’s favorite food. They taste richer and somewhat denser and drier than regular sweet potatoes. Definitely give them a try if you haven’t already!
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
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 medium bell pepper diced
- 1/2 yellow onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 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.