Comfort Food Made Healthier

September 6, 2011   26 Comments

Anyone else like sloppy joes? This sandwich consists of ground meat, onions, and mystery sauce from a can served on a bun.

Healthy Sloppy Joes

My mother used to "cook" these for us - and I had forgotten about them until recently. I found out that my husband, who is applying to become a U.S. citizen, has never had a sloppy joe.

I felt for sorry for him. Never had a sloppy joe! You haven't lived!

But, even more unbelievable, he hadn't seen Kevin Nealon dressed as a sloppy joe. Yes, I am dating myself here - how many of you think of Adam Sandler and his rendition of "Lunch Lady Land" when you think of sloppy joes?

See below - and do not stop watching until you see the dancing sloppy joe!

Slop, sloppy joes.....slop, sloppy joes...

Right! So now that I have oriented you to the cultural importance of this sandwich, I am going to change it. Why shift an American icon?

I think I can make it just as delicious and healthier and no one will notice! I am going to remove most of the ground meat and use canned black beans.

Sacrilege? Maybe, but it is cheaper, healthier, and more environmentally sound to eat less meat and while I think a sloppy joe without ANY ground meat is a bad idea- mixing in some beans turns out to be a pretty good idea.

You see, the beans are fiber filled, low calorie, high protein and they go great in the sauce! And, the amount of meat added gives it that meat taste so necessary here to make it delicious.

We don't have to give up taste and flavor to have a healthier option. Just add less meat and it works. Really.

It is difficult to buy 1/2 pound of ground meat. So, talk to your butcher (they will give you the amount you specify) or just cut the pound in half and freeze the rest for later use.

I double dog dare you to try this recipe!

Here is another recipe where I snuck in black beans: Healthier Brownies With A Secret Ingredient.


Healthy Sloppy Joe Recipe

1.6 from 24 reviews

(makes 8 sandwiches)

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1 medium onion (chopped)
1/2 pound ground beef
2-15.5 ounce can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup bbq sauce or ketchup
1/2 cup French's yellow mustard (or equivalent)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
8 whole wheat burger buns


Spray non-stick pan with non-stick spray and heat to medium high. Saute onion until softened and add ground beef. Cook until ground beef is no longer pink. Add the remaining ingredients and serve on burger buns. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

335 calories, 4.9 g fat, 55.3 g carbohydrates, 22.3 g protein, 11.3 g fiber, 721 mg sodium, 8 Points+

served on 1/2 bun = 265 calories, 3.9 g fat, 42.3 g carbohydrates, 19.3 g protein, 9.3 g fiber, 591 mg sodium, 7 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 26 )

Oh My! I haven't had a sloppy Joe in years! This recipe looks amazing!

Thanks for the dinner idea, I am going to make these with sweet potatoe fries. I am vegatarian so I am going to use the meatless crumbles for me and regular for the family.

If you add a pinch of cinnamon and allspice, it tastes even more like "the original"....yum!

I've never liked sloppy joes, but I remember my dad singing that song just to be funny. Now I know where it comes from.

I use ground turkey in my sloppy joes and they are pretty yummy. I love black beans, but they hate me =(

I add chopped up dates to mine for the brown sugar taste.

Totally love that video!

Ok, what can we eat that's healthy. After looking at the archives and the worst foods to eat, I see that really there is nothing to feel good about eating. I need more healthy options!! What are they...besides expensive fruits and vegetables!!???

Vegetarians! Try these with quorn crumbles - so much tastier than the soy ones!!

"Me and sloppy joe got six kids and we're doing just fiiiine..."

earlier this summer i had some ground beef and buns, and a craving for sloppy joes (AKA, "BBQ sandwiches" in Minnesota/midwest, or "loose meat sandwiches" in some other places) but no canned 'joe mix. so i whipped some up with BBQ sauce, ketchup, maybe some tomato sauce, and chili powder. it was delish! using black beans sounds like a good plan!

I just made sloppy joes for my family last night! I use the ground turkey as well but never thought about sneaking the black beans in. My son will hate it if he sees me but I bet he wont know the difference if I do it gradually! I could also make some for me with just the black beans (Vegeterian). I will definately try this next time. Thanks for the idea!

Oh thank you for the video - it really brightened my day! Although hard not to LOL while at work. :-)

Great idea! My partner and I use l pound of portabello mushrooms diced instead of meat (because we're vegetarians) and it works really well too.

Love the recipe! I never liked the sloppy joe mix from the can. But my daughter's Brownie Girl Scout book had a recipe using 1 lb hamburger, 1 can tomato soup, ketchup & mustard to taste. I think yours would have a bit more tang and I'd love to try it with the beans.

I've never liked sloppy joes because they were, well, sloppy! I was never able to actually eat the sandwich in public w/o humiliating myself! Ha! But I remember my school in elementary served us sloppy joes, all unhealthy and such, and they didn't even give a rat's a...yeah, about our health!

I never liked sloppy joes in public because they WERE sloppy (and would end up on my clothes somehow) but then I started doing what I do with chili with them... so I'll try this with your recipe.

What Asian Americans tend to do with chili, or barbeque pulled meats, or anything saucy, is stick them over RICE instead of on a bun... (and I use brown rice nowadays.)

I LOVE sloppy joes and have them monthly. When I was very young, my mom & dad had unexpected guests at dinnertime and to stretch the sloppy joes already cooking to feed everyone, my mom added a can of undrained pork & beans and just added cut carrots & celery as the side instead of the beans she was planning on. I've never known sloppy joes without beans in them...however the black beans are probably better for you.

Mmmm love sloppy joes. When I was on Weight Watchers I would make sloppy joes with just sauteed onions and mushrooms for the "meat". On light wheat buns they were 3 points! 1 for the onion (if you use a full cup it's 1 pt), 1 for the bun and 1 for the sauce!

so its chili on a bun! I LOVE it!

We just made sloppy joes this week using green lentils in addition to the ground beef....the lentils provided a nice texture and serious staying power, getting me through the next 6 hours of an overnight shift with no problem!

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