Veggie Loaded Sloppy Joes {Recipe}

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Veggies are this recipe’s best kept secret. Shhh… don’t tell the kids!

Trying to get your kids to eat a few servings of vegetables every day can be challenging, especially if you’ve got picky eaters in the house. This healthy take on a childhood classic is a great way to sneak them in without the kids complaining. Veggie-loaded sloppy joes are made with lean ground beef smothered in a sweet and savory sauce, topped with cheese and piled high on a soft bun; all the things that make them a hit with the kids! But they also have a whole arsenal of vegetables that are finely chopped and mixed in with the the meat.

Veggie Sloppy Joes for PDX Moms Blog

Veggie-loaded sloppy joes are also a great meal on the go. Just prep ahead and serve between family activities. You could even bring it to summer picnics as an alternative when burgers are being served. Kids and adults alike will love them!

The preparation is easy. Other than a little extra veggie chopping, the cook time is short, taking less than 30 minutes from beginning to end. Once you’re done with the meat sauce, you can serve it up immediately or keep it warm and ready to serve for later in a crock pot, or covered in a warm oven.

**NOTE: You can use any combination of vegetables that sound good to you for the meat sauce. Have fun with it, and see how many you can get your kiddos to eat!

VEGGIE LOADED SLOPPY JOES

Ingredients

16 oz. Lean ground beef
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. Ground pepper
1 tsp. Chili powder
1 tsp. Garlic powder
1 tsp. Mustard powder
1/2 Yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup Carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup Red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup Zucchini, finely chopped
1/2 cup Mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tbsp. Tomato paste
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup Ketchup
2 tbsp. Brown sugar
4 Kaiser rolls or Hamburger buns
4 slices Sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook the beef in a large saute pan over medium-high heat with salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic and mustard powder for 8-10 minutes until thoroughly browned. Remove meat from the pan and wipe out any remaining grease.
  2. Reheat the pan and saute the vegetables, beginning with the onions and carrots for 2-3 minutes. Add the bell peppers, zucchini and mushrooms and cook for 6-8 minutes more until they become soft and tender.
  3. Add tomato paste and saute for one minute, tossing it with the veggies as it heats.
  4. Add the Worcestershire sauce and ketchup to complete the sauce. Cook for 5 minutes more until it is heated through.
  5. Serve large scoops of the meat sauce on a bun with a slice of cheese on top. The cheese will melt in over the hot meat in just about a minute.
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Katie is a native of Portland, Oregon and lives in Tigard with her two young children and husband Rob. She is a cooking enthusiast, athlete, and a graphic designer by trade. She has spent the last 15 years learning about health and nutrition, mastering the art of healthy cooking for weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Her passion for food comes from her own experience losing weight and craving something delicious along the way. She is the author of a cookbook, and she continues to write recipes on her blog Eating Lean & Green. She writes with the intention to provide healthy alternatives for favorite foods that not only fuel your body, but taste good enough that you'll want to share them with the people that you love.