Healthier Homemade Sloppy Joes

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Healthier Homemade Sloppy Joes Follow Me on Pinterest

As a kid, I was always excited for school lunches. School lunch meant foods like pizza, peanut butter bars, and lots of other stuff that we just didn’t have very often (if ever) at home.

One of my favorite lunches was sloppy joes. I loved those sloppy joes. Of course, it wasn’t cool to say that you actually liked them, but I did. And I still do. There’s just something about a sweet and tangy sloppy joe that I really like.

I wanted to find a way to make them a little healthier, though, so I added some extra veggies and some lentils. If you’ve never had lentils before, this is a great way to try them out because they just blend right in and don’t take away from all the delicious sloppy joe-ness goin’ on.

Slow Cooker Beef and Lentil Sloppy Joes
  • 1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 c. finely chopped red bell pepper (about 1 medium)
  • 1 c. finely chopped carrot (about 2 medium)
  • 1 c. diced onion (about 1 medium)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. liquid smoke
  • 1 (18 oz.) bottle brown sugar barbecue sauce (you can use whatever barbecue sauce you'd like, but a brown sugar sauce will give more of the traditional sweet taste)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 c. brown lentils, picked over
  1. In a large skillet, brown ground beef.
  2. Drain fat from ground beef, and set aside.
  3. Wipe out most of the grease from the skillet, leaving about 1 teaspoon in the pan.
  4. Place bell pepper, carrot, and onion in skillet. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.
  6. Pour in liquid smoke, barbecue sauce, tomato sauce, and water; stir to combine.
  7. Add the cooked ground beef back in along with the lentils, and stir to combine.
  8. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes, or until lentils are soft.

Healthier Homemade Sloppy Joes Follow Me on Pinterest

You might also like the following lighter/healthier recipes

Lighter Sour Cream Noodle Bake

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Bacon Cheddar Smashed Potatoes

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Southwestern Twice Baked Potatoes

southwestern twice baked potatoes 2 writing Follow Me on Pinterest

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  1. Kim says

    I was wondering what the serving size would be and about how many servings this makes. I try to plan ahead for my weekly meals and like to know how many meals we would get out of this recipe. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi! I never measure when I make the sandwiches, but I put about 3/4 cup of filling on a sandwich. It makes about 6 or 7 sandwiches. Sorry that I can’t give you more exact measurements on it, but I hope that helps!

  2. Roslyn says

    Thanks so much for responding. We really enjoyed these and will definitely make again. I had never cooked with lentils before so I wasn’t sure what texture I was looking for (I was imagining lentil soup softness).

  3. Roslyn says

    The flavor is great, but after an hour, my lentils are still not soft. I used the biggest 12 in skillet I had, and the lid squashes down on it. I’ve stirred frequently. How soft are they supposed to get?

    • says

      They shouldn’t be crunchy, but they will still be firm at that point. If you have any other questions, just let me know!

  4. Brandi says

    I was so excited to try this. Except, I added 2 TABLESPOONS of liquid smoke! Argh. Isn’t a capital T for tablespoon and not teaspoon? I’m so disappointed.

      • Brandi says

        No, no, it was actually delicious! The pin on Pinterest actually says 2 teaspoons! That’s why I was concerned! Thank you for responding to clarify!

        • says

          Oh, ok! Well, I’m glad you liked it then! I just received another comment on another recipe. I’m not sure why Pinterest is listing different amounts, but if you ever have a question, please feel free to ask.

  5. Jamie @ Love Bakes Good Cakes says

    ha …. I love the idea of sneaking in some lentils :) I’m so pinning this! Thanks so much for sharing at last week’s All my Bloggy Friends – Linda and I look forward to seeing what you share this week! :)

    • kateheartseating says

      Thanks! It helps to stretch the meat and makes it more healthy. Thanks so much for hosting each week and for coming by!! =)

      • kateheartseating says

        Lentils are a type of bean, so you can find them with the other dried beans in the supermarket. I originally wrote the recipe for the crockpot but then changed it to the stovetop. I send you an email with the directions for making it in the crockpot if you would prefer to make it that way.

  6. says

    Love the recipe – shared on Google+ today !
    [email protected] A Blast recently posted…All My Bloggy Friends Link Party #47My Profile

  7. says

    Oh, what a fabulous idea & a delicious sounding recipe! I *love* sloppy joes but you can’t get all of the traditional ingredients here in the UK, so I really love the idea of this! I’ve pinned it to my Healthy Doesn’t Mean Yucky board :) I followed you here from the Memories by the Mile link party, by the way! Also, I’d like to invite you to come link up with me at my link party! I’d love it if you could stop by & link up some of your recipes! Here’s the link:
    Anyonita recently posted…2 Minute Nesquick Micro BrowniesMy Profile

    • kateheartseating says

      Indeed! A pound of lentils is a lot cheaper than a pound of ground beef these days! =)

    • kateheartseating says

      Indeed! A pound of lentils is a lot cheaper than a pound of ground beef these days!! =)

  8. says

    OMG. I am TOTALLY going to try these!! I am with you – sloppy joe’s are the bomb!! I’ve always loved them, too! I’ve never even thought about putting lentils in them. I want to make these and see if my boys notice, muahaha! Thanks for sharing! Pinning and can’t wait to try!

    Jen @ Yummy Healthy Easy
    Jen Nikolaus recently posted…Four-Ingredient Baked Russian ChickenMy Profile

    • kateheartseating says

      Aren’t they awesome?! For some reason I’ve been loving all of the lunch classics like sloppy joes and lunch lady peanut butter bars lately. I hope you all enjoy them!! =)

  9. Jill says

    What a beautiful picture and meal. I have become a legume-phile, adding legumes and spinach to nearly everything I make. I, too, loved those cafeteria SJs!!

    • kateheartseating says

      Thanks! I’m always looking for ways to add more healthy foods to our diet, so if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear your tips! =)

    • kateheartseating says

      I’m not sure what version of the recipe you can see. I originally wrote it for the slow cooker, but then I rewrote it as a stove top recipe. When I look at it, the recipe is the correct, new version, but I’ve been having trouble with older versions of things showing up on my blog. So, I need to look into that. I’ll email you the correct version since the wrong one is showing up.

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