High Fiber Sloppy Joe’s for Kids

August 30, 2021

I have to admit that I didn’t eat sloppy Joe’s until I was an adult. Mostly because I thought the only to have them was from a can and I was just not okay with that. I definitely ate fewer things as a kid/teen, and canned meats wasn’t something that was on our regular menu. Years after I got married and had Charlie, Carver asked why I didn’t make them and that led me down a black hole on Pinterest. I ultimately found a recipe that was ‘okay’ but definitely needed some adjustments to better meet the flavor preferences of my boys.

The recipe has been fine tuned and has lived in Busy Mom Meal Prep for over a year now, but I’m sharing it with you now too. It’s such a favorite that I know will be a great back pocket recipe for your family. I love that it’s easy and freezer friendly. It’s also part plant protein (yay lentils!!!), part animal protein so it helps with those wanting to eat less meat and those who aren’t ready to give up meats.

High Fiber Sloppy Joe’s For Kids

High Fiber Sloppy Joe


1 cup water 

1 cup vegetable broth

1 cup green lentils, well rinsed


3 Tbsp olive or avocado oil

1 medium white or yellow onion, minced

1 pound ground turkey

4 cloves garlic, minced (2 cloves yield ~1 Tbsp)

1 medium red bell pepper, diced

1 medium zucchini, diced

Sea salt and black pepper (to taste)

28-ounce can tomato sauce

2 Tbsp brown sugar 

2-3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

3 tsp chili powder 

2 tsp ground cumin 

1/2 tsp paprika (optional)


whole-wheat hamburger buns

  1. To a small saucepan, add liquid (I used 1 cup water, 1 cup vegetable broth for added flavor) and rinsed lentils and heat over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 18 minutes, or until tender. The water should have a constant simmer (not boil). Drain off any excess liquid and set aside.
  3. In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, turkey, onion, garlic, zucchini and bell pepper. Use potato masher to break down into bite sized pieces. Season with a pinch each salt and pepper and stir to combine. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the meat is no longer pink and the peppers and onions are tender and slightly browned.
  4. Next add tomato sauce, coconut sugar, vegan Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin, and paprika (optional). Stir to combine.
  5. Once the lentils are cooked, add them to the skillet as well, and stir to combine.
  6. Continue cooking the mixture over medium-low heat until completely warmed through and thick, stirring occasionally – about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more chili powder and/or cumin for smokiness, salt for saltiness, sugar for sweetness, or Worcestershire for depth of flavor.
  8. Serve the mixture on toasted buns with sliced onion. Best when fresh, though leftover sloppy joe mixture will keep in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days, or in the freezer for 1 month. Reheat in the microwave, or on the stovetop, adding water or vegetable broth if the mixture has dried out.
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