This post featuring my gluten-free Sloppy Joe recipe contains affiliate links.
I haven’t had a Sloppy Joe in so long.
The last time I can recall eating one was maybe in elementary school, where Sloppy Joes were a staple lunch item.
Many people I know once enjoyed Sloppy Joes made with canned Manwich, which is basically a Sloppy Joe sauce in a can. While Manwich appears to be gluten-free (contains no gluten ingredients), the ingredient list includes high fructose corn syrup, regular corn syrup and sugar. That’s just too many sugary ingredients for me!
On top of that, I’d much rather make my own gluten-free Sloppy Joe recipe. This way I know exactly what ingredients are in it and I’ll know, for sure, that it’s totally gluten-free and contains only fresh and good for you ingredients!
When I stumbled across a recipe for Sloppy Joes in Meat on the Side, a terrific cookbook by Nikki Dinki, I found my dream recipe. It contained only fresh ingredients, could easily be converted to be gluten-free, and was infused with tons of vegetables.
History of Sloppy Joes
I turned to Wikipedia to learn that Sloppy Joes, or loose meat sandwiches, have origins in Sioux City, Iowa and were the creation of a chef named Joe. (Joe who, I do not know – I chuckled when I first read this!)
The key factors of a traditional Sloppy Joe are (a) using ground meat to create a “loose meat” filling, (b) as well as a tomato-based sauce.
Why I Love this Recipe
There are many reasons to love this recipe, but I’ll sum it up in a few key points:
Cooks Up Fast: You can make this gluten-free Sloppy Joe recipe in less than 30 minutes (more like 20 minutes), and that is tops in my book. On a busy weeknight, this is the perfect recipe.
Easy to Find Ingredients: All the ingredients in this recipe are, for the most part, naturally gluten-free and easy to find. You should be most careful shopping for Worcestershire sauce (look for gluten-free varieties like Lea and Perrins). If you don’t have molasses on hand, you can easily swap it for brown sugar.
Savory and Delicious: This gluten-free Sloppy Joe recipe is bursting with savory flavors that will totally satisfy you. Trust me, kids and parents alike will love this recipe, and it will quickly be in your dinnertime rotation (it is in rotation around here). I’ve made it at least six times before I even thought to take pictures and post it here!
Full of Vegetables: This recipe only calls for 1 lb of ground turkey and the rest of the ingredients are vegetables! I used 1 lb of mushrooms along with a full onion and green pepper. This recipe truly puts vegetables at the forefront… and guess what, you won’t taste the difference.
Try this Recipe Two Ways
I served my gluten-free Sloppy Joes on gluten-free buns by Canyon Bakehouse, but truth be told, I’m not much of a bread person. Gluten-free bread just isn’t the same as regular bread. (Although Canyon Bakehouse hamburger buns come the closest!)
So, when I make this recipe, I often deconstruct it and serve it over rice instead. Let’s just call it a Sloppy Joe rice bowl – or something like that. No one says Sloppy Joes HAVE to be served on a bun, right?
Gluten-Free Sloppy Joe Recipe
Are you ready to make this gluten-free Sloppy Joe recipe yourself? Below is everything you need to know. Good luck!
- 1 Tbsp. avocado oil
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1 lb. portobella mushrooms, stem discarded, finely chopped
- 1 small green pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1-2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
- 8 ounces jarred marinara sauce
- 3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (check for GF label)
- 2 Tbsp. molasses or 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. hot sauce
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 6 gluten-free hamburger buns or 2 cups cooked rice
Heat oil in large skillet pan over medium high heat.
Add ground turkey, breaking up meat, until cooked through (about five minutes).
Add mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms are cooked through and liquid is nearly gone, about 5-8 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and add bell pepper, onion, 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until vegetables are softened.
In a small bowl, combine marinara sauce, Worcestershire, molasses, vinegar, hot sauce, 1 tsp. salt and thyme.
Add sauce mixture to meat mixture and mix well. Allow mixture to cook over medium heat for an additional 5-8 minutes.
Spoon Sloppy Joe mixture onto gluten-free hamburger buns, or serve atop rice for a "deconstructed" version of this classic meal.