Hidden Veggie Sloppy Joes for the Win

Hidden Veggie Sloppy Joes for the Win


When you have picky children and still want to eat healthy family meals, you get creative with how to present the veggies. One of the easiest ways is to puree and blend into sides, soups, sauces, smoothies and other dishes. Here are some of my favorites:

  • cauliflower mashed potatoes
  • butternut squash mac and cheese
  • sweet potato chili
  • avocado egg salad
  • eggplant spaghetti
  • carrot and bell pepper sloppy joes
  • .

  1. Get a Vitamix (or another high-quality blender). It’s the best investment for your kitchen AND your health. There is rarely a day that goes by without using my Vitamix. I have one of the older models but the newest one even has a separate attachment to make single serving smoothies and smaller portions.
  2. Have fresh produce on hand. One of my biggest annoyances is food waste. If I have fresh fruit and veggies on hand, I WILL find a way to use them. Our family favorite is sweet potatoes and bell peppers.
  3. Have an inspiration source such as a magazine subscription, blog or Pinterest board for your healthy family meal ideas. I happen to love the Cooking Light magazine and try several new recipes per month just from this magazine alone.
  4. When you do find a kid approved/family favorite meal, add it to your regular made meal planning schedule. Kids especially love routine. There’s nothing wrong with having the same meal every week if your kids love it and it’s a healthy choice!
  5. Don’t be afraid to experiment. I love to make different smoothies with whatever fruit/veggies I have on hand and usually these are easy kid pleasers. Use natural sweeteners like honey, agave, or dates and you have a super healthy snack.

Ok now for the recipe part: What kid doesn’t like sloppy joes?? But the typical recipes are loaded with sugar and sodium. I found a recipe from the December issue of Cooking Light and adapted slightly:

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ½ small yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot or handful of snack size carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Whole-wheat hamburger buns or flat sandwich rounds

Instructions: Brown the turkey over high heat, breaking it up as it cooks. Season with salt and drain if liquid is visible. While turkey browns, add tomato sauce, water, ketchup, onion, bell pepper, carrot, garlic, mustard and Worcestershire sauce in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour over the browned meat and stir well. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Serve over buns with your favorite toppings. Healthy note For an even healthier option, you could serve this over a potato or sweet potato rather than a bun.

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