Mom’s sloppy joes – simply the best

Sloppy Joes

Mom's sloppy joes, May 2012

With Mother’s Day just behind us, chances are, like me, you’ve been thinking about all the things your mom did for you…including cooking. And you probably have a few favorite dishes Mom made that you think are the best. That’s how it is with my mom’s sloppy joes. Her recipe is simple without any frills, unlike some recipes that have extras or variations such as green peppers or Southwest, Asian, or Italian seasonings.

I don’t know what makes this recipe so good, it just is, even with the different types of ketchup I’ve used over the years (Heinz, Hunt’s, and organic brands like Muir GlenAnnie’s, and Organicville, which is made with agave nectar).

If you’re gluten-intolerant, the ingredients in this sloppy joe recipe, including ketchup, are likely to be gluten-free, but check labels to make sure. Some people have suggested that distilled white vinegar contains gluten since it’s made from grains, but in truth the gluten has been distilled out.

For the ground beef, I like to use grass-fed, which has little extra fat and healthful omega-3 oils.

Serve the meat on fresh, warmed hamburger buns, with chips and a dill pickle on the side. The buns in the picture are Rudi’s Organic 100% whole wheat, because the meal was with friends who don’t need to eat gluten-free.

I made this recipe for friends because it’s so good and I was craving Mom’s sloppy joes. However, my husband is intolerant of onion and avoids tomato, which is inflammatory, so I made him a version of an Iowa favorite, a “loosemeat sandwich.” (Recipe to come if I can perfect it.) When I need to serve gluten-free buns, I like Udi’s Whole Grain Hamburger Buns.

Simple Sloppy Joes
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (distilled white or apple cider)
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar (raw sugar is OK)
  1. In a medium skillet over medium to medium-high heat, brown the ground beef. Drain extra fat if necessary.
  2. Add the onion and cook a minute or two longer. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Simmer 30 minutes and serve on warmed hamburger buns.
Serving size: 4 1/2 ounces. Calories: 183; Fat: 5g; Saturated fat: 2g; Unsaturated fat: 0g; Carbohydrates: 10g; Sugar: 9g; Fiber: 0g; Protein: 24g; Cholesterol: 67mg.


Shared at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

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4 Responses to “Mom’s sloppy joes – simply the best”

  1. ann (your sister) says:

    I think I need to add that to this week’s menu! They really ARE the best! Thanks Mom!

  2. Pam says:

    This is nearly exactly the same as my husband’s Mom’s recipe except that her’s uses a small amount of CLOVE. Sounds weird but it makes it taste great! She also adds one green pepper.

    Her’s, I think, was from Betty Crocker.

    Sloppy Joes rock.

    • Eileen Beran says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if my mom’s was from Betty Crocker. She used that cookbook a lot. I can’t imagine clove–a great secret ingredient.

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