No fighting your family to eat these veggies.
These Hidden Veggie Sloppy Joe Sandwiches are the perfect family dinner option. Bonus: It freezes well too!
While we’re all about exposing our family to real food and lots of veggies, there are times when tucking ingredients into foods they already enjoy can go a long way. These sandwiches are loved by our entire family, both kids and adults, and allow everyone to get in an extra serving of vegetables in the process.
Pureeing your carrots or sweet potatoes
Pureeing food is a simple, incognito way to add just about any fruit, veggie or protein into a meal so that your picky eaters won’t complain. In addition to an array of other nutrient-dense ingredients, this recipe sneaks in a little extra nourishment by using pureed carrots or sweet potatoes.
If pureeing your own veggies: Steam or boil your carrots or sweet potatoes ahead of time. Once softened, puree them in the food processor with a tablespoon or two of water (just enough to blend into a smooth puree). If you plan on pureeing your carrots or sweet potatoes and making your sauce immediately after, there’s no need to wash the food processor between pureeing and making the sauce. Simply scoop out the puree, add the pre-measured sauce ingredients below and blend. Voilà, you just saved yourself a step!
If using canned: To make things easier, we’ve also used canned sweet potato puree and/or jarred carrot puree (check the baby food isle) and have been successful. The only ingredient listed should be sweet potato or carrot.
How do you prepare the sauce?
This recipe comes together easily in a food processor or high-powered blender; it ensures that the ingredients are blended into a thick, creamy sauce. Yes, it requires a little extra washing but the outcome is well worth it and there’s always the option of sticking your dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
If you have a busy week ahead, prep one or two batches of sauce on meal prep day. We often do this and freeze the extra sauce in a large mason jar for future meals.
This is a GREAT recipe to make a double batch with! Serve one for dinner this week and stash the other in the freezer as a future meal.
Can I use ground chicken or beef in this recipe?
You can easily swap the turkey for chicken or beef without drastically affecting the flavor of the dish. You may need to slightly increase the cook time if using ground beef.
One great thing about this meal is how simple it is to puree and serve as baby food.
Did you know that babies and children need iron for their brain to develop normally? Until I (Kalie) had my daughter Isla, I had no idea just how important iron was in a child’s development. Toward the end of her first year, as I weaned her off of breast milk and transitioned her to more of a solid food diet, I had to come up with unique ways to boost her iron levels. I began offering her foods, like this Sloppy Joe recipe, that were naturally rich in iron, rather than iron-fortified foods.
This homemade recipe has tons of flavor, is packed with protein and uses meat and mushrooms, which are both naturally rich in iron and essential nutrients. It’s flexible enough that you can mix it with any fruit or veggie combination you want. It was such a hit with Isla that I now batch cook, puree and portion it out into jars. I freeze the extra for future meals and serve her Hidden Veggie Sloppy Joe puree with a variety of foods such as scrambled eggs, pureed broccoli and mashed potatoes.
To make this recipe a puree, simply follow the directions below and after the meat has been cooked and cooled, transfer it to a blender or food processor and puree until you reach your desired consistency.
Ways to re-invent your leftovers
- In a grilled wrap with pickles, sprouts, mustard and Swiss
- On Taco Tuesday (holà tacos and taco salads!)
- On an open-faced sandwich
- Mixed in with shell pasta and a little cheddar and cottage cheese
- In FfL’s California Burger Bowl
- Plain out of a bowl
- In a stuffed pepper
- Mixed in with eggs and served with toast for a well-rounded breakfast
- In a quesadilla with shredded cheese and topped with salsa and plain Greek yogurt
If you made these Hidden Veggie Sloppy Joe Sandwiches, please leave a comment below sharing what you served it with and how your picky eater responded to it. We love hearing from you and your ideas inspire us all!Print
If you’re looking for the perfect family-friendly dinner, these Hidden Veggie Sloppy Joe Sandwiches are for you. With the texture you would expect from a traditional sloppy joe, but the nutrition of two types of veggies, your entire family will love these sandwiches.
Hidden Veggie Sauce:
- 1/2 cup carrot or sweet potato puree
- 1 cup mushrooms
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 4 ounces (canned) tomato sauce (not spaghetti sauce)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
- 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (yields mild heat)
- In a high-powered blender or food processor, combine all sauce ingredients. Blend until all ingredients are pureed into a sauce.
- In a medium-large saucepan, heat EVOO on medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes. Crumble meat into pan, add salt and pepper and brown meat for 5 minutes.
- Add sauce to meat mixture and simmer on medium-low for 6-8 minutes, until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and serve on buns, lettuce cups or as is. If desired, add some freshly grated cheese on top and let it stand (or cover it with a lid) for 2-3 minutes until cheese has melted.
Simmering the sauce really helps the mushrooms cook through and makes them less detectable.
When serving this dish, we like to toast our buns. This adds flavor and prevents the buns from getting soggy. You can gently toast your buns in the oven until warm or grill them on each side in a pan (about 1-2 minutes) over medium heat.
Always check for FfL-friendly ingredients.
We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
Keywords: Sloppy Joe, Hidden Veggie, Hidden Veggie Sloppy Joe