Sloppy joes make me think of 2 things; comfort and Adam Sandler. The former association makes perfect sense, sloppy joes are warm, saucy, spicy, and savory. Yum. The latter association is mostly due to this bizarre scene from Billy Madison. I don’t think I had ever eaten sloppy joes when I first saw this weird and creepy lunch lady, but after seeing her I assumed sloppy joes were nasty. I would have been happy to never try them because duh only potentially psychotic, in a “you’ll never guess what meat I used” kinda way, lunch lady would serve such slop.
Basically I was an idiot. It took me years to find this out but sloppy joes are at minimum satisfying and at best orgasmically delicious. I’m sure some of you turn your noses up at Manwich. Well don’t because that’s the worst it gets and it’s still glorious. But what’s great about sloppy joes is that there is really no version that will ever be pricey. The fanciest sloppy joes are still going to be a great bang for your buck pile of yummy saucy meat. Because sloppy joes really only require four ingredients; oil, ground meat, ketchup, and mustard.
Today, I wanted to give you guys a relatively healthy variation of this 1950s American classic, turkey sloppy joes with zucchini and habanero pepper. Turkey is less fatty and less salty (and thus less flavorful) than beef, but with the amount of goodness in this recipe you will not notice the difference. The habanero adds some much needed heat to this savory sweet stew, while the zucchini is in there for some bonus color and crunch. I’m looking out for y’all’s health…and then smothering it in ketchup and mustard and pouring it over the whitest possible white bread you can find, but hey I get some credit for the veg right?
Turkey Sloppy Joes with Zucchini
These Sloppy Joes feature a habanero kick and are made with turkey and zucchini (for some bonus crunch) so you can feel a little better about stuffing your face.
Clean and dice your onions, bell pepper, and habenero and add to an olive oil coated crock pot or pan on medium low heat. Cook until you can easily break a piece of pepper with a wooden spoon. ~5-10 minutes depending on if you're using a stove (faster) or crockpot (slower)
Add the meat and cook each side until brown, flipping as needed to cook any raw bits. ~5-8 minutes
Skim as much of the liquid fat as possible from the pan/crockpot. You could leave this in if you wish to refrigerate the meat before finishing it; the fridge will make skimming easier.
Pour in the ketchup and mustard, mixing thoroughly. If the meat seems too dry feel free to add more. You want the sloppy joes to be saucy when you serve them so don't skimp on the ketchup. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile clean and dice your zucchini. You want chunks to be just small enough to be in almost every bite but not too small that they turn to mush. The idea here is kicking up the crunch of your joes. Mix in thoroughly and cook for 2-3 more minutes, still on medium-low heat.
Taste your sloppy joes. Add pepper and your favorite hot sauce to taste. Serve on hamburger buns or tortillas or white bread with a tasty beer.