Messy Joes


Who really likes the word “sloppy” when it comes to food, anyway?  It makes me think of a lunch lady and hair net and a big scoop of God knows what on a compartmentalized plate.  If you tell me your serving me slop for dinner… sorry, but peace out folks.  In the case of the “sloppy joe” sandwich I think I’d prefer to call it messy.  Messy as in you take a bite and the sweet, savory, saucy filling comes slightly oozing out of the other end.  And then some of the juice may run down your arm.  And you might need a couple of extra napkins for your face.  Absolutely my kind of sandwich and this recipe will put that ridiculous can on the shelf to shame; both in taste and nutrition.  Your family will thank you 🙂

Messy Joes

adapted from Gourmet, October 2007


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Large Onion, chopped

2 Medium Carrots, chopped

5 Garlic Cloves, chopped

1 1/2 Pounds Ground Beef

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

1 1/2 Tablespoons Chili Powder

1 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin

1 Teaspoon Sweet Paprika

1/2 Cup Dry Red Wine

15 Ounce Can Crushed or Pureed Tomatoes

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

2 Tablespoons Honey

2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

Whole Grain Rolls, for serving


Heat olive oil in a heavy, large skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion and carrots and sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add beef and garlic and cook until the beef browned, stirring often, about 5 minutes.  Add salt, pepper,  chili powder, cumin and paprika and cook for 1 additional minute. Add wine, tomatoes, worcestershire, honey and balsamic and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to a heavy simmer/light boil and let the mixture simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Serve on whole grain rolls.  Serves 4-6.

3 thoughts on “Messy Joes

  1. These were delicious! My husband didn’t even mind that I snuck in carrots and onions 🙂 Definitely on my frequent-recipe list. They freeze well too!

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