Paleo Sloppy Joe

Let me tell you: this Paleo Sloppy Joe recipe certainly lives up to its namesake. It’s sweet, smoky, sticky, and finger-lickin’ good… but primarily because you’ll be licking your sticky fingers just to clean up the delicious mess!

Creating this recipe got me thinkin’: if there were a classic all-American food contest, I bet the humble Sloppy Joe would rank right up there next to fried chicken, hamburgers, and fries as one of the top winners. I mean, it even ORIGINATED in the United States! Can you get much more American than that??

But I promise, you can enjoy this version without feeling bloated, disgusting, and regretful afterward. It’s actually loaded with a variety of good-for-you veggies, and there’s positively nothing artificial about the sauce!

Paleo Sloppy Joe | Cook Like a Cavewoman! | Easy Paleo Recipes for Feel-Good Eating

Don’t let the length of the ingredient list scare you off, either. If you take a closer look, you’ll see it’s mostly just a bunch of spices that are all meant to commingle in a way that makes your taste buds dance! If you discover that you don’t have one or two of the spices, just leave it out and forge ahead… it’ll still probably taste darn good anyway!

I like the fact that a sloppy joe has the connotation of being an easy-to-throw-together-in-a-pinch type of meal. It de-stresses the dinner process! And even though this is much healthier than the sloppy-joe-in-a-can that you can buy on aisle 9 at your local grocery store, rest assured that this one is just as easy to make. Just a few minutes on the stove top, and…  wam, bam, thank you, ma’am… it’s done! You don’t have to compromise your health just to satisfy your tummy!

Paleo Sloppy Joe | Cook Like a Cavewoman! | Easy Paleo Recipes for Feel-Good Eating

I served mine on lettuce “buns” (just a couple of stacked romaine lettuce heart leaves), but you can certainly serve this on any homemade, Paleo-friendly sandwich bun or bread. I am actually working on a recipe for exactly that, since my fiancee really digs sandwiches, and this recipe makes a mean sammich! And even though I heart my lettuce wraps, you just can’t have a proper sandwich without a proper bun. In any event, it’ll make Mike happy to feel like he’s having a “real” bun every once in a while. So when I’ve got the recipe perfected, I’ll come back and link to it here! :)

This stuff also reheats really well over the next few days, so make yourself a big batch of it, and you can enjoy it for lunch.

Share your thoughts… what classic American dish tops your list of favorites?

5.0 from 2 reviews
Paleo Sloppy Joe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 3 to 4 sandwiches
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce [or (1) 15 oz. can]
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste [or (½) 6 oz. can]
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp ground mustard powder
  • 1 shake ground of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 large leaf of Romaine heat lettuce, per sloppy joe
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, coconut palm sugar, coconut aminos, mustard powder, ground cinnamon, liquid smoke, sea salt, and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Brown the ground beef and onions together in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the meat is brown, drain the excess fat and return meat/onion mixture to the pan.
  3. Stir in the red pepper, garlic, and jalapeno. Allow everything to cook for 5 minutes, stirring periodically.
  4. Stir in the prepared sloppy joe sauce, turn down the heat to low, and let everything simmer together for another 5 minutes.
  5. Scoop ¼ to ⅓ cup of sloppy joe mixture onto 1 romaine lettuce leaf (snapped in half and stacked on top of each other for strength), or any Paleo-friendly bun. Serve immediately!
  6. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

© Cook Like a Cavewoman! All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

7 Comments on Paleo Sloppy Joe

  1. Holy crap! Finally a sloppy Joe recipe that actually came out right! My variations were to include a shake of cumin, mix red and green peppers, I used splenda because I had nothing else, & used apple cider vinegar instead! Yum!! :)

  2. I’m Australian and have always been intrigued by the idea of sloppy joes the closest thing we have is savoury mince but I never liked the look of the typical sloppy joe recipe but this looks so much fresher and healthier, I used extra lean mince but no palm sugar

  3. This recipe is now a “go to” in my house! I’ve little modifications to how I cook it,but, I have to say It’s perfect just the way it is.

  4. Doubled the batch. Made some subs with what I had in pantry. Red wine=ACV, only had 1 tbs of coconut aminos=1/2 tsp extra liquid smoke.
    While cooking- furson sat next to stove literally dripping drool, enter non-paleo husband.
    Husband: *super serious, somewhat tantrum-esque* Where’s the Manwich cans?!
    Me: *act like I didnt hear*
    Result: we each ate 3 sandwiches, furson stuck with kibble but eagerly smelled our mouths after dinner.

    Definitely the best sloppy joes I’ve ever had. The recipe is a keeper. Can’t wait to make leftover sloppy joe pasta with it.

  5. I don’t recall Sloppy Joe’s ever being this delicious! This is a fabulous recipe with layers of flavor. And it’s versatile: having no bell peppers on hand, I found a jar of sauce that fit the bill perfectly. My husband is looking longingly at the rest of the mixture having claimed this to be the best recipe ever – and he’s not usually that expressive. Thank you!

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  1. Menu Plan Monday ~ May 18/15
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