Saucy, messy, flavorful homemade Turkey Sloppy Joes are a family favorite. Best of all though? It’s a quick and easy recipe, perfect for any night.
This morning, my son Will was getting ready for school with a book in his hand. The book? “White Fang” by Jack London.
I had to smile. Will has many of my childhood books (that’s one of them) in addition to his own collection. And he is constantly reading something. It warms my word-loving heart.
I’m fortunate to have two kids who love to read. Will, who’s 10, devours book after book after book. Sometimes, when he’s read everything he wants to, he goes back and rereads favorites — I think he’s read everything Rick Riordan has ever written. Twice.
Paige, who’s 8, has until recently preferred quicker reads — ones that she can finish in a single reading. Though she’s read longer books like “Little House on the Prairie,” the much shorter “A to Z Mysteries” books are a favorite. However, when she discovered the Harry Potter series, she was happy to dive into books that take days — instead of minutes — to read.
Though I sometimes try to steer my kids toward more challenging (and interesting) reading material when purchasing new books, I try to stay hands off on their reading choices. For awhile, I was a little worried that Paige was reading below her reading level and refusing to take on more challenging books. But, despite expressing my concerns to her, I stood back and let her read what she wanted. And when she found the books that made her want to read more challenging stories, she did.
Ultimately, it’s not what they’re reading so much as the fact that they are. Classics, newer stuff, award-winners, comics, graphic novels, nonfiction … it’s all part of being a reader. I’m really glad that lesson has finally sunk in for me because it makes me so infinitely happy seeing my kids absolutely adore books.
Of course, this means that in our house, books are everywhere. On the tables, next to the couch and the beds, in the kitchen … we love them. And it shows. But I am okay with that.
To me, books are comfort food for the soul.
And dishes like this Sloppy Joe? They’re comfort food for the belly — but probably not the kind to dig into while reading. It’s a little too messy for that.
These veggie-laced ground turkey Sloppy Joes have a quick, homemade barbecue-ish sauce. But don’t let that scary you off: these are super easy and quick to make, and the results can’t be beat. As a sandwich, it’s flavorful and appropriately messy — just as a Sloppy Joe should be.
I like these served on pretzel rolls, which our local supermarket sells. Heat them up a little in the oven, and then pile it on. They’re rugged enough to stand up to the messy filling and just bold enough to add to the overall flavor. And they’re so easy to hold too.
But they can also be good on onion rolls — or so I hear from an onion roll lover in my life. Or whatever flavorful, hearty bun you want to use.
Homemade Turkey Sloppy Joes
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 green bell pepper , finely diced
- 1 shallot , finely diced
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 6- oz can tomato paste
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp molasses
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- salt and pepper , to taste
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the green bell pepper, shallot and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Push the vegetable mixture to one side of the pan. Add the ground turkey and cook, stirring constantly while also breaking it into small pieces, until browned all the way through. Drain off any excess fat.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, vegetable stock, apple cider vinegar, light brown sugar and molasses. Pour over the turkey mixture and stir to combine.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 5-10 minutes. Taste, season with salt and pepper as desired, and enjoy.
- This is great served on onion or pretzel rolls.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.