My attitude towards childhood dishes usually falls into one of two polar categories: nostalgic adoration or absolute repulsion. Sloppy joes are in the latter category, which is why I’m not entirely certain what motivated me to make Greek Crock Pot Sloppy Joes in the first place. A desire for redemption? Morbid curiosity? The challenge of creating a healthy sloppy joe recipe that I would legitimately adore?
Whatever pushed me down the crock pot sloppy joe recipe path, I am forever grateful.
In keeping with life’s reliable sense of humor, a recipe I feared would turn out to be ho-hum at best—or a re-creation of childhood dinners I tried to hide in my napkin at worst—turned out to be the biggest dinner hit at our house in weeks.
In place of the soggy ketchup and bland ground beef affair that I suspect turned me off to sloppy joes in the first place, this healthier crock pot sloppy joe recipe uses:
- lean ground turkey
- homemade tomato sauce sweetened with a touch of honey instead of sugar
I never thought “vibrant,” “healthy,” or especially “delicious” would be terms I’d ever use to describe a sloppy joe, but these simple sammies are all of the above!
Crock Pot Sloppy Joes with a Hefty Dose of Healthy
I knew I wanted to enliven the turkey sloppy joes’ flavor with bright ingredients and textures, and my inspiration turned Greek.
Like my Greek Stuffed Peppers, classic Mediterranean spices such as nutmeg and oregano, as well as crisp veggies such as red bell pepper and red onion, lend themselves beautifully to the tomato-based sloppy joe filling.
The addition of chickpeas keeps with the Greek theme and makes the filling more interesting and hearty. Because chickpeas are inexpensive, adding them to the mix gives you extra sandwich bang for your buck, too.
Combine the freshness and flavor of turkey sloppy joes with the ease of the slow cooker, and you have a healthy weeknight dinner that’s worth returning to again and again.
I finished my Greek crock pot sloppy joes with a sprinkle of fresh feta and sliced cucumbers, while Ben preferred sliced avocado.
His version wasn’t especially Greek, but considering he shares similar sloppy joe childhood baggage and loved this recipe anyway, I wasn’t about to stop him.
Alternate Names for Healthy Sloppy Joes
After eating crock pot sloppy joes for three meals in a row, we both decided that the name “sloppy joe” wasn’t an enthusiastic enough description for how good they truly taste. Acceptable alternate names:
- Greek Ground Turkey Chickpea Sandwiches
- Freeform Greek Turkey Burgers
- Ultra Tasty Greek Hot Mess with Feta and Other Mediterranean Goodness
More Lightened-Up Childhood Favorites
- Apple Grilled Cheese with Turkey, Cheddar, and Apple Butter
- Campfire Recipe: Cheesy Ham and Pineapple Sandwich
Whatever name you give these crock pot sloppy joes, I hope they are as much of a success at your table as they were at ours.
Also, if you have any other childhood dishes you think need a makeover, feel free to share them! Ben told me he’d stage a protest if I attempted a healthy meatloaf makeover, but I’m loving the look of Becca’s Low Carb Slow Cooker Meatloaf recipe.
Greek Crock Pot Sloppy Joes
For the Greek Turkey Sloppy Joes:
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground turkey I used 93% lean
- 1 cup chopped red onion about 1 small/medium onion
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 red bell pepper chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 can reduced-sodium chickpeas (14.5 ounces), rinsed and drained
- 1 can tomato sauce (15 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 8 whole wheat hamburger buns toasted if desired
- 6 ounces reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese
- Sliced cucumber
- Coat a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the turkey and onion and cook, breaking up the meat, until the meat is cooked through and the onion is tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, and black pepper and cook just until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.
- To the slow cooker, add the bell pepper, chickpeas, tomato sauce, tomato paste, honey, oregano, and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, until the vegetables are soft, the filling is hot, and the flavors are well combined.
- To serve: Spoon the mixture onto the bottom of a hamburger bun. Top with feta, sliced cucumber, and the top bun. Enjoy immediately.
- Know thy slow cooker! Every slow cooker is different, so if yours tends to cook food more slowly/quickly, adjust the cooking time accordingly. It’s always better to check early than to have food dry out. Additionally, a smaller slow cooker (4-quart) is likely to take longer than a large (6-quart) one because the food is more compact in a smaller model.
- I have not yet tried cooking this recipe on high heat, but I think that, because the meat is cooked before, this would work fine. I would estimate the filling would be done in about 2 hours on high.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stove.
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Dear Erin, thank you for this version of Sloppy Jones: definitely worth of trying. I wish you have a pleasant day !
Thank you! I hope you enjoy the recipe!
who would have thought – this is just brilliant!
Thanks so much, Dixya!
I adore me some sloppy joes, but this updated version is on point!! LOVE!!
Thanks Lauren! :)
These look incredible! I’ve never had a sloppy Joe—my mom never made them when I was growing up, but I was such a picky eater I doubt I would have touched them even if she had. If this is my first sloppy Joe experience, I think I’ll be ruined for the normal ones (totally ok with that)!
Speaking of meatloaf, Corndance in Mishawaka has a fantastic bison meatloaf as a special sometimes. Meatloaf has never appealed to me, but that was a darn good meal.
Thank you, Katie! These will *definitely* ruin you for the normal ones. ;) And thanks for the tip about that bison meatloaf!
Wow, Erin – these Sloppy Joes look fabulous!!! I love the different ingredients you used that make these look so tasty! I know my family would devour these! xo
I love chickpeas! This looks good.
These sound so yummy and hearty! What a perfect weeknight meal. I love the addition of chickpeas!
Sloppy Joes with chickpeas – these look fantastic
This is DEFINITELY a chance for redemption for sloppy joes! These look amazing, Erin! :)
Wow that is a revelation for sloppy joes (:
These were great and my husband loved them! The only thing i would change next time is i would double the spices because the flavour was hard to notice.
Whoooo hoooo! Thanks so much Angela. I’m so glad you loved the recipe. And yes, you can definitely add more spice if you’d like to kick it up a notch.
I made these last night …..delicious!!! Rather than using my crock pot, I used my stove-top for the entire recipe. I had a bottle of Marina sauce on hand so used it rather than the tomato sauce. This will be a dish I’ll make again. Thanks Erin!!!!!
I am so happy to hear that Teresa! Thanks so much for trying the recipe and for taking time to stop back by and leave this review. It means so much to me and is really helpful to others too!
I made these tonight and they were SO delicious! Such great flavor and so simple. We served it over quinoa. This recipe is definitely going into the weeknight dinner rotation! ?
Thank you so much, Erin! Quinoa is a great idea. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for taking the time to leave this wonderful review!
Very good recipe! Simple and filling. I always find anything made in the slow cooker a little too liquid-y to have as a sandwich. Ended up eating my leftovers (which are even better) over roasted sweet potato with feta.
Thanks, Alison! Serving this over sweet potatos sounds DELICIOUS. Thank you for taking the time to leave this review!
This was amazing! I loaned out my slow cooker so I had to make it on the stove top and let it simmer for about an hour, but it was delicious! I served it over quinoa and sprinkled just a little feta on top = perfection. Adding to my rotation!
Awesome, Stef! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you so much for stopping by to share your feedback!
Definitely one of my most favorite meals now!
THANK YOU Annick! I am so happy and excited to hear it. Thanks for taking time to leave this kind review. I appreciate it more than I can say!
Erin, would you have any recs on trying this in the instant pot?
Hi Victoria, I haven’t tried this in the Instant Pot myself, but I would definitely brown the meat first using the sauté setting. Similar recipes I found cooked for between 5 to 10 minutes on high pressure—I’m not sure of the exact timing since I haven’t done it myself, but I definitely think it’s doable!
Awesome recipe. I am going to try this soon with my wife. Thanks for sharing
I hope you love it James!
I made this on a whim tonight after searching your site for a ground turkey recipe. It was a hit with all 3 of us (picky 2 year old and skeptical husband included). Thanks so much for being a reliable website for great family weeknight recipes!
I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Erin! Thank you for sharing this kind review!