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. 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
- BLT Grilled Cheese
- Avocado Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Herbed Goat Cheese and Garlic
- Peanut Butter Banana Toast with Granola and Honey
- Lightened Up Grinder Sandwiches
- Sriracha Crab Salad Rolls
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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