Eating for Life

Not your average Sloppy Joe

Food styling by JILL WENDHOLT SILVA/photo by JIM BARCUS/The Star
This Sloppy Joe recipe will bring memories but not unneccesary fat grams to the table. Our version uses lean ground turkey.

If a Super Bowl party is just another reason to let your New Year’s diet resolutions go, here’s a recipe to cheer about.

The Star’s Super Sloppy Joes are a lean mixture of ground round and ground turkey breast cooked with plenty of good-for-you veggies to add vitamins and fiber.

The Sloppy Joe dates to the Depression, an era when clever cooks routinely stretched meat by adding various savory fillers. The sandwich has long been a school cafeteria staple, and thanks to childhood nostalgia on the part of chefs it has also elbowed its way onto trendy New York restaurant menus. Traditionally, the dish has been made of ground beef, onion, peppers and ketchup cooked in a skillet, although recipes using tofu can also be found online.

In our version, the simple addition of canned tomato sauce adds a healthy dose of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that is found in greater supply when cooked than in its fresh form. Serve the mixture on a split whole-wheat bun.

Where did the Sloppy Joe get its name?

According to The Dictionary of American Food and Drink (Hearst Books) by John F. Mariani: “There is probably no Joe after whom it is named — but its rather messy appearance and tendency to drip off plate or roll makes ‘sloppy’ an adequate description, and ‘Joe’ is an American name of proletarian character and unassailable genuineness.”

Mariani notes there are many individual and regional variations on the dish. If you prefer “Roseanne” reruns to football, you may have heard of Sloppy Joe’s regional cousin, the “loose meat” sandwich.

Cooking tip: To quickly peel tomatoes, slash a shallow X on the bottom. Drop the tomato into boiling water for 5 seconds, then transfer to a bowl of ice water and let stand about 1 minute.

Pump it up: Instead of serving Super Sloppy Joes with chips or fries, opt for a raw veggie platter. Then skip the soda and opt for a low-cal beverage.

Super Sloppy Joe

Makes 6 servings

1/2 pound 85 percent lean ground round

1/2 pound ground turkey breast

3/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup finely chopped carrot

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

1/4 cup finely chopped red or green pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup ketchup

1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

2 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped (about 1/2 cup chopped)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

6 whole-wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted

Sliced dill pickles, optional

Cook ground beef, ground turkey breast, onion, carrot, celery, green pepper and garlic in large, nonstick skillet, over medium-high heat until meat is fully cooked, stirring frequently to crumble meat. Drain and return to skillet. Add ketchup, tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder and brown sugar. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. Spoon onto toasted buns and top, if desired, with sliced pickles.

Per serving: 349 calories (26 percent from fat), 10 grams total fat (6 grams saturated), 50 milligrams cholesterol, 41 grams carbohydrates, 25 grams protein, 469 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber.

Recipes developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss.

Food styling by JILL WENDHOLT SILVA/photo by JIM BARCUS/The Star