Back To School Lunches: Making A Healthy Sloppy Joe

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Heidi Lang, chef and owner of the Fig Cooking School in Hamden, will be visiting the Fox CT kitchen all week to show you how to spice up your child’s lunch and give them something different when they head back to school.

On Tuesday, Lang prepared a healthy sloppy joe sandwich. Here’s the recipe:

Sneaky Sloppy Joes

One of the best ways to get a child to eat something healthy is to hide it! This is a deceptively healthy recipe chock full of carrots, cauliflower and peppers. Your children will love this messy and delicious dish and will have no idea how nutritious it is!


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup each pureed carrots and pureed cauliflower*
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste


  1. Heat oil in a 6 to 8 quart pot.
  2. Add the onions and peppers. Cook for about 10 minutes until the onions are just beginning to brown.
  3. Add the ground beef, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well and cook until the meat is fully browned and none of it is red.
  4. Add the tomato sauce and dark brown sugar and mix well.
  5. Add the carrots, cauliflower, ketchup and tomato paste and stir well again.
  6. Cook covered on a low heat for five minutes until all the ingredients are heated through.
  7. Serve on a whole wheat or potato bun with fun crudités on the side. Your little ones will be thrilled!

* Pureed carrots and cauliflower are very easy to prepare. Slice three medium carrots and place in boiling water for 20 minutes until soft. Remove the carrots and puree in a mini-food processor until smooth. For the cauliflower, place two cups of cauliflower cut into florets in boiling water. Cook for 10-15 minutes until once again the vegetables are soft and puree until smooth. Place any leftover puree in small freezer safe bags or in small containers and freeze for future use.

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