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"Doin It Right" Cuban Inspired Turkey Sloppy Joes

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Cuban inspired Turkey Sloppy Joes - A Cuban twist on an American classic comfort sandwich meal. These sloppy joes are full of flavor and personality thanks to a kicked-up spicy ketchup!

 turkey sloppy joes on a plate

This version of the sloppy joe was inspired by Cuban fritas burgers I had at an Ann Arbor, Michigan spot called Frita Batidos which served Cuban inspired street food. The food was simple and bold! The vibe and flavors stuck with me and was the catalyst to explore Cuban cuisine and flavors beyond my previous exposure. 

I got boojee kids, and when your kids live way better than you ever did, there are times when you question whether you're doin this adulting thing right. About once a month I have to introduce my kids to humble grub from my childhood whether it’s fried bologna sandwiches or fried spam and cheese, just so they know and have some appreciation. 

MOOD MUSIC

What is a sloppy Joe?

I won’t presume that everyone has had a sloppy Joe or it’s store-bought cousin - “a manwich meal.” If the manwich meal reference has you wondering wtf, then google it or search on Youtube. Sloppy Joe is basically ground meat, cooked in a tomato-ish sauce and served on hamburger buns. It’s simple, and if done right tastes like magic. For this dish, I used a doctored up ketchup or spicy ketchup if you will, that had those Cuban flavors I fell in love with in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

TURKEY SLOPPY JOE INGREDIENTS

turkey sloppy joe ingredients on a tray

  • Ground turkey
  • Garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Bell peppers
  • Cuban Ketchup - this is your store-bought ketchup doctored up with spices
  • Water
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Hamburger Buns
  • Sliced Pickles

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.

Add the ground turkey and brown. Using a wooden spoon to break up the turkey into smaller pieces. Remove the turkey and drain in a bowl lined with paper towels.

ground turkey cooking in a skillet

Wipe the skillet, bring back to medium-low heat, add some more oil and saute the garlic, onions, and peppers for 3-4 minutes.

vegetables cooking in pan

Add the browned ground turkey back to the skillet and mix well with the vegetables. Add ketchup, water, and Worcestershire sauce to the ground turkey mix, stir, and simmer 10-15 minutes.

ground turkey and vegetables cooking in pan

Serve on buns with pickles and a side of chips

turkey sloppy joes on a plate

RECIPE TIPS AND CONSIDERATIONS

Season the ground turkey with salt and pepper before cooking.

Toast your buns before topping them with sloppy Joe mix, otherwise, those buns will get soggy real quick.

It’s called a sloppy joe, so don’t cook so long and at too high a temperature that you overcook and dry out the sauce. If not you’ll end up with an adjective that doesn’t work as good as “sloppy” - clean joe, neat joe, fancy joe!

Use your imagination for bun selection or don’t! I do highly recommend a brioche bun if you have easy access

For crockpot sloppy joes be sure to brown the meat first

Brown the meat on high heat for more texture. At high heat levels you get more of that crustiness!

Typically recipes call for ground beef. However, ground pork, chicken or turkey can all be used. The latter two are a bit healthier. I’ve seen chorizo thrown in as well. I opted for the turkey in this version. Don’t sweat the flavor concerns with turkey. The sauce is so boss so there is plenty of flavors to go around and then some.

sloppy joes in a pan

sloppy joes on a plate

As long as you don’t top the buns with any of the filling you’re cool. Feel free to make the filling ahead of time and refrigerate. The extra time will actually make the dish tastier. Just make sure you reheat properly. Avoid the microwave and either use a crockpot or simmer slowly in a saucepan.

The filling makes for a great topping for French fries, rice, pasta, or hot dogs. If you want to reserve extra for leftovers, be sure to add a bit of water or stock to get more of the sloppiness!

For my own consumption, it’s strictly the sauce, ground meat, diced onions, and bell peppers. But if you want it your way consider adding pickles and/or fresh herbs. My recipe calls for a doctored up ketchup, but feel free to use other flavor boosts to your sauce. Different spices or red wine can easily take things up a level.

MORE RECIPES

Beef Neckbones Sandwich

Hot Shrimp Sandwich

Grilled Cheese with Andouille

Cuban Picadillo

Ropa Vieja

Cuban Avocado Salad

Grilled BLT Sandwich

Make These Cuban Inspired Sloppy Joes

If you make these comforting and delicious turkey sloppy joes please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.

turkey sloppy joes on a plate

Cuban Sloppy Joes

Cuban inspired Turkey Sloppy Joes - A Cuban twist on an American classic comfort sandwich meal. These turkey sloppy joes are full of flavor and personality thanks to a kicked up spicy ketchup!
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Calories: 1281kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • pound  ground turkey
  • cloves  garlic  minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 2 cups Cuban Ketchup
  • ¼ cup water
  • tablespoons  Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Hamburger buns
  • Sliced pickles

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.
  • Add ground turkey and brown. Use a wooden spoon to break up the turkey into smaller pieces. Remove turkey and drain in a bowl lined with paper towels.
  • Wipe the skillet, bring back to medium-low heat, add some more oil and saute the garlic, onions, and peppers for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the browned ground turkey back to the skillet and mix well with the vegetables.
  • Add ketchup, water, and Worcestershire sauce to ground turkey mix, stir, and simmer 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve on hamburger buns or rolls with sliced pickles on top.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Toast your buns before topping them with sloppy Joe mix, otherwise, those buns will get soggy real quick.
  • It’s called a sloppy joe, so don’t cook so long and at too high a temperature that you over cook and dry out the sauce. If not you’ll end up with an adjective that don’t work as good as “sloppy” - clean joe, neat joe, fancy joe!
  • Use your imagination for bun selection or don’t! I do highly recommend a birch bun if you have easy access
  • For crockpot sloppy joes be sure to brown the meat first
  • Brown the meat on high heat for more texture. At high heat levels you get more of that crust!

Nutrition

Calories: 1281kcal | Carbohydrates: 151g | Protein: 116g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 249mg | Sodium: 7213mg | Potassium: 3498mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 117g | Vitamin A: 6302IU | Vitamin C: 184mg | Calcium: 147mg | Iron: 8mg
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Recipe Rating




Cindy

Monday 1st of February 2021

This recipe is packed with flavor. The sauce!! Just looking at your photos makes me drool. It tasted really good, and I'm looking forward to making it again.

Jo

Sunday 31st of January 2021

Love the turkey sloppy joes version. It makes me drool. Great way to use up ground turkey meat!

Marissa

Sunday 31st of January 2021

Uhh, yes please! I'm a diehard sloppy joe's fan and I love Cuban flavors. I just took a peek at your spicy ketchup recipe to make sure I have all the ingredients I need to make this happen in the next few days I'm only missing the molasses so I might just sub that with brown sugar for the sake of convenience. Can't wait to try this!

Naiby

Sunday 31st of January 2021

Mmm! Those flavors in the sauce must be amazing. I don't know if I can find Cuban ketchup in my part of town, but I'll most def fetch for it.

Jamie

Friday 29th of January 2021

The Cuban ketchup adds such a delicious flavor to these sloppy joes! It's such a great way to use ground turkey too!