These Sloppy Joes were inspired by all the wonderful things we love about pizza – an Italian seasoned sauce, mushrooms, olives, and pepperoni topped with melted mozzarella cheese. A great family-friendly, 30-minute meal option!
I kind of have a thing for Sloppy Joes. Less than a month after I started this blog I posted one of my favorites to this day – Cajun Sloppy Joes. I found out that I wasn’t alone in my feelings for the messy sandwich filling when about a year later I shared my recipe for Sloppy Joe Squares. That recipe became one of the most viewed recipes in those early days. Well, friends, I take my Sloppy Joe recipes seriously and I’m sharing a recipe today that is epic. The ingredient list is simple, it’s ready in 30 minutes, start to finish, and it blows away the store-bought mixes.
The flavor is fabulously reminiscent of pizza which makes it a completely family-friendly meal. Yes, the kids will love it, but I guarantee the adults will be on board with the Pizza Joe idea as well. Combining the flavors of pizza with Sloppy Joes may sound indulgent, but you can lighten the situation up, if you’d like, and I’ll tell you just how to do that in a bit.
You’ll need a jar of your favorite basic pasta sauce. I try to always keep some of this Mezzetta Tomato Basil in the pantry. It’s a good one! You want to keep it simple – a simple marinara or tomato basil sauce is best.
The meat portion of the recipe consists of ground beef and pepperoni. I picked up this 25% Less Fat Pepperoni from Hormel to help myself feel a bit less guilty about inhaling a Pizza Joe. If you’d really like to combat the fat and calories, go with turkey pepperoni, use lean ground turkey in place of the ground beef, and top it off with part-skim mozzarella.
Place 2 pounds lean ground beef (or ground turkey if you’re so inclined) in a large non-stick skillet. Add some chopped onion, green bell pepper, and a good amount of minced garlic. See the printable recipe below for the exact measurements. Cook, stirring to break up the meat, until it is completely cooked through and the veggies have softened. Drain off as much grease from the pan as possible and return it to the heat.
Add the pasta sauce, a small can of sliced olives, chopped mushrooms, about 1/2 of that package of sliced pepperoni (cut in half), some Italian seasoning, fresh ground black pepper, and a touch of crushed red pepper. I added only 1/4 teaspoon of the crushed red pepper for a bit of a zing but if you’d like to bring on the heat, add more.
Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
Line up some onion rolls (or your hamburger buns of choice) on a baking sheet, mound some filling on each one and top with shredded mozzarella. Pop the baking sheet under the broiler for just a minute or two, until the cheese is melted.
Behold the Pizza Joe in all it’s glory. Give it a try. You’re family will love ya’ for it.
- 2 pounds lean ground beef or ground turkey
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3/4 cup chopped brown button mushrooms
- 1 can sliced olives
- 1 (25 to 28 ounce) jar tomato basil marinara
- 3 ounces sliced pepperoni or turkey pepperoni, cut in half
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- 8 onion rolls or hamburger buns
- In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook beef (or turkey), onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring to break up the ground meat as it cooks. Continue to cook and stir until meat is thoroughly cooked and veggies have softened. Drain off as much grease as possible and return the skillet to the heat.
- Add the mushrooms, olives, marinara, pepperoni, Italian seasoning, fresh ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat, cover the pan, and allow to simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven's broiler.
- Spoon some of the sandwich filling on to a hamburger bun, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, and place on a baking sheet. Repeat until baking sheet is full. Place under the broiler for just a minute or two until cheese is melted.