Sloppy Joe’s in a Bowl

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This is a family favorite! For company, I stretch the meat by adding 4 cups of cooked green lentils to the meat mixture, while (just about if not entirely) doubling the sauce ingredients.

  • 2 cups dry brown basmati rice
  • 2 cups water plus 2 T raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups stock
  • 2 pounds grass-fed ground beef (or ground buffalo)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • garnishes: sliced olives, thinly sliced or diced onions, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, and/or homemade cultured dairy, chopped cilantro, shredded raw cheese

In a 2 to 3 quart pot, soak the rice in the 2 cups of water and raw apple cider vinegar overnight. The next day, add the 2 cups stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all liquid is absorbed and grains are fluffy and tender. This will be about a half hour if the grains have soaked overnight. Remove from heat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

While rice is cooking, put the ground beef in a 4 to 6 quart stock pot. Over medium heat, brown the beef. Add onions and garlic. Saute until soft. In a 4 cup measuring cup, whisk together: water, tomato paste, sea salt, pepper, olive oil, and honey. Add sauce mixture to meat. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Fill bowls with rice, then meat sauce, then desired garnishes. The picture shows a Sloppy Joe’s bowl garnished with diced shredded homemade goat cheese, diced onions, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, and a drizzle of “sour cream.” I make our “sour cream” by blending homemade chevre or kefir cheese with raw milk to a drizzly sour cream consistency.


© 2006-2009 by Wardee Harmon

This post may contain affiliate links. We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. Thank you for supporting Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS with your purchases. Our family thanks you!


  1. Michelle says

    We love Buffalo beef. We are able to get organic buffalo from our local grocery store, but I have to wait until it is on sale. Your Sloppy Joes sound yummy.

  2. says

    Michelle, I just found grass-fed buffalo at our grocery store not too long ago. I am inquiring about buying a quantity of it for a discount, but I am waiting to hear back from the meat department.

    Robin, I hope you’ll like it!

  3. Karena says

    I think I saw somewhere in your postings I read that you sometimes add lentils to this recipe. At what point in the recipe do you add the lentils and about how much would you add?

    Thank you ahead of time!

    Yes, I do add lentils quite often. Separately, I soak 2 cups of lentils in 4 cups of water overnight. Then next day, I bring that to a boil and cook it fully, until the lentils are tender. I add those to the meat sauce, and about double all the seasoning ingredients (tomato paste, etc.). Hope that makes sense. Let me know if you need me to clarify. -Wardee

  4. Steph Stone says

    Hey Wardee…

    Did you change this recipe aside from the soaking of the rice? My old printout had bell pepper. Do you omit it now?

    I’m making it, yet again. It is a favorite over here.

    • says

      Steph, let’s see… I used to use a Vitamin C powder, which I omitted. I took out the bell peppers only because they’re not always in season – but keep adding them if you have them! I could have left it in there! And I soak the rice. I also omitted the onion powder in favor of the sauteed fresh onion. I’m really happy your family enjoys this dish!

  5. Steph Stone says

    Ahh, gotcha. Bell peppers are so pricey out of season, even if you don’t mind getting things out of season on occasion. I was a good girl this summer though and froze them like crazy. I even froze some ground to toss in for sloppy joe or spaghetti sauce. Since I’ve got my new dehydrator, I may think about drying some next summer. Then they’ll be traditionally preserved *and* I’ll have them for the winter. I wonder if there’s a way to do something with dried tomatoes instead of tomato paste, too. Hmm…

  6. Steph Stone says

    Ooh, thanks for the link. BTW, Bionature brand tomato paste is in glass jars, but I’m fairly certain that the lids have BPA. Right now I’ve been getting it by the case through our co-op’s UNFI order. Maybe I’ll figure out the dried tomato thing so I won’t need to get it any more. :-)

  7. Sarah M says

    This was a hit with my family. I actually used only one pound of ground beef and 2 cups (approx.) of lentils for the meat, and no one noticed. The lentils are a great way to stretch beef, which can get so expensive. Thanks for sharing that tip!

  8. Becky says

    I just made this for dinner tonight and added sprouted lentils. So delicious!!!!! My husband loved it. I was a bit nervous because he doesn’t like traditional sloppy joes at all and he said this was great! Thanks for the great idea.

  9. Nana Phyllis says

    Sounds good! I don’t eat red meat, so would sub turkey and try black beans instead of lentils? I think cooking is all about fitting a basic recipe to your likes!

  10. Darla says

    I used one pound ground beef and two cups black beans and it was delicious!!!! Thank you for a yummy and easy recipe!!

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