Southwest Turkey Sloppy Joes with Avocado

southwest turkey sloppy joes with mozzarella and avocado

How long has it been since you thought about the words “sloppy” and “joe” in the same sentence?  Let me guess…sitting in your school cafeteria, singing Adam Sandler’s ballad about the lunch lady.

Our own dear lunch lady at St. Mary High, Mrs. Brenda Hayden, would serve up the best homemade rolls in the world.  But as much as I loved the rolls, I equally despised the sloppy joes.

It took me nearly 20 years to get past my sloppy joe aversion.  Here is the recipe that finally cured me.

This sloppy joe is tangy and complex and full of spices like cumin and oregano.  Like really thick chili…on a bun.  Jane and I made these together this week, and we had a blast in the kitchen.  It’s a great dish for kid-assistance because it’s one of those “throw this in the pot…now stir” recipes.

Now you might be wondering what on earth inspired me to try sloppy joes if I hated them so much as a kid.  Well, there’s this great food blog called Vegetarian Ventures.  (  And now you might be wondering why on earth I’m reading a vegetarian blog, given my love of all things meat.  Let me tell you, vegetarian recipes are so inspiring and creative!  Despite my sloppy joe phobia, the veggie sloppy joe recipe from VV was too tempting, and so I adapted the VV recipe into this  turkey sloppy joe, then topped it with avocado.  The result was delicious.

We served our southwest sloppy joes with a simple salad of spring greens.  I used the dressing recipe from our roasted shrimp and avocado citrus greens salad, but exchanged the lemon juice for lime juice and a few splashes of rice vinegar.  The lime dressing was perfect with the southwest flavor of the sandwiches.  So refreshing!

So whether this recipe takes you past your own sloppy joe aversion or forces you to break out in song and rent SNL episodes from the 90’s, I hope it gives you a good reason to smile.  Sloppy joe…slop, sloppy joe….

Shake that booty!

Southwest Turkey Sloppy Joes with Avocado

(adapted from Vegetarian Ventures)

print recipe

Serves 6

  • Prep time:  20 minutes
  • Simmer time:  10


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 – 1.5 lbs. lean ground turkey (93/7)
  • 1 yellow or white onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed/minced
  • 1/2 cup beer (preferably ale, but any kind will do)
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (or any vinegar)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of Tabasco
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • shredded mozzarella for topping
  • 1 avocado, sliced, for topping
  • whole wheat buns (or your favorite buns)


  • Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven or large pot/skillet until shimmering
  • Cook turkey, onion, and celery, stirring often, until meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes
  • Stir in garlic and cook for about 1 minute
  • Stir in beer and cook for another minute until liquid is evaporated
  • Stir in all ingredients (except mozzarella, avocado, and buns), reduce heat, and simmer about 10 minutes
  • Stir in about 1/2 cup mozzarella, if you like
  • Serve on buns and top with mozzarella and avocado

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