Sloppy Joes… with a Spicy Twist!

As we head into winter, your tastes will probably veer to the more “hearty” type of fare in the kitchen.  Suddenly Solo appreciates the fact that not all of us are skilled chefs (see NOTE below), but we always try to provide a recipe that is fairly easy and, most importantly, delicious.

Asian Sloppy Joes

This is a different take on the classic Sloppy Joe that makes 4 servings and comes from the kitchen of Sandra Lee.  It will take about 10 minutes of prep time and 25 minutes of cooking.  It’s perfect for enjoying in front of a televised football game in the late afternoon!



  • One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Sloppy Joes:

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small head green cabbage
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted


For the sauce: In a bowl, whisk together the tomato sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, tomato paste, vinegar, garlic, ginger and hot sauce until blended. Reserve 1/2 cup for Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, or another use*.  Set the rest of the sauce aside.

For the Sloppy Joes: In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil. When it is hot, add the onions and peppers and cook until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Push the vegetables to one side of the pan and add the ground pork. Break up any lumps and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until the pork is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. If there is a lot of fat in the pan, spoon some of it out and discard.

Add the sauce to the pan, bring to a simmer and cook until the pork mixture has thickened but is still a bit loose, about 15 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the mixture for Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, or another use*.

To serve, remove 2 leaves from the cabbage, roll them up like a cigar and slice into very thin strips. Reserve the remaining cabbage for Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, or another use*. Divide the Sloppy Joe mixture onto the hamburger buns. Garnish with the sliced cabbage. Top with the bun tops and serve immediately.

*If you don’t want to make Stuffed Cabbage, save the sauce for another go-round of these Sloppy Joes or just scale back the ingredients.  It can be frozen.

NOTE: For our Suddenly Solos who have absolutely NO EXPERIENCE in the kitchen, we suggest that you get a copy of a children’s recipe book (no kidding!) to get started and build your confidence.  Our favorite is: Chicken Soup for the Soul – Kids in the Kitchen: Tasty Recipes and Fun Activities for Budding Chefs.  It’s available at and it’s a wonderful first step!


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