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Asian Sloppy Joes

Patricia Reitz

An unadapted version of this Asian-inspired Sloppy Joe recipe was shared with me a number of years ago by a dear friend Jill - she's a wonderful cook and we have similar flavor palates, for the most part.  I say for the most part because we don't share a love for every ingredients.  Cilantro for example - I love to serve these sloppy joes with lots of fresh cilantro, but she absolutely detests it.  Spicy heat is another area where we don't always see eye to eye.  I like things a bit spicier than she does so if you tend to not like as much spice as I do, go ahead and reduce the cayenne pepper by half (or eliminate it completely). 

Let me show you how these sloppy, gingery, yummy sandwiches are made.

DSC_0581 (2).JPG

Start with a mixture of minced red bell peppers, onions, and celery.

Saute the veggies in a bit of canola oil until softened and the onions turn translucent.



sloppy joe recipe using ground turkey

Next add ground turkey and cook until no pink remains, stirring frequently to break up clumps. 

I've made this recipe with ground beef, but ground turkey actually works better, much better - the flavors of the ground turkey and sauce are beautiful together. 

asian sloppy joe recipe

Speaking of the sauce, here's the cast of characters (clockwise from left to right):  brown sugar, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, creamy peanut butter, garlic powder, cayenne powder, and ground ginger.

delicious sloppy joe recipe with an asian twist

So here's how the ground turkey should look when it's cooked through.

asian "sloppy tom" recipe

Add all the sauce ingredients and stir well to combine. 

better sloppy joe recipe

Simmer for 5 minutes over medium heat. 

broccoli slaw with trader joe's spicy peanut vinaigrette dressing on asian sloppy joe sandwiches

Now this part wasn't included in the original recipe, but Jill highly recommended it and I have to agree, it's an excellent addition. 

Anyone out there have a good copycat recipe for this dressing?  Please share if you do.

super easy broccoli slaw with spicy peanut vinaigrette dressing

Simply buy a bag of broccoli slaw and dress it with Trader Joe's Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette, then pile it on top of the sloppy joe filling.  

building an asian-inspired sloppy joe sandwich - recipe with howto photos

I like to build these sandwiches on soft, pillowy brioche buns.  Add as much asian sloppy joe filling as you like.

an asian-inspired sloppy joe sandwich with broccoli slaw - recipe with how to photos inluded

Then add the crunchy broccoli slaw and fresh cilantro (which I highly recommend, but, sadly, didn’t have any on the day I took these photos).

Sloppy joes with an Asian flavor profile - recipe and howto photos

Serve with lots of napkins and enjoy! 

Items used to make this recipe:

Asian Sloppy Joes

makes 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

  • 1/2 cup chopped celery

  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder (not garlic salt)

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

  • 6 brioche buns

  • garnish - chopped fresh cilantro (optional, but highly recommended)


  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute onions, celery, and bell peppers in oil until they soften.

  2. Add ground turkey and cook, stirring frequently to break up clumps, until no pink remains.

  3. Stir in red wine vinegar, soy, peanut butter, brown sugar, garlic powder, ground ginger, and cayenne; heat to bubbling, then turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

  4. Pile mixture onto hamburger buns that have been lined with lettuce leaves and top with chopped cilantro if desired.

Note:  these sandwiches are excellent on their own, but topped with a layer of broccoli slaw dressed with spicy peanut vinaigrette (and fresh cilantro, if you dare) takes them to the next level. I'm absolutely addicted to Trader Joe's spicy peanut vinaigrette (found in the refrigerator section).  Please drop me a line if you know of a good copycat recipe.