I have an overgrown child living with me, and his name is Stephen. He wanted Sloppy Joe’s, so I chose to make him a healthier version and luckily he had no idea. Please use this recipe for your own children as well – overgrown or not.


I used mostly what I had on hand. Normal seasonings such as Worcestershire and tomato sauce were included, but I did want to elevate the recipe along with hiding in some greens (which included a huge half head of cabbage strangely not pictured here).


Lots of onions and lots of garlic help to flavor the ground beef.


From there, I added half a head of cabbage, thinly chopped. After mixing this with the beef mixture about 5 minutes, you can see it all turns into one kind of chunky mixture. Once adding the can of tomato sauce, you definitely can’t tell there is any hint of cabbage.

The additional seasonings are added, and obviously do so according to taste. Let simmer 15 minutes on low and you have yourself a cabbage-bulked, ketchup-omitted, spicy and yummy Sloppy Joe mixture for any thick bread you have available.


If you don’t tell your child (overgrown or not) that it’s literally half beef and half cabbage, they would have no idea. I’m confirming from experience.



  • 1-1.5 lb ground beef
  • Half a head of cabbage, or about 2 cups worth, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 large onion, or 2 small onions, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tb black pepper
  • 1 tb garlic powder
  • 1 tb cumin
  • 1/5 tb mustard powder
  • 1 tb soy sauce
  • 1 tb Worcestershire
  • 1 ts cayenne powder (if you want)
  • Bread for serving – either classic Sloppy Joe style or crusty bread



  1. Saute onions for about 5 minutes, then add the chopped garlic. Stir for a little bit, then add the ground beef. Try to get the beef touching the pan more than the onions so it can brown up a little bit.
  2. After a few minutes, the beef should be losing its pinkness, so then add the chopped cabbage. Continue to stir about 5 minutes more.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, mix through, and then add the rest of the ingredients. Give it a taste and adjust accordingly. I ended up adding a bit more soy sauce and cayenne for our taste.
  4. Serve between buns like the classic Sloppy Joe’s, or make an open faced sandwich on thick crusty bread.
Posted by:Talei Rukstad

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