monster sloppy joes

5 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup ketchup or tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 6 hamburger buns, toasted
  • 6 lettuce leaves
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese
  • 12 small mozzarella balls
  • 6 black olives, havled


  • Heat a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 lb. ground beef. Season with a big pinch salt and pepper. Brown beef, breaking it up with a spoon until it’s no longer pink. Drain excess grease. If desired, add ½ chopped onion and 1 chopped pepper to the skillet and cook until the veggies have softened, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add ½ cup ketchup to the skillet followed by 2 tablespoons Dijon and 2 tablespoons brown sugar; stir to combine. Bring mixture to a gentle simmer and continue cooking for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.
  • Place 6 lettuce leaves on the bottom of 6 toasted buns. Evenly divide sloppy joe mixture on top. Layer with 6 slices cheddar cheesy teeth and sandwich with top buns. Decorate monster faces with 12 mozzarella balls and 6 halved olives as eyes (stuck in with toothpicks).


  • Serve with slaw salad mix, corn on the cob and watermelon to complete the meal.


  • Protein: Swap ground beef for ground chicken, turkey or pork.
  • Vegetarian: Swap ground beef for cauliflower rice.
  • Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free runs or serve over greens.


  • Sloppy joe filling can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Alternatively, freeze for up to 3 months.


Calories: 588kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 839mg | Potassium: 593mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 1092IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 158mg | Iron: 5mg