Spicy Turkey Lentil Joes

Spicy Turkey Lentil Joes

Sloppy Joes with a healthy twist: ground turkey, cooked lentils, and a spicy kick that will have you coming back for seconds! Serve on buns or in lettuce cups.


12 servings


24 ounces (1.5 pounds) 93% lean ground turkey*
1 large onion, diced
1 can (15 ounces) or 2 cups tomato sauce
1/3 cup Jamie's Spice Mix**
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 cups cooked and drained lentils***
salt, to taste

For serving: Buns or romaine lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, and sliced dill pickles


1. In a large skillet (I use cast iron), brown the ground turkey with the diced onion.

2. When meat is cooked through, add the tomato sauce, spice mix, brown sugar and lentils. Simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, until mixture is thick, stirring occasionally. Add salt to taste, if needed.

3. Serve on buns or in romaine lettuce, topped with the shredded cheddar and dill pickle slices.

Spicy Turkey Lentil Joes
Spicy Turkey lentil Joes on a Whole Wheat Buttermilk Sandwich Bun

Spicy Turkey Lentil Joes

Additional Notes: 

*If you use ground turkey with a higher fat content, brown the meat with the onions and DRAIN the fat before proceeding with the recipe.

**I love Jamie's Spice Mix, but if you prefer not to make a spice mixture, here is what to add to this recipe:

1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix together in a small bowl. Makes about 1/3 cup, the amount needed for the recipe above.

***This is about 1 cup of dried lentils; cook according to package directions. I always add salt when cooking dried legumes. Cooked lentils can be frozen for later use.

Spicy Turkey Lentil Joes

This recipe was adapted from Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook (written by the awesome Jessica at Life As Mom!). Original recipe did not include lentils or onion, used more meat (beef rather than turkey), and called for less spice mix. :)

Preparation Time: 

10 minutes

Cooking Time: 

30 minutes (not including lentils)

Tammy's Review: 

I like cooking, and I want to feed my family healthy meals, but I'm often distracted or pulled in many directions -- away from the kitchen.

It was 4pm. I had an hour to make dinner and I had no idea what to make. So, I did the next logical thing: pulled out my copy of Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook.

Not surprisingly, most of the recipes in the book weren't going to help me last-minute like that, even if I had all the ingredients.

I started searching for a recipe that could be made with a still-frozen package of ground turkey. (I buy the 4-packs at Costco and put them in the freezer.) Sloppy joes? I did have buns in the freezer. At any rate, it would be something different and I could have dinner on the table on time!

I made Jessica's Sweet and Spicy Joes, with just a few substitutions, and they were a hit! We decided to try adding lentils to make the meal more affordable (plus, I'm always about eating a varied diet), and I tried eating mine in romaine lettuce "tacos". The crunchy lettuce was a perfect complement to the spicy meat mixture!

Spicy Turkey Lentil Joes

Spicy Turkey Lentil Joes

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