The Healthy $1 Menu: Sloppy Joe’s in a Bowl


Today we have another addition to our Healthy Dollar Menu series! This guest post, by Wardeh from is another wonderful family friendly meal idea. Nourishing, and frugal, it also sounds like a great dish to serve a crowd. And I never thought of doing Sloppy Joe Rice Bowls before! Thanks Wardeh! I will be leaving tomorrow for a wedding and since I know many of you are still recovering from Christmas with New Years coming up, let’s wait one more week before bringing back our Pennywise Carnival.

Definitely a family favorite! This is also a meal I serve to company, for a down-home, afternoon, family-get-together type of meal (if that makes any sense!). For company, I stretch the meat by adding 4 cups of cooked green lentils to the meat mixture, while (just about if not entirely) doubling the sauce ingredients.

Each serving of this meal costs $1.04, which doesn’t include the diced avocado (pictured).

Here’s the price breakdown. All ingredients are organic and purchased via local farms or a natural food warehouse like Azure Standard.

    $1.38 – 2 cups dry brown basmati rice
    $0 – 2 cups water plus 4 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar
    $0 – 2 cups stock
    $6.70 – 2 pounds grass-fed ground beef (or ground buffalo)
    $.67 – 1 onion, diced
    $.17 – 3 cloves garlic, diced
    $0 – 3/4 cup filtered water
    $.79 – 1 can organic tomato paste (Trader Joe’s)
    $.17 – 2 teaspoons sea salt, Himalayan
    $.04 – 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    $.36 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    $.34 – 3 tablespoons raw honey
    $.25 – fresh, chopped cilantro
    $.25 – homemade cultured dairy

$10.38 – total for 10 servings
$1.04 – per serving

Sloppy Joe’s In A Bowl

Serves 10

    2 cups dry brown basmati rice
    2 cups clean water plus 4 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
    2 cups stock
    2 pounds grass-fed ground beef (or ground buffalo)
    1 onion, diced
    3 cloves garlic, diced
    3/4 cup filtered water
    1 can tomato paste
    2 teaspoons sea salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    3 tablespoons raw honey
    garnishes: sliced olives, thinly sliced or diced onions, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, and/or homemade cultured dairy, chopped cilantro, shredded raw cheese

In a 2 to 3 quart pot, soak the rice in the 2 cups of water and raw apple cider vinegar overnight. The next day, add the 2 cups stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all liquid is absorbed and grains are fluffy and tender. This will be about a half hour if the grains have soaked overnight. Remove from heat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

While rice is cooking, put the ground beef in a 4 to 6 quart stock pot. Over medium heat, brown the beef. Add onions and garlic. Saute until soft. In a 4 cup measuring cup, whisk together: water, tomato paste, sea salt, pepper, olive oil, and honey. Add sauce mixture to meat. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Fill bowls with rice, then meat sauce, then desired garnishes. The picture shows a Sloppy Joe’s bowl garnished with diced shredded homemade goat cheese, diced onions, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, and a drizzle of “sour cream.” I make our “sour cream” by blending homemade chevre or kefir cheese with raw milk to a drizzly sour cream consistency.


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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. says

    Thanks for sharing my Healthy Menu idea, Kimi! The picture is not showing up – it blinks for a moment and then goes away. Hope you have a wonderful trip.

    Also, I forgot to mention that when I serve this for company, I at least double the amount of cooked rice.

  2. Peggy says

    Thanks I forgot all about this! My mom used to make this when I was a kid!!! When our boys were younger I used to make this but would add a little extra liquid and pulzerized old fashion oats to stretch this even farther!!

  3. Lynne says

    Yes, me too, Kimi. I can’t see it.

    However the recipe sounds nice and I will be making it as soon as our south Pacific weather cools down a little 🙂

  4. says

    I saw the photo and that is some darn good food porn! Is it wrong to want a bowl of that for breakfast? Sloppy Joes bring such a flood of childhood memories!

  5. 3hens2boys1dog says

    Hi there,
    Thanks for such a great site! I was wondering if you have a way to just print the recipe’s without having to print the entire page and all the adds and color pictures? Trying to conserve ink/paper but don’t have the time to hadn write them.
    Thank you!

  6. Breanne says

    My family doesn’t particularly like Sloppy Joe’s, but I think I might be able to win them over with this! 🙂

  7. Marnita says

    That looks so good and sounds even better. I can’t wait to try it. On another note, my husband was recently looking at your Cold Remedy beverage recipe page and it wouldn’t pull up. Could you please send me the recipe? Thanks.

    • mel says

      I agree with Ann Marie. I thought finding grassfed beef for $3.50 a pound was super cheap here in WI. Mostly, I’ve seen it for around $5-$6 per pound. Although, I am always happy to pay the price if I want ground beef! Grassfed does make such a difference, doesn’t it?!

      • says

        Ann Marie – I’m shocked that your grass-fed beef is so expensive. I am not too familiar with what the prices are around the country, but I would never have guessed your price would be double. 🙁

        • Peggy says

          We are moving to Indiana this month and have discovered the price for grass fed ground beef is $4.25 lb, no nitrate bacon is $8.12 lb, and pastured chicken $2.75 lb (whole chicken/uncut.) I think the price for a side is $5.25 lb, cut, frozen and wrapped. With 3 boys (2 are teenagers) we go through a good deal of meat…. Okay, food in general! And these are kids who aren’t carrying any extra weight, pretty much all lean muscle mass.

      • Nicole P says

        Mel, if you don’t mind sharing where you found it for $3.50/lb that would be great! I’m in WI too. Thanks!

  8. Erin says

    Hi Kimi,
    I didn’t know where to send this… so I thought I would just attach it to this recent entry. I had been interested in finding a whole wheat sourdough english muffin recipe and came across this one. They even soak the flour over night. I haven’t tried it out yet, but it sounds delicious. I know you are a sourdough fan too, so I thought I’d send it your way. Happy New Year, and thanks for the time you put into your blog!
    🙂 Erin
    *In another ww english muffin recipe that I follow, they recommend baking the muffins for 5 minutes at 350 degrees at the very end to get the edges. Yum!

  9. Misty says

    How nice! I was reading your post about the Chantal pan earlier, thinking about getting one myself. I am wondering though, does the pan have a completely flat bottom or does it curves upward? I have a pan with a bottom that curves upward and that makes it hard to cook with. Most of the time I have to cook on the edge of it, because the oil won’t stay at the center of the pan! Thanks!

    • Peggy says

      Misty, just out of curiousity… have you ever put cold water in your pan immediately after taking it off the heat? The reason I ask is it sounds as though your pan is warped! I know this because I unwittingly warped a VERY expensive large skillet. (We plan on trying to fix the skillet by putting water on the backside the next time I use it to make it warp inwards… maybe it will bow in causing it to be somewhat “level” again!) My father was a professional cook for years and I knew better but got in a rush….

  10. tracey says

    Hello All;
    Sorry to here that many of you have to pay soo much for pastured meat. We pay $ 2.00+ a pound for grass feed beef & we can’t even find buyers for our pastured cornish hens at $2.00 lb. Not to mention finding buyer for our heirloom veggies. Anyone looking in north central Wi??

  11. says

    You can make this recipe vegetarian friendly by using “veggie ground round” in place of hamburger meat. I made this slight adjustment, and the overall result was seriously satisfying! Thanks!

  12. Laura says

    I made for myself and my hubby and I liked it. He did not. I added in chopped lettuce, some shredded cheese, avocado, diced toms. It was sooooo filling.

  13. ~M says

    Do you think this would work with ground all-white meat turkey? We have 1 lb in the freezer (I was going to half the recipe as I’m just feeding my husband and me). Would you add anything else, like fat, to compensate for the lean-ness?

  14. says

    ~M – yes, I think it would be great. Perhaps different, but still great. The recipe calls for adding EVOO, but you could saute the turkey in some other meat drippings for extra flavor if you think the lean turkey lacks it.

  15. says

    Yum. I messed around with the “sauce” for the beef, but the idea was the same– very good. We had avocado and sour cream with it.

  16. says

    Thank you for this recipe. I am going to make it today for dinner. I’ll be serving it on sprouted buns.

    I live in CA too, and I’ve seen grass-fed beef in the stores sell between $6- $8/lb. However, I’ve been able to purchase our beef from a farmer for much cheaper. We purchase 1/4 cow at a time. 🙂

  17. April J. says

    How do you make this stretch out for 10 people? I have a family of 7 and we wipe out 2 lbs of meat in one meal. I’m just now wondering if I should start to increase the meat we consume to 3 lbs per meal. Tell me your secret. 🙂

  18. Bonnie says

    We like to use coconut rice when making sloppy joes in a bowl. Just substitute a can of full-fat coconut milk for some of the cooking liquid when preparing the rice. It is a delicious combination!

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