Primal Sloppy Joes

Nothing says comfort food quite like sloppy joes. The go-to of potlucks and family dinners for generations, they’ve got the tangy and hearty flavor even kids gravitate to. Many versions, including canned sauces, however, contain added sugars or even high fructose corn syrup—such a shame, since the basic ingredients of sloppy joes need no sweeteners when done right.

Bring this classic back to your healthy menu with this recipe for delicious sloppy joe meat sauce—and the grain-free buns to deliver all the goodness. Enjoy!

Grain-Free Buns

Servings: 4 Buns

Time in the Kitchen: 15 minutes, plus 15 minutes to bake


  • 1 ½ cups super-fine blanched almond flour (165 g)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (2.5 ml)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (2.5 ml)
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 5 tablespoons Primal Kitchen® Avocado Oil (75 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (15 ml)
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar (2.5 ml)
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (1.25 ml)
  • Optional: Poppy seeds or sesame seeds to sprinkle on top
  • Tools: Silicone bun mold



Preheat oven to 375 ºF/190 ºC.

In the bowl of a food processor, mix together the almond flour, salt and baking soda so that no clumps remain.

Add the egg yolks, avocado oil, honey and apple cider vinegar. Blend until thick and smooth.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Using the whisk attachment, whisk until the egg whites are fluffy and soft peaks form (when the whisk is lifted out of the egg whites, a soft peak should pull up).

Pour 1/3 of the egg whites into the food processor. Pulse until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Add another 1/3 of the egg whites, and pulse again until combined into a wet batter.

Scrape the dough out of the food processor and into the bowl with the remaining egg whites. Use a spatula to gently fold the egg whites into the dough. Fold and mix until there are no white streaks, but be gentle; the air in the egg whites helps the dough rise into a loaf with a light texture.

Place the bun pan on a baking sheet. Fill each bun container in the bun pan with ½ cup of batter. If desired, sprinkle poppy seeds or sesame seeds on top of the buns.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until the buns are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the bun comes out clean.

Set the bun pan on a rack to cool. When the buns are cool, remove from the pan. (You may need to invert the bun compartments to get the buns to pop out.)

The buns will keep fresh for several days in a sealed plastic bag.

Nutritional Information

  • Calories: 485
  • Carbs: 8.75 grams
  • Fat: 43 grams
  • Protein: 15 grams

Sloppy Joe Meat Sauce

Servings: 4-6

Time in the Kitchen: 15 (plus 40 minutes to let sauce cook)




Saute peppers with 2 tablespoons of avocado oil until slightly softened. Add garlic and saute for 3 more minutes. Set aside.

Place ground beef and onion in a large skillet. Turn heat to medium and cook and stir the mixture constantly until the beef is browned and forms small crumbles, about 10 minutes.

Add cooked pepper mix to the meat skillet. Add 1 cup water and stir, scraping the pan to dissolve any brown flavor bits from the bottom of the skillet.

Mix in ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, BBQ sauce, mustard, salt, and black pepper. Return mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is thick, about 40 minutes.

Nutritional Information (assuming 6 servings)

  • Calories: 256
  • Carbs: 8 grams
  • Fat: 10 grams
  • Protein: 33 grams

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12 thoughts on “Primal Sloppy Joes”

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  1. While you have good recipes here, this may be the first I am excited about. A total comfort food from my youth, including the sesame seeds. Well done and TAKE THAT Manwhich!!!!

  2. This sounds phenomenal! I’m just getting over a stomach virus and have had NO appetite, but this just might get me back to food! Slowly, I know…

  3. Looks good, but I’m interested in why the beef is supposed to extra lean?

    1. My guess is it would make the dish too wet and greasy (texture preference). There is already a lot there, already. You likely could get by with a higher fat meat. I have made the substitution in other dishes, namely chili.

  4. What kind of Worcestershire sauce is used? Most that I have seen are not healthy. Can you substitute coconut aminos? Thank you! This recipe looks great, especially the grain free buns.

    1. Whole Foods Brand 365 organic Worcestershire sauce doesn’t have anything funky. I use it all the time for burgers.

  5. Would any other Primal Kitchen dressings hold up in this recipe? I need to be nightshade free (which means no potato, tomato, any kind of bell pepper or other peppers, even paprika, eggplant) to manage pain from several autoimmune conditions. This recipe looks so good, but how to give taste and moisture without all the tomato-based ingredients? The dressings are awesome btw!!!
    Thanks so much for great info, recipes, and details.

    1. You won’t get the traditional taste of sloppy joes without tomato and bell pepper. You should maybe look for a different kind of recipe while you’re avoiding nightshades. Maybe hamburgers on these homemade buns?

  6. These buns are really good. I don’t have a silicone pan so I used 4 wide mouth cannng jar bands. Not crazy about using metal but it will have to do until I can afford a pan. Instead of Worcestershire sauce I used some PK Steak Sauce in the sloppy joe mixture. It’s a small amount anyway but I had it on hand. Thanks Mark!

  7. Can any sweetener be substituted for the honey in the buns? I’d like to make the buns keto.

  8. For the buns, is the 485 calories for the whole recipe, or for each bun? I also noticed that there is no serving size… I got 5 buns…