BBQ Turkey Sloppy Joes – The Real Food Dietitians

Slide over run-of-the-mill appetizers…these Whole30-friendly BBQ Turkey Sloppy Joes are about to take center stage!

This post was created in partnership with our friends at The New Primal. 

Party time or weeknight bite

With the holidays winding down and the new year quickly approaching we’ve all got healthy eating on the brain. We’ve also got party appetizers on the brain too, what with New Years Eve party invites starting to roll in. So what’s a healthy eater to do? Do you delay your resolve to get back to regular, nourishing meals so you can enjoy the party food? Do you pack a Tupperware with carrot sticks or other bird food to hopefully keep your mind off the munchies being served? Heck no! You do neither.


In fact, we believe that you should never have to compromise taste for health which is why we’ve got yet another healthy comfort food recipe for you today – so you can have your BBQ Turkey Sloppy Joes and enjoy the heck out of them too. Even if you’re on a Whole30, avoiding gluten/dairy/eggs/nuts, etc.

Need a healthy party appetizer? You can’t go wrong with these BBQ Turkey Sloppy Joes @thenewprimal #sponsored #realfood Click To Tweet

So without further ado, let’s see just how simple these are to pull together with less than 10 ingredients. You can serve them as a hearty party appetizer or enjoy them for an easy weeknight meal (or even prep them ahead during your next weekly meal prep session).

Overhead view of sliced sweet potatoes browned in an oven on a baking sheet

Better buns

Who doesn’t want better buns? Be it in your favorite workout tights or on your plate, swapping out a refined carb bun for crispy-on-the-outside-tender-on-the-inside slices of potato means you get more nutrition bang for your buck.

Often vilified, the humble potato isn’t just a starchy carb. According to Potatoes USA, potatoes are:

  • A good source of vitamins C and B6, potassium, magnesium, fiber, resistant starch, and antioxidants.
  • Free of sodium, fat, and cholesterol
  • Incredibly versatile and budget-friendly

Sure, you can use sweet potatoes for the buns (as we did for those Stovetop Sloppy Joes, these Buffalo Chicken Sliders, these Slow Cooker Chicken Sloppy Joes, or these Slow Cooker Citrus Herb Pork Sliders with Pineapple Salsa Slaw), but a good old Russet potato works beautifully too. Bottom line: Use what you’ve got on hand, what you like and/or what’s in your budget or available to you.

cooked ground turkey in a white bowl

Lean and mean

We’ve swapped out the traditional ground beef for lean ground turkey in this recipe, but you can certainly use ground beef or ground chicken. Both will be delicious and the perfect protein-rich vehicle for the tangy, savory sauce that starts with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Gettin’ saucy

For these BBQ Turkey Sloppy Joes, we used The New Primal Classic BBQ Cooking & Dipping Sauce because it’s, well, amazing. Being that Stacie and I are both barbecue fanatics we don’t take BBQ sauce lightly. It has to be tangy, lightly sweet, slightly smoky and good on everything. This sauce fits all of those criteria and more: Whole30-approved, no refined sugars, organic, certified gluten- and dairy-free. It’s sweetened with pineapple and tamarind concentrates and has the added bonus of being made with bone broth.

Oh, and it’s freaking delicious. If it wasn’t, you can be sure we wouldn’t be using it because life is too short to not eat delicious things, amirite?!

cooked ground turkey in a white bowl with classic BBQ on top

Don’t forget the slaw!

Here’s another not-so-secret fact about us – a generous dollop of cool and creamy slaw of some kind is pretty much mandatory when we’re talking about barbecue. Case in point: this Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken with Simple Slaw, these Sonoran Hotdogs with Mexi Slaw, this Slow Cooker BBQ Beef with Cole Slaw, and this Slow Cooker BBQ Peach Chicken with Slaw).

Clearly, it’s a killer combo so we’ve included a recipe for an ultra-simple, 4-ingredient slaw that can’t be beaten and makes everything BBQ a thousand times better.

Close view of BBQ Turkey Sloppy Joes on a wooden tray

OK, one more time. This time a little closer. Now, how can you say no to these BBQ Turkey Sloppy Joes when there’s so much flavor packed into such a cute little bite?!

You can’t. So ditch the idea of skipping the appetizers on New Year’s Eve (or the Superbowl, or your next housewarming, or anytime, really) and whip up a batch of these instead.

Close view of a single BBQ Turkey Sloppy Joe on a wooden board

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Let’s Get Cookin’

BBQ Turkey Sloppy Joes

These tasty Whole30-friendly BBQ Turkey Sloppy Joes can be served as a hearty party appetizer or satisfying weeknight dinner. And with just a handful of ingredients, they’re easy to whip up whenever that BBQ craving strikes.

  • Author: Jessica Beacom
  • Prep Time: 15 mins.
  • Cook Time: 25 mins.
  • Total Time: 40 mins.
  • Yield: 8 sandwiches (as an appetizer)
  • Cuisine: Whole30, Paleo, Dairy-Free


For the Sloppy Joes:

  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 2 tsp. avocado or olive oil
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. The New Primal Classic BBQ Cooking & Dipping Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Potato Buns:

  • 2 large baking potatoes, cut into 16 slices
  • 1 tsp. avocado or olive oil

For the Slaw:

  • 2 cups broccoli slaw or shredded coleslaw mix
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (such as Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Scant ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Serving:


For the Potato Buns:

  1. Preheat oven to 375℉. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Wash and dry potatoes. Cut into 16 slices (¼ – ½-inch thick). Toss potato slices on a baking sheet with oil and arrange in a single layer.
  3. Bake 15-25 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.

For the Sloppy Joes:

  1. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat (medium if using cast iron). Add oil and when oil starts to shimmer, add diced peppers and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, 7-8 minutes or until vegetables start to soften. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  2. Add ground turkey. Use a large spoon to break up turkey and cook until meat is almost cooked through.
  3. Add tomato paste, BBQ sauce, and water. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until turkey is cooked through and sauce is slightly thickened and hot. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

For the Slaw:

  1. Place broccoli slaw in a bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste then toss with broccoli slaw.

To Serve:

  1. Place a few spinach or arugula leaves on each of the potato slices then divide sloppy joe mixture evenly among the 8 rounds. Top with slaw and thinly sliced red onion. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and top with another potato round. Skewer with a wooden pick, if desired.


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  • Serving Size: 1 sandwich (1.5 ounces meat + 2 potato rounds)
  • Calories: 206
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 184mg
  • Fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 17g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 13g

What’s your favorite hearty appetizer? What makes it a favorite – easy to prepare, tasty, etc.? Share in the comments below!


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Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter

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