I am convinced that this is the best sloppy joe I have ever had. It’s sweet, spicy, smoky and sophisticated. It’s like the grown up version of the childhood favorite! I simmered the spiced ground beef in tomato sauce, spiked it with a hit of tangy apple cider vinegar and added a bit of sweet and slightly bitter molasses. I used both paprika and smoked paprika to add a mild, smoky flavor to the dish and I used cayenne to add some heat. Roby and I both loved this recipe and I’m so sure that you and your family will love it too.
I had the hardest time trying to decide on a name for this recipe. I was trying to choose between “sloppy joe boats” or “sloppy joe spaghetti.” This recipe looks like sloppy joe in a boat but it tastes like sloppy joe spaghetti. I (obviously) went with boat, because that sounds more fun. Now that I’ve told you this story, I’m sure you’re probably thinking that I should’ve gone with spaghetti… or maybe you’re normal and don’t obsess over recipe titles the way I do. Forget the name, let’s call just call this delicious.
If you don’t have spaghetti squash, you can make boats out of zucchini, butternut squash, acorn squash, and probably several other vegetables. You could stuff this saucy filling into a bell pepper or serve it on top of a sweet potato. I like the spaghetti squash because not only does it serve as an awesome bowl (hooray for fewer dishes!), I can also twirl its noodle-like strands onto my fork the way I would if I were eating spaghetti with meat sauce. Have some fun, eat some sloppy joes and feel like a kid again.
Sloppy Joe Boats
- 1 (3-5 pound) Spaghetti Squash
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 yellow or white onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce or ½ cups tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- ½ cup water
- optional: cilantro for garnish
Cook the spaghetti squash
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Stab the squash in several places.
- Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until you can easily pierce the skin with a knife (cooking time depends on size of squash). While this is baking, you can prepare the sloppy joe filling (below).
- Remove seeds and use as a bowl.
Make the sloppy joe filling
- Add oil or fat of choice to a saute pan on medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, or until the onions have softened.
- Add the garlic and the spices, stir for a minute, then add the ground beef.
- Once the ground beef is mostly browned, stir in the tomato sauce, apple cider vinegar, molasses yellow mustard, and water.
- Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.