These Sloppy Joes are everything you could wish for in a crowd-pleasing sandwich: a rich, meaty filling, smothered in a tangy-sweet, thick tomato sauce that refuses to stay inside the bun.

And it's about half the calories and a fifth of the fat of your average Sloppy Joe.

The trick is using a combo of lean beef (at least 90 percent lean), hearty beans and amping up with extra veggies. Then I use molasses as a sweetener, which is unrefined and has a significant amount of essential minerals.

What you need:

1 pound lean or extra-lean (90 percent lean or higher) ground beef

1 medium onion, diced (about 1 1⁄2 cups)

4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)

One 15.5-ounce can small red or pinto beans, preferably low-sodium, drained and rinsed

1 1⁄2 cups no-salt-added tomato sauce

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dry mustard

3/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

8 whole-wheat burger buns


Brown the meat and onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for five minutes, breaking up the meat into crumbles as it cooks. Pour the drippings out of the pan and discard. Add the garlic, jalapeño and red pepper, and cook five minutes more, stirring occasionally. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, except the buns, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Place a 1/2 cup scoop of the mixture onto each bun and serve.

Serves 8

Serving size: 1 sandwich

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 265

Total fat: 4.5 grams

Monosaturated fat: 1.5 grams

Polysaturated fat: 1.2 grams

Saturated fat: 1.1 grams

Protein: 20 grams

Carbohydrates: 40 grams

Fiber: 8 grams

Cholesterol: 30 milligrams

Sodium: 535 milligrams

Ellie Krieger is a best-selling author, registered dietician and host of the hit show, “Healthy Appetite,” on the Food Network. Learn more at elliekrieger.com.