Pumpkin Sloppy Joes

A seasonal spin on the classic favorite sloppy joe, plus it has added nutrients from using real pumpkin in the sauce. The best part is it can be made gluten free, refined sugar free, and 100% plant based so anyone can enjoy!

Pumpkin is not just for dessert!  I love this pumpkin sloppy joe recipe because it is a creative savory spin on the classic sandwich plus it makes it perfect for fall! Plus it can be made so many different ways.  The first time I made this, and what you see in the photos on this post, these are actually made with a vegan protein alternative.  Making these 100% plant based sloppy joes!  You can also choose to make them with ground beef or ground turkey, so feel free to make these yours.

If you are still looking for more pumpkin ideas after you eat this for dinner be sure to check out my pumpkin , my 

vegan pumpkin sloppy joes

Ingredients You’ll Need for your Pumpkin Sloppy Joes:

  • Protein – I suggest lean ground turkey, ground beef, or a vegan protein alternative for your base.  If choosing meat, I am usually a lean ground turkey gal myself, or for a vegan option, I made these with Pure Farmland’s vegan protein starters.
  • Onion  and bell pepper – I used a white onion and a red bell pepper to add some crunch to the sloppy joe, as well as some good flavor, and it also helps with the nutritional value too.  Win win!
  • Garlic – I don’t think I need to even explain this one!   Garlic always adds some great flavor.
  • Ketchup – the base of any great sloppy joe sauce in my opinion!  You can use regular ketchup, no sugar added ketchup, even something like a beet ketchup if that is more your style! Feel free to do what you want here.  But if you use one that doesn’t have any sugar, just taste the sauce before you serve and maybe add a little maple syrup to bring the sweetness to it.
  • Pumpkin puree – for the pumpkin flavor of course!  Pumpkin puree blends so well into this sauce it makes it extra creamy.
  • Mustard – I use dijon mustard in this recipe to add a little texture and a good tang.
  • Coconut aminos – most sloppy joe recipes will use worcestershire sauce to give them a little bit of an umami flavor, but I sub that out for coconut aminos because I think it is just a little cleaner of an ingredient.  But you can definitely use worcestershire if you don’t have any coconut aminos!
  • Spices – I used salt because, well salt makes everything better 😛 and then a little nutmeg too.  The nutmeg plays off the pumpkin flavor really well and I promise it is not too much to be overpowering!
pumpkin sloppy joes

Tips for the Perfect Pumpkin Sloppy Joes:

This recipe is pretty straightforward so I don’t have too many tips, so if I miss something that you have a question about please don’t hesitate to reach out to me to ask the question!  You can do so by leaving a comment at the end of this post, or shoot me a DM on Instagram.  But here they are:

  • if you use a ketchup that has no added sugar – I recommend adding a tablespoon or two of maple syrup.  Sloppy joes are supposed to have some sweetness to them, and this will get you that without any refined sugar.
  • Cook your meat most of the way before adding the sauce – It gets a little tricky to see if meat is fully cooked once there is sauce all over it, and I don’t like risking that.  So I tend to cook it mostly all the way through and then I just lower the temperature when I add the sauce so that it doesn’t over cook.

And that is really it!  In addition to your listed ingredients, you will need:

  • a pan
  • cooking spray or some olive oil for greasing your pan
  • a spatula


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pumpkin sloppy joe

Pumpkin Sloppy Joes

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Megan
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Gluten Free Option, Vegan Option, Refined Sugar Free Option

A seasonal spin on the classic favorite sloppy joe, plus it has added nutrients from using real pumpkin in the sauce. The best part is it can be made gluten free, refined sugar free, and 100% plant based so anyone can enjoy!


  • 16 oz ground turkey, beef, or vegan protein alternative
  • 1/2 white onion – diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper – diced
  • 1 clove garlic – minced
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 hamburger buns


  1. Sautee your onion, pepper, and garlic on a greased pan over medium heat until they begin to soften.
  2. Add your turkey or beef to the pan, break up into ground pieces, and cook until brown (if you are using a less lean meat, drain before adding sauce ingredients).
  3. Decrease the heat to low, add the remaining ingredients for the sauce, and cook until protein is evenly coated and flavors are evenly distributed.
  4. Serve warm on a hamburger bun.


Gluten free option – just use gluten free buns and if using a vegan meat alternative make sure that is also gluten free.

Vegan option – use a vegan meat alternative.  The photos on this post are made with Pure Farmland vegan protein starters and we loved them!

Refined sugar free option – make sure your ketchup is refined sugar free.  And then if you think it isn’t sweet enough you can use maple syrup.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Amer


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe

If you try this recipe please leave a rating and a review in a comment below! It would mean the world to me 🙂 If you remake on Instagram please also tag me at @donutworry_behealthy when you share so I can see your creation!


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