Sloppy Joe Lettuce Cups

A modern twist on the childhood classic, these sweet and smoky turkey sloppy joes are served in a crisp lettuce cup for a naturally gluten free spin on America’s favorite sandwich.

Sloppy Joe Lettuce Cups - The Lemon Bowl

In this Post: Everything you need for Sloppy Joe Lettuce Cups

I know people always say this but losing weight has been so much harder and slow going after baby number 2 than it was after my first. I am constantly having to take a step back to reevaluate my nutrition and fitness routine as I work to break through one plateau after another.

One trick that always seems to work is increasing the percentage of calories that come from protein in my diet. These Turkey Sloppy Joe Lettuce Cups started out as a “clean the fridge” late summer dinner using up a head of iceberg lettuce, zucchini, and corn but they ended up being one of the most delicious, FAST dinner ideas to date. 

Sloppy Joes Lettuce Cups - The Lemon Bowl

Naturally gluten free and packed with protein, these lettuce cups were a huge hit and totally fun to eat. The minced red onion added a hint of spicy sweetness to every crunchy bite. A little sriracha on top never hurts either.

No forks required.

Sloppy Joes Lettuce Cups - The Lemon Bowl

Sloppy Joe Lettuce Cups

4.80 stars average
These sweet and smoky turkey sloppy joes are served in a crisp lettuce cup for a naturally gluten-free spin on America's favorite sandwich.
PREP: 5 minutes
COOK: 15 minutes
TOTAL: 20 minutes
Servings: 12 lettuce cups


  • 1 pound ground turkey breast (or beef)
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 zucchini (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose steak seasoning (I use McCormick’s)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 14 ounce can tomato sauce (salt free)
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce (I use Trader Joe’s all natural)
  • ½ cup corn (fresh or frozen)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cups iceberg lettuce – to serve
  • minced red onion (optional garnish)


  • Heat a large, deep sauté pan over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add ground turkey and begin breaking up with a wooden spoon.
  • While turkey is browning, dice up the onion, garlic and zucchini then toss into the pan. Stir occasionally while meat continues to brown and veggies begin to soften.
  • Add Worcestershire, steak seasoning and smoked paprika to the pan and continue cooking until most of the liquid evaporates, about 7-9 minutes.
  • Add tomato sauce and barbecue sauce to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir then reduce heat to low to simmer. Stir in corn then continue to simmer on low for 10 minutes.
  • Check for seasoning before serving in iceberg lettuce cups. Garnish with red onion if you wish.


Calories: 282kcalCarbohydrates: 24.5gProtein: 23.6gFat: 8.6gSaturated Fat: 2.6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6.6gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 868mgFiber: 3.3gSugar: 11.4g

27 thoughts on “Sloppy Joe Lettuce Cups”

  1. These were delicious, but way too much liquid. I had to simmer them a long time. Next time I will use one of the small tomato sauce cans instead of large.

  2. I’ve been reading a lot about healthy nutrition lately, and the bottom line I’ve gotten is that protein is the key to losing weight, especially if you cut back on starchy carbs. And sugar. Protein is far more satisfying than fast carbs and does not create cravings like those carbs do. I wish you the best in your quest to lose the extra weight.

  3. I love sloppy joes and I never use a bun anymore but I like the idea of putting them in a lettuce wrap.
    I hear you about losing the baby weight. After child #1, the weight came right off. Then there was child #2 that I gained more with in utero and never managed to get all of that weight off. Then there was child #3 where I only gained 12 pounds while preggars but the weight is just stuck there it seems. Anyways, thanks for the wonderful idea.

  4. If I ever ask Larry – what do you want me to make for dinner – he always says SLOPPY JOE’S! It’s a given. :) These look perfect. I love the lettuce cups!

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