Sloppy Joe Lettuce Cups

4.80 stars average

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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

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
Servings12 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.

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Calories: 282kcalCarbohydrates: 24.5gProtein: 23.6gFat: 8.6gSaturated Fat: 2.6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6.6gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 868mgFiber: 3.3gSugar: 11.4g
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27 responses to “Sloppy Joe Lettuce Cups”

  1. Angela Mielke Avatar
    Angela Mielke

    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.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Apologies on that Angela! Glad you made it work out!

  2. mark Avatar


  3. Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) Avatar
    Kelli H (Made in Sonoma)

    This was really easy! I didn’t have an onion on hand so I used a red bell pepper — still delicious. I’ll definitely make it again in the future as it came together in less than 30 minutes.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog Avatar
    Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog

    LOVE the sound of these! Sloppy Joes are something that I never really had as a kid, but now that I’m an adult, funnily enough I’ve had them a few times and love them, so I’ll have to try them with lettuce cups!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      You know I didn’t either and I swear I love them more now as an adult!