I realize this is the world of Insta-pots, but by nature I am just the opposite. I love the soul-satisfying experience of slow cooking, and the joy of putting something into the oven at a low temperature for an entire day. A long, slow cooking process is absolutely life enhancing for me. I received a message from a follower who said she had recently rediscovered her soul in the kitchen and reminded herself that cooking is like art: there are no rules. That’s it in a nutshell. In honor of that, I share with you my Paleo Sloppy Joe recipe.

Some people live by a recipe and follow it to a T, but not I. With my Marinated Red Onions, Magic Elixirs, and Heroine Chicken, I stick to the program, but for almost everything else, I like the idea of really playing in the kitchen. This Sloppy Joe is a work in progress, so the next time you look at the recipe you will likely see that I’ve changed it.

Some Paleo recipes are easier than others, but with a Sloppy Joe, cooking the sugar down for hours creates a certain magic. So, when you remove sugar from a recipe, it’s an advanced kung fu move to try to figure out what alternative magic will perfect the recipe. I’m not going to lie, the Paleo Sloppy Joe is not quite the same as my original, but it’s pretty darn good. And I’m well aware that there are a lot of ingredients, but the reality is, it’s worth it. They are sort of the palette I work with, and you will find that you’ll use them again and again–but feel free to tweak it with your own magic ingredients. If you can’t find sumac or Aleppo pepper, which by the way are absolutely worth hunting down, use extra chili powder. And I highly recommend doubling the recipe, because the mixture freezes beautifully. When you make yours, please be sure to tag me on Instagram @nocrumbsleft and use #nocrumbsleft so I can find you.

Flavors like coconut aminos, hot sauce, Aleppo pepper, sumac, dried chilis, balsamic vinegar, and tomato paste are the stuff of solidly delicious Paleo cooking. If you want to cook this way, these are the elements you need in your kitchen, and they are probably more important than having a fancy pan.

If you’re not keeping a Whole30 or Paleo diet, make sure you try my other Sloppy Joe recipe!

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Paleo Sloppy Joes

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  • Author: nocrumbsleft
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 6-9 hrs
  • Total Time: approx. 9 hrs
  • Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 12 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, if needed
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more if needed
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sumac, optional
  • 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper, optional
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 dry chipotle peppers, ground, (if you can find them at your grocery store)
  • 26 oz. cans tomato paste (use compliant if doing Whole30)
  • 114 oz. can tomatoes with liquid, (fire roasted if possible), pureed (use compliant if doing Whole30)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • A few dashes of hot sauce (use compliant if doing Whole30)


Preheat the oven to 200F.

Prepare and measure all ingredients. Set aside.

Place a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the beef and if needed, 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil. Stirring occasionally, cook for 1 minute. 

Add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic, and stirring to break up the meat, cook until meat is cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the salt, pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, dry mustard, cayenne pepper, sumac, and Aleppo pepper, stirring to combine. 

Add the vinegars and stir to combine well. 

Add the tomato paste, pureed tomatoes, coconut aminos and optional hot sauce and stir to combine well. 

Transfer to a slow cooker, Bain-marie, or keep in the Dutch oven and place into a larger pan with water and place in the oven. Cover and cook, stirring every ninety minutes, until done, about 6 hours. 


  1. Make sure to replenish water in the pan when needed, if it evaporates. I like to try a bit along the way and decide when it tastes perfect. (We generally can’t wait much longer than 5 or 6 hours because anyone who comes within a mile of my kitchen or happens to call me on the phone that day is eager to eat it.) You may end up cooking between 4-6 hours, depending on your idea of the perfect Sloppy Joe. Add more sugar or vinegar as desired. 

What is a baine-marie? Also known as a water bath or double boiler, a baine-marie is a piece of equipment used in cooking to heat food gently. A bain-marie is also used to melt ingredients for cooking.