(Secret) Zucchini & Beef Sloppy Joes

1 1/4 lb 90% ground beef
6 oz tomato paste
3/4 cup water or beef stock
1 medium zucchini, shredded
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 long hot green pepper, diced
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground chipotle
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground roasted ginger
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt

In a large saucepan, saute the garlic, pepper, onion and zucchini in olive oil until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add beef and saute until brown, stirring to break up the meat. Add the remaining ingredients. Saute, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes, until thickened. I served mine sprinkled with cheddar on onion rolls with a side of tots.

My thoughts:

It seems like every year or so I get the urge to make sloppy joes. I don’t know why, really. Nostalgia, I guess. I frequently make them with a bit of carrot tossed in but this time I had a zucchini on the verge so I shredded that up and tossed that in instead. Now, we are both adults here so I don’t need to “sneak” extra vegetables into our food (I mostly do it to stretch the meat out and add moisture) but if you do need to sneak some veg into someone, this is a great way to do it! The zucchini really “disappears” into the meat, I knew it was there and I couldn’t taste or detect it at all.

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