Gluten-Free Sloppy Joe Pasta

by Susan on April 6, 2017

I don’t like kitchen messes, so the notion of a “sloppy Joe” makes me shudder. Having seen my son try to wrangle a lettuce wrap, I have no desire to make him a traditional Joe (and want to avoid a gluten-filled bun anyway). I’ve made a few different creative riffs on the dish, but I think this adaptation of a Rachael Ray recipe has been everyone’s favorite to date.

My kids simply can’t go without their pasta, so I turned the dish gluten-free by using brown rice pasta. The only other questionable ingredient in the original recipe is the Worcestershire sauce, but a little label reading offers up plenty of gluten-free varieties.

I used both diced tomatoes and tomato sauce instead of just the latter, and mixed a little of the cheese into the meat mixture before popping it in the oven. I also used ground turkey for my protein, but any ground meat would taste delicious.

If you’re dairy-free, choose a vegan cheese and you’re good to go!

Gluten-Free Sloppy Joe Pasta
adapted from Rachael Ray

3 tbs. palm sugar
3 tbs. apple cider vinegar
3 tbs. gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 lb. ground beef, turkey or chicken
salt & pepper, to taste
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 minced garlic cloves
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup organic chicken broth
12 oz. brown rice pasta of choice
2 cups sharp shredded cheddar
finely chopped dill pickles or organic dill pickle relish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce in a small bowl. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook until well browned. Season with salt and lots of pepper. Add the garlic, bell peppers and onions and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Pour the tomato mixture over the beef, add the beef broth and stir until well combined. Simmer until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in a large pot of salted boiling water until not quite tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and add to the sauce and meat mixture in the skillet. Stir to combine. Add about 1/2 cup cheese to the mixture and stir to mix in. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake until the casserole is bubbling and the top is browned, about 5 minutes. Top with the pickles and serve from the dish.

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