Fabio's Not-So-Sloppy Joes

Fabio reveals the secret to make perfectly textured Sloppy Joes that not only melt in your mouth, they stay on the bun! His one-pot, easy family dinner is a sure-fire crowd pleaser that's destined to become a regular player at your house. Before trick or treating this Halloween, fuel up first with a good meal.


  • Texture and flavor secrets! Be sure to use a small dice on your peppers in order to make even-sized bites for your sandwiches. Using thin slices of steak instead of ground beef helps keeps the sandwich together without sacrificing any flavors.
  • Sloppy Joes, or any messy sandwich, don't necessarily have to be a sloppy headache for parents. Wrap the sandwiches in parchment and make it portable. This also helps to keep the good, sloppy, stuff inside rather than on your kids' clothes or on the floor.
  • Grill your buns for added flavor, and to help your sandwich from sogging out.
Not-so-sloppy joes


Recipe by Fabio Viviani

Yield: 4 large or 6 small sandwiches


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ red bell peppers, finely diced

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoos yellow mustard seed

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 ½ lbs top round steak, sliced paper-thin (ask your butcher)

1 cup beef broth

1 16-oz can diced tomatoes, drained, with liquid reserved (**see Chef's Note)

2 tablespoons molasses

1 tablespoons golden brown sugar

4 whole wheat buns, or slider buns, sliced in half

extra virgin olive oil for drizzling buns


Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Add the red bell peppers and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Season with paprika, garlic powder, mustard seed, and pinches of salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.

Add the steak and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring gently and frequently until the beef loses its raw, pink color. Add beef broth, tomatoes, molasses and brown sugar. Again, stir to incorporate.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 40-45 minutes, until the beef is tender and the sauce thickened. (**Cook's Note: You shouldn't have a lot of liquid remaining, but if you prefer more sauce, add the reserved tomato juice and cook as instructed above, seasoning to taste.)

To toast the buns: heat a grill pan to medium-high. Drizzle olive oil on the cut-side of the buns and place down on the hot grill. Toast until crispy and golden brown. Alternatively, toast to your desired doneness in a toaster or oven.