When you prepare lunch for the same people every day, you want to constantly bring in new dishes to prevent them from getting bored. It's crucial to bring in different cuisines on a daily basis; no one wants pizza or hamburgers every day. I like to keep it interesting and even combine some classic dishes to recreate a new one like these Italian sloppy joe sliders. I took the childhood classic, sloppy joes, and mashed it with a meatball sub to make Italian sloppy joes. It's actually quite simple but the results are fantastic. Beef simmered in marinara sauce and served with garlic spinach, melted mozzarella, and buttery buns, what's not to like?
Italian Sloppy Joe Sliders
- 2 lb ground beef
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 12 ounces fresh spinach
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- salt and pepper
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella sliced
- 8 slider buns toasted
- Heat large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, breaking up the meat with a spoon into smaller chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the beef, draining all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan.
- To the same pan, add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes – balsamic vinegar and bring to a simmer. Add the ground beef back to the pan and reduce heat to low. Continue to cook for 30 minutes or until the sauce has reduced. Season with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, prepare the spinach. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the spinach and garlic and saute until the spinach has wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Preheat broiler to high.
- Assemble the sliders. Top the bottom bun with spinach and a spoonful of the sloppy joe filling. Place a slice of fresh mozzarella on top and broil until cheese has melted, about 1-2 minutes. Top sliders with the remaining bun and serve.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Whether you're an adult or child, you will enjoy these sliders, I almost guarantee it. If you like meatball subs and sloppy joe, then I certainly guarantee it!
Start by making the ground beef filling. This step is basically like making a meat sauce except with more meat. Brown the meat, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. I personally do not add oil to the pan whenever I cook ground beef because it already has a high amount of fat. Make sure to season the meat after it's done browning to prevent it from drying out (salt draws out the moisture).
Remove the beef, saute the onion and garlic, add the remaining ingredients and the beef to the pan. Bring everything to a simmer and let it continue to cook for about 30 minutes. Keep the flame on low to prevent the beef from burning and the sauce from popping. The sauce will continue to reduce so don't worry if it looks too wet.
While the beef is cooking, saute the spinach. I go heavy on the garlic because I love garlic-y spinach. You can ease up on the aromatic but it works wonderfully with the sloppy joe filling.
Once the filling is ready, finish the Italian sloppy joe sliders by assembling them. Pile on the spinach on the bottom bun followed by the beef and the fresh mozzarella. Pop them in the broiler just until the cheese has melted about 2 minutes. Take a big bite out of that slider and get ready to loosen that belt. These Italian sloppy joe sliders are the perfect comfort food. Gooey melty cheese with savory beef slathered in a marinara sauce...it's so good that I'm about to reach for my fourth slider. I mean they're sliders so I can more than 2 right?
For more Italian sandwich inspiration, check out this spicy meatball sub with burrata!