Ahh, Sloppy Joes. A staple in school cafeterias across the country, these All-American delicacies actually originated in the 20th century, you might be surprised to know. Research suggests their birthplace was Sioux City, Iowa.
If you’re thinking of cooking up a batch of your own for the nostalgia, you may be wondering what to pair them up with. We’re here to help, with some more school lunch throwbacks, and a few modern twists you’ll be glad you tried.
Covering carbohydrates, vegetables and even simple snacky accompaniments for those days you just can’t be bothered to prep, there’s no need to open any more tabs.
Without further ado, why don’t you serve your sloppy joe with...
Delicious, Delicious Carbs
No meal is complete without some comforting carbohydrates - much as they are berated by diet culture, we need them as part of a balanced diet. So load up your plate and feel nothing but satisfying fullness!
A perfect combination: the, well, sloppy texture of an SJ, paired with everyone’s favorite crispy, salty, spiralized potato creation.
No need to have ketchup on the side, as your sandwich has all the sauciness you need for dipping.
Mac And Cheese
A lovely, creamy, gooey cheese sauce to cut through the tangy sweetness of your meat, a nice pot of mac and cheese goes down a treat.
Throw in some finely chopped bacon or those wonderful store bought tubs of crispy bits for added crunch.
We promised more cafeteria favorites, and here they are. Was there ever a better couple than sloppy joes and the humble tot? We think not.
Little bites of cheesy, potatoey heaven on a plate. Add them INTO your sandwich if you’re feeling fancy.
Pasta or Potato Salad
Mostly found at cookouts and BBQs, these creamy carbs pair well with any meaty dish, especially when there are other savoury sauces to cut through and enhance.
Either choice is good with a Joe, so pick your favourite!
If you like things soft and buttery - and who could blame you! - then you’ll never go wrong with potatoes, thoroughly mashed and thickened with cream, or whipped into a silky saucy submission.
Infuse with cheese for added taste and texture.
Don’t Forget Your Vegetables
Not to sound like your parents and other authority figures, but you do need to eat your veggies. They’re full of vitamins and minerals. And to be honest, if you don’t like any, then it’s possible you just aren’t cooking them property. Sorry not sorry.
Another oldie but goldie, this often-way-overcooked dish can be pepped up just by being sure you only roast or boil them for as long as necessary, seasoning your water with a little sea salt and then plating with a good splash of sriracha. Zingy!
Corn on The Cob
Beloved by all who worship at the altar of barbecue, corn is a side dish enjoyed by most everyone, and for good reason.
Put some pep in your step by adding spices to your butter before you baste, and then roast or grill until toasted and tender.
Rustic Baked Beans
Hear us out - we’re not talking those sad and from a can beans.
Achieve your full five a day by combining butter beans with a thick, tomatoey sauce and plenty of garlic, as much spinach as your heart desires.
It only takes a few minutes and tastes so good.
Slightly more divisive than our other offerings, coleslaw is not everybody’s cup of tea, but it certainly pleases those who are.
It’s creamy and tart enough to cut through your sandwich, and pairs really well with simpler sides, like chips.
Fried Sweet Potato
Crispy, crunchy and tossed in cumin and paprika, spicy sweet potato with a bit of bite is a great match for the soft and sloppy sandwich.
Add a fried egg into the mix if you really want to step it up a gear.
Simple, Yet Effective
You’ve got a sudden hankering for Sloppy Joes, and you know you should probably have something else with that, but the idea of cooking a full meal is beyond your comprehension today. Not to worry - we’ve got your back.
Just combine a couple of these simple snacks and you’ve got yourself a feast!
Potato Chips (And Optional Dips)
Available in more flavors than you can shake a stick at (we recommend classic salted or something spicy, maybe even a corn tortilla), and great for scooping up those leftover meaty, saucy bites, their crunch is a welcome addition.
What goes better with a meaty sandwich than a deep fried, beer battered onion ring? Nothing, that’s what! Unless you’re allergic.
Fun fact - you can get frozen bags of these beautiful golden O’s at most supermarkets. Stock up and thank us later.
If you keep a jar of these sour, crunchy bad boys in your fridge, then you’ll always have a delicious side dish for any meal.
We can’t really say much more than that - they’re a small but mighty snack, and thanks to their pickling, last well in storage.
You might be thinking: more bread?! And we’re here to say… yes! You eat pizza and garlic bread together, and that’s essentially double the dough as well.
It’s always time for garlic bread, especially if you’re putting cheese in the mix.
Let’s face it, not everybody has the energy to whip up their own crudite on a whim.
Picking up a pre-prepared bag of fresh greens is a great way to get some goodness into your meal, without exerting too much effort.
Okay, this is kind of pushing it a little bit, but we swear there’s still only a couple of steps you need to take.
Just chop some bell peppers in half, stuff them with rice or cream cheese and bacon, and bake until crispy. We promise it’s worth it.
Remember: in order to have a balanced diet, it’s good to have a little bit of each food group. This doesn't matter for every meal, of course, but it’s worth bearing in mind as some good general advice!