Sloppy Vanessas From Scratch

Sloppy Joes are most certainly on my list of foods that make my tummy smile. Eating hot, saucy beef slopped down on a bun is the best. I also love the amazing fun in trying to scoop the sandwich up without losing all the meat and the attempts at NOT painting my face, hands and shirt red with barbecue sauce. These are always failed attempts. I am always covered in sauce and I am always scraping the fallen meat off my plate (with a spoon or fork if you’re lucky.) Despite the fact that I am a lady, I eat like a caveman. Sorry (not sorry).


I’ll also apologize to Joe (Who is Joe?), for renaming his sandwich. I’m calling these Sloppy Vanessas because I made them and I love them so much they need to be distinguishable from the average Joe version.

This recipe is paleo-friendly, including the amazing grain-free, nut-free hamburger buns. You can find the recipe I followed to make the buns here.) I wanted to make everything from scratch, so I made my own barbecue sauce to cook the beef in too. It my come as a surprise to you, but both homemade barbecue sauce AND these buns are really easy to make. If you can pour things in a pot or bowl, you got this! 🙂

Let’s get down to business.

The beauty of this recipe is that it’s really three recipes. You can go ahead and make the sandwiches, or just steal the barbecue sauce or hamburger bun recipe to use for something else.



  • This Hungry Kitten Barbecue Sauce (recipe below)
  • About 2 pounds of ground beef (this is roughly 2 average store bought packages)
  • Optional: 6 slices of preservative-free bacon (This just makes it better, that’s all.)
  • Optional: I didn’t show this, but you can also add sauteed chopped onions, peppers and/or mushrooms to this recipe for a version with some chunky veggies. You could also blend onions and peppers and add them to the sauce for more flavour.
  • 5 grain-free, nut-free hamburger buns (recipe below)

NOTE: This recipe makes more saucy beef than buns. Your options are:

  1. Cut the sauce recipe and beef in half.
  2. Save leftover beef for tomorrow. (I love leftovers.)
  3. Make more buns.


This Hungry Kitten Barbecue Sauce

*You can play around with the dry spices. If you don’t have all of them it should still taste fine, and you can change some according to your own taste.

  • 1 can tomato paste (about 150mL or 5.5 oz)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons raw organic honey
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon dry ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon organic, no-salt, all purpose seasoning
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • *optional: 1-2 tablespoons of molasses. I like the deep, dark sweetness of molasses. If you have it lying around, throw it in!


1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium-large saucepan on medium to high heat. Bring it to a light boil and stir to dissolve all the ingredients.

2. If you’re making Sloppy Vanessas then leave the sauce as is for now, or leave on low heat to stay warm until you add your ground beef (and any veggies if you’re adding them.)

IF ONLY MAKING BARBECUE SAUCE: If you’re only wanting to make the barbecue sauce, then leave on medium to low heat simmering for about an hour until it thickens to a consistency that you like.


3. Brown the ground beef in a frying pan. (No oil needed.)

4. Once beef is cooked, you can drain out excess fat and add it to the pot of barbecue sauce. Stir. Allow the beef and sauce to simmer on low to medium heat for about 45 minutes or until it the mixture thickens up to your liking.


5. If you’re adding bacon: I usually cook it up after the beef is in the pot, slightly crisped in a frying pan and then chop it up on a cutting board and throw it in with the beef and sauce. You can cook the bacon however you like.

If you’re adding veggies: Add your sauteed or blended onions and peppers to the pot after adding the beef.


6. Make your buns while then beef simmers and it should all be ready at the same time. (Bun recipe below)


Grain-Free, Nut-Free Hamburger Buns


  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (I used less, maybe 3/8 or a bit more than a 1/4 cup)
    *you can also use butter, ghee, or another oil if you like*
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • pinch of salt

*Keep in mind these buns are made with coconut flour and coconut oil, so they will have a hint of coconut flavour to them. If that’s not something you want, you can substitute for a different bun. 🙂


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Combine coconut flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.


3. Add eggs, coconut oil to dry mixture and mix. As you keep mixing you will achieve a dough-like consistency…a tad bit wet, but it shouldn’t run or stick your hands. It may not be as stretchy and bouncy as regular wheat-based dough. That’s ok.

4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. You should be able to fit 5 buns on one tray, they don’t puff out much. I used two trays to be safe, but you don’t have to.

5. Divide your dough into 5 dough patties. They same way you would make burger patties. I made sure there weren’t any cracks in them. Lay the dough patties on your baking tray.

6. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and let cool.


By now your saucy beef sandwich filling should have thickened up and is ready to be slopped into a bun.

Gently slice your buns in half. (Be careful they’re thin!)

Slop a few giant spoonfuls of beef into each bun and you’ve got yourself a Sloppy Vanessa Saucy Sammy!

Live life on the messy side and dig in! Doesn’t matter who’s watching. You deserve to devour these how they’re meant to be devoured, with red fingers and a sauced up smile. Just shower after dinner. 🙂


Enjoy! xo

One thought on “Sloppy Vanessas From Scratch

  1. A better option for your excess slop (if that is the proper term?) would be to bring it to your father! Along with a second batch of buns, of course.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s