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Wondering What to Serve with Sloppy Joes? These 22 Ideas Are Sure to Satisfy

Sides for dishes like pizza, ribs and crab cakes are kind of a no-brainer. (Caesar salad, mac and cheese and coleslaw are our go-tos respectively, BTW.) But what about sloppy Joes, the tomatoey ground beef sammies of our youth? Generally speaking, you can treat them like any barbecue main or burger. Since they’re rich, meaty and savory, light, refreshing sides make a great foil. They also pair seamlessly with corn on the cob, fries and pickles. Looking for some fresh inspo? Read on to find out what to serve with sloppy Joes, from charred summer squash to BLT pasta salad.

Wondering What to Serve with Pulled Pork? We Have 31 Tasty Ideas


what to serve with sloppy joes rainbow vegetable skewers recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

1. Rainbow Vegetable Skewers

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegan, beginner-friendly

It doesn’t take much to show off this seasonal bounty, which includes bell peppers, zucchini eggplant, cherry tomatoes and red onions. Only use one veggie per skewer so each one cooks evenly.

what to serve with sloppy joes zucchini fries recipe
Photo: Eric Moran/Styling: Erin McDowell

2. Zucchini “fries”

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, vegetarian, sheet pan recipe, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

Salty, crispy, savory—and no deep fryer required. We figured this light take on fries is just right for summer (it’s zucchini season, after all), but you can totally go the standard spud route if you’d prefer.

what to serve with sloppy joes light and tangy coleslaw recipe
Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

3. Light And Tangy Coleslaw

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser, vegetarian

Coleslaw can be delicious without being weighed down by a boatload of mayo. Here, cabbage and scallions are dressed in a zingy mix of rice vinegar, Dijon mustard and Greek yogurt instead.

what to serve with sloppy joes caesar pasta salad recipe
Robert Bredvad/The Secret Ingredient Cookbook

4. Caesar Pasta Salad

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, make ahead

You’ll never be forced to choose between the two summer staples again. Instead of traditional eggs, the dressing gets its creaminess from buttery avocado.

what to serve with sloppy joes corn fritters with elote dip recipe
Katherine Gillen

5. Corn Fritters With Elote Dip

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy

We’d round up all the corn on the cob in sight at the farmers market if we were you. The tangy lime-sour cream dip will cut right through the richness of the fritters—and sloppy Joes.

what to serve with sloppy joes watermelon feta salad recipe
Yumna Jawad/Feel Good Foodie

6. Watermelon Cucumber Salad With Feta And Honey-lime Dressing

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

No sweltering weather is a match for this super refreshing salad. Make it up to two days ahead of the cookout to spare yourself some stress on the big day. (Our tip: If you do make it two days early, add the feta just a few hours before the party, so the flavors can meld but things don’t get too soggy.)

what to serve with sloppy joes no cook rainbow bruschetta recipe 921
Photo: Jon Cospito/Styling: Heath Goldman

7. Rainbow Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, <30 minutes, vegetarian, special occasion-worthy, crowd-pleaser

Juicy heirloom tomatoes meet garlicky baguette and herbed ricotta to create an appetizer (or side) that’s as elegant as it is simple and seasonal.

8. Charred Summer Squash With Whipped Feta

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, special occasion-worthy, one pan

Give the TikTok-famous baked feta pasta a break in favor of this stunner. Feel free to ditch the naan and chickpeas to make this dish more of a side.

what to serve with sloppy joes ranch potato salad recipe
Katherine Gillen

9. Ranch Potato Salad

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, crowd-pleaser, make ahead, beginner-friendly

Behold: Two of our all-time warm-weather favorites, united at last. A flurry of minced herbs (parsley! dill! chives! cilantro!) takes the homemade ranch dressing over the top.

10. Sweet And Spicy Cornbread

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pan, crowd-pleaser, make ahead

You had us at honey butter, but cayenne pepper in the batter and Fresno chiles on top really seal the sweet-and-spicy deal.

what to serve with sloppy joes slow cooker baked beans recipe
Photo: Eric Moran/Styling: Erin McDowell

11. Slow Cooker Baked Beans

  • Time Commitment: 6 hours and 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: slow cooker recipe, one pot, make ahead, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

No barbecue is complete without them, and if you ask us, neither is sloppy Joe night. The beans’ tomatoey profile makes them just the match for the iconic sandwich.

12. Crunchy Broccoli Salad

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly, make ahead

Even picky kids won’t mind seeing this on their plates, thanks to the shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon and cool yogurt dressing in the mix.

13. Grilled Sweet Potatoes With A Dilly Dip

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, vegetarian

Just as tasty as sweet potato fries, but a million times more sophisticated. Chalk it up to the herby yogurt dressing and dill sprigs. (Oh, and those dreamy char marks.)

14. Swedish ‘pizzasallad’ Cabbage Slaw

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: vegan, make ahead, one bowl, no cook

At Swedish pizzerias, this simple cabbage slaw tossed in sharp, vinegary dressing comes with every slice. Personally, the crunchy poppy and sunflower seeds are our favorite part.

15. Blt Pasta Salad

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients

We’ll take tender pasta over white sandwich bread any day. The rest of the ingredients are true to the O.G.: shatteringly crisp black pepper bacon, romaine lettuce, tomatoes and a mayo-based dressing.

16. Easy Homemade Pickles

  • Time Commitment: 48 hours (includes marinating time)
  • Why We Love It: vegan, beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients, make ahead

Nothing cuts through fatty, meaty sloppy Joes (or brisket) like a mouth-puckering dill pickle. Be sure to pack the Kirby cukes in the pickling solution at least two days before you plan to eat them.

17. Cauliflower “tater” Tots

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, vegetarian

You won’t need to peel a single potato to pull these poppable gems off. All it takes is three cups of prepared cauliflower rice, which is easier to make at home than you think.

Get the recipe

18. Marinated White Bean And Tomato Salad

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: make ahead, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, vegan

This summer side with a glass of wine? Swoon. The recipe only requires five minutes of prep, since it starts with canned white beans instead of dried.

19. Za’atar Grilled Eggplant And Zucchini

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients, vegan

The Middle Eastern spice blend is equal parts herby, earthy and nutty. The veggies would taste even better with a drizzle of yogurt, tahini or green goddess sauce.

20. Tomato-peach Caprese Skewers

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, <30 minutes, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

Finger food just tastes better on a stick, so serve this popular charcuterie combo on skewers instead of a cheese board—and don’t be shy with the balsamic glaze.

21. Grilled Corn With Spicy Aioli

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegetarian, beginner-friendly

Sriracha aioli > butter and salt, no contest. Do we dare smear some of the spicy mayo on our sloppy Joe buns? Survey says yes.

22. One-pot Mac And Cheese

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: one pot, kid-friendly, vegetarian, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

A sloppy Joe paired with this buttery, cheesy classic? Consider yourself mom of the year. The secret to its silky texture and tang is cream cheese.


For even more great recipes, check out our first cookbook, Only the Good Stuff.