My grandma absolutely loves Italian food, so I decided to make a twist on classic sloppy joe sandwiches just for her. The mozzarella, tomato sauce and red peppers make it fun! —Kristen Heigl, Staten Island, New York
Recommended: Slow Cooker Sandwich Recipes
VERIFIED BY Taste of Home Test Kitchen
- 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
- 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
- 2 cans (8 ounces each ) no-salt-added tomato sauce
- 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
- 16 slices smoked mozzarella cheese (about 3/4 pound)
- 8 hoagie buns, split and toasted
- Pickled hot cherry peppers, optional
- In a large skillet, cook and crumble sausage with red pepper and onion over medium-high heat until no longer pink, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a 3- or 4-qt. slow cooker.
- In same pan, cook and crumble beef over medium-high heat until on longer pink, 5-7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, add beef to slow cooker. Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, garlic powder and, if desired, liquid smoke. Cook, covered, on low until flavors are blended, 4-5 hours.
To serve, place cheese on bun bottoms; top with meat mixture and, if desired, peppers. Close sandwiches.
Freeze option: Freeze cooled meat mixture in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if necessary. Yield: 8 servings.
Originally published as Italian Sausage Sloppy Joes in Simple & Delicious April/May 2017