Healthy Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole (Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)

Healthy Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole (Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)

This Meal is a Kid Pleaser!

In the early months of Brendon and my marriage, I had a mission to find new dishes that Brynn would eat. At the time, she really just ate mac and cheese, egg sandwiches, alfredo, and peanut butter. I am sure that in reality there were a few other things, but it felt really limited. I was frustrated with how picky she was.

So, I went to Pinterest and set out to try new recipes with her to eventually find at least a handful that she would eat. One night we tried a recipe for sloppy joe cornbread casserole, and she gobbled it down quick! Since then, it has been one of her favorite foods. Here is the original recipe.

However, once I moved to more of a real food diet, especially aiming for low gluten and refined sugar free, this recipe wasn’t making the cut in my meal planning. I felt bad because Brynn loved it so much. So, I set out to make a paleo friendly version that I could feel good about.

Now, since this is a more labor intensive recipe than the original that involves a box mix and a can of sauce, I decided it was essential to batch cook it and freeze a few to make it worth the effort. That way I can cook once and have 4+ dinners. Otherwise, I was not going to be serving this for dinner on a regular basis. Even a food lover like me doesn’t have a ton of time to be stuck in the kitchen!

Thankfully, I made this revised, healthier version, and she ate it with the same excitement as usual without the processed ingredients. YAY!


1. Paleo Sloppy Joe Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ cup Paleo Whole30 Ketchup, or ketchup of choice (ideally refined sugar-free)
  • 1 TBSP coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Optional: Kids may want it sweeter so I would add some honey once you give it a taste test

Note: I removed some of the veggies from the original paleo sloppy joe sauce recipe I found to make it more friendly for picky eaters

2. 1-1.5 lb pasture-raised ground chicken, turkey, or beef

3. Gluten-free, refined sugar free corn bread mix

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 TBSP coconut sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream (grass-fed)
  • 1/4 whole milk (or milk of choice)
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 4 TBSP melted grass-fed butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a blender.
  3. Brown the ground meat in a pan on medium heat with butter or coconut oil to coat the pan.
  4. Pour the sauce into the pan with the meat, and stir to heat through. This should take 1-2 minutes.
  5. Place the meat mixture in a 9 by 11 pan.
  6. Mix the cornbread ingredients together.
  7. Pour the cornbread batter over the meat mixture. Spread it with a spatula to evenly coat the top.
  8. Bake in the oven at 400 F for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Check the middle of the cornbread to make sure it is fully cooked by sticking a toothpick into it. If the toothpick comes out clean, then it is done.
  10. You can either serve immediately, or you can make several at one time, let them cool, and freeze covered to reheat for quick weeknight meals.

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