Italian Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes.

Everyone loves them, right? Everyone that is…except for me. I mean, I love chili. I love tacos. I love burgers. The problem is that Sloppy Joes are always too sweet. Beef cloaked in a sweet ketchup-y sauce turns out flat and one-dimensional.

Then, when Kitchen Play asked me to develop an outdoor-friendly recipe for Land O Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend as part of their 30 Days of Outdoor Dining celebration, it got me thinking.

This cheese, made with Parmesan, Asiago, and Romano, has enough American cheese to make it perfect for melting enough Italian cheeses to give it sharpness and depth. This gave birth to Italian Sloppy Joes. Ground pork, Marsala wine, and roasted tomatoes combine for a totally new take on these sandwiches. They are so sloppy that they really should be eaten out of doors and can be finished on the grill or an indoor oven.

Best of all, the sandwich really highlights the tangy taste and smooth melting texture of the cheese.

Italian Sloppy Joes


2 lbs. ground pork
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup Marsala wine
1/4 cup cream or whole milk
3 cups fresh spinach, washed
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 Tbsp. each cleaned and chopped rosemary, sage, and basil
Salt and pepper to taste
8 slices Land O Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend cheese
8 sun-dried or oven dried tomatoes (re-hydrated in boiling water, if they are very tough)
8 hamburger buns or sandwich rolls, sliced

1. Put the onion and garlic in a large pan with the olive oil over medium heat. In about 10 minutes, the onions should be translucent and start to give off a deep, savory scent.

2. Add the herbs and for an additional 2 – 3 minutes, or until the herbs have wilted.

3. Add the pork and cook until the pork has become totally cooked through, with no pink color.

Some juices will collect at the bottom of the pan. Let them evaporate rather than draining them, because these juices enhance the flavor of the meat. This will take about 10 minutes.

4. Add the spinach and move it around for a minute or so until it wilts.

5. Add the wine, cream, and tomato paste. Then, taste for salt and pepper.

7. Put meat on top of one half of the roll…

with a tomato on top…

and finish with a slice of cheese.

8. Place in the broiler or under a grill, covered, until cheese is gooey and melted.

9. Top with remaining half of roll, and serve.

The pork’s natural sweetness blends with the fragrant Marsala wine, woodsy herbs, and fresh spinach to create a sophisticated ragu. Yet, the tomato paste and touch of cream ensures that it is familiar enough that kids will not be scared to try itand most likely, love it! Soft rolls soak up the meaty juices, and the sun-dried tomatoes provide a salty punch. The crown of glory here is the Land O Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend cheese – melty and stretchy, providing a gooey texture and a nutty, tangy taste. These are perfect with homemade potato chips and a pile of napkins. Ketchup can wait for burgers.

For the chance to try  Land O Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend, just read below:
Be sure to check Kitchen PLAY every day for the next fabulous recipe featuring new LAND O LAKES® 4 Cheese Italian Blend or LAND O LAKES® Deli American Cheese. Then, get in on the fun by leaving a comment with your own “30 Days of Outdoor Dining” tip for dining al fresco this summer. If you do, you’ll be entered to win a lovely grilling prize pack, including one grilling spatula, one marinade brush, one set of tongs and one grill scraper. Kitchen PLAY will be giving away four prizes total, one each week! Please visit Kitchen PLAY for sweepstakes guidelines.

Disclosure Statement
*Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Land O’Lakes as part of the Kitchen PLAY SideCar series. All
opinions given are my own.


  1. Cute recipe! I love sloppy joes!

    Just a heads up, I came here from Kitchen PLAY and the link has a grammatical error in it. Not sure if that would bother you but I thought I’d mention it!

    • fritosfg says:

      Oh, thank you so much, Rachel! I really appreciate you letting me know about the link! Hope that you enjoy the recipe, and headed to check out your site right now!

  2. I love sloppy joes, I am totally going to try this when it gets a little cooler! Thanks for sharing!