Recipe: Back-to-school sloppy joes

Use lamb mince to put an Irish twist on the iconic kid’s school dinner recipe

American food writer Imen McDonnell discovered our country’s thriving food scene when she settled here with her Irish husband. Lamb is not as popular in American diets, but she has embraced this quality produce in her time here. As the kids go back to school, Imen shares a classic school dinner recipe, swapping out beef mince for lamb for a flavourful twist.

Lamb Sloppy Joes


  • 500g minced lamb
  • 2 tablesp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small green pepper, diced into small cubes
  • 350ml passata
  • 4 tablesp. ketchup (normal or spicy)
  • 1 tablesp. Worcester sauce
  • 1 level tablesp. brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 teasp. strong mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Tabasco, optional
  • 8 small hamburger rolls (or 6 large ones)
  • 6 to 8 small slices cheddar cheese
  • 100ml water

PREP: 15 mins

COOK: 20 mins

Makes 4 to 8


  1. Pour the oil into a large pan and add the lamb, onion, garlic and green pepper. Fry over a high heat, breaking up the mixture with a spatula to stop large clumps forming.
  2. After browning well, add the passata, ketchup, Worcester sauce, brown sugar, mustard, and 100 ml water. Blend together and leave to simmer for 20 minutes over a gentle heat. Season with salt and black pepper and a little Tabasco, if you wish.
  3. Heat the bread rolls in the oven or in a toaster. Fill them with the mixture and add a slice of cheddar.
  4. Serve with potato wedges and a nice salad.

Imen created this recipe to support the Lamb: Try it, Love it campaign, to promote European lamb.