Sensationally Spicy and Sweet Gluten-Free Sloppy Jenn’s

For Throwback Thursday, I thought of what I ate a lot as a child…Sloppy Joe’s! These were some of my favorite memories around the kitchen table with my family. Manwich was definitely a huge part of that memory, but as a Celiac who has had so much damage to her intestinal lining over the years, I am now a multiple-intolerant. Even though Manwich is technically gluten-free, since I have become sulfite-intolerant, I am unable to handle it. It contains lemon juice concentrate. Most juice concentrates (unless they say 100% juice, from concentrate,) contain sulfites. Even Mayonnaise contains sulfites in the form of lemon juice concentrate. So if you’re a Celiac, who is still having poor reactions when you know you’re eating gluten-free, pay attention to the labels. Does it contain sulfites/sulfates, or juice concentrates? Dried fruit (ie. raisins, apricots, mangos, etc- unless they’re organic,) contain sulfites, so stay away from those as well! Even in our gluten-free granola, they do not always use sulfite-free dried fruit, so I will react to that as well. The reaction can vary from person-to-person. My reaction is that similar to gluten; however, 1/4 the strength, no fever, and 1 day (versus 3-5 days.)

So, now back to Manwich…My husband and I were in the store one day, PC (post Celiac,) and I said how much I missed our Sloppy Joe dinners. I would buy the frozen garlic bread, Manwich, and we’d do open faced sandwiches. We loved them so much, we’d have them about once a week! Now, it’s been about 2 years, and I was craving one. So we pull out the smartphones and start searching for “Is Manwich Gluten-free?” We’ve all been there, and the other patrons look at us like we’re crazy, right? Luckily, I find on that it is, so into the cart it went! I was so excited!! Two years I waited for this moment; however, within 2 hours of eating it, I felt awful. When I went back to the ingredients, I couldn’t find anything. It wasn’t until I noticed every time I had a glass of wine, that I felt the same awful feeling as the Manwich (then I figured it out.) When I spoke with my GI specialist, it was official: Lactose-intolerant (this happened about 6-9 months PC,) and now Sulfite-intolerant (about 2 years PC.) She then warned me to watch for Soy-intolerance (I thought to myself, please no?!) What else is there left for me to eat?! Anyway, after the sulfite diagnosis, I couldn’t go without my childhood favorite, so I have created my own! Below, you will find the recipe to the Jenn-Wich. It is spicy, sweet, and just enough juice (so it doesn’t go running down your face!) Cool Fact: it makes for a yummy BBQ sauce too!!

3 tbsp. Sofrito Marinade
1 1/2 tbsp. My #1 Seasoning Blend
1 1/2 lbs ground Beef
3 tbsp. minced Garlic
2 tablespoons packed Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Chili Powder
1 teaspoon dry Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper flakes
Gluten-Free Worcestershire sauce (regular is made with WHEAT!)
1 1/2 cups Ketchup
1 lg Shallot minced (or 1/2 cup Onion of choice)
6 slices gluten-free Bread
2 tbsp. minced Garlic
Lactose-free Spread
Lactose-free Shredded Cheese for topping (or original if not lactose-intolerant)
Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce (regular is made with WHEAT!)


Jenn-Wich Sauce


  1. Mix Sofrito and Ground Beef together with 1 1/2 tbsp. of #1 Seasoning Blend. Cover and put into refrigerator for up to 2 hours to marinate.
  2. Mix first 3 tbsp. of minced Garlic, Brown Sugar,
  3. chili Powder, dry Mustard, Red Pepper, Worcestershire Sauce, Ketchup, and Onion of choice in food processor or blender (or chop onion/garlic,) and whisk together.
  4. Place in medium saucepan and simmer, while you brown meat.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Drain fat/oil from meat, and add sauce, simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Place spread and remaining minced garlic on gluten-free slices, and place face up into oven, directly on rack (as long as oven is 100% gluten-free.) If cross-contamination is a possibility, please use aluminum foil between bread and rack.
  8. Toast 8-10 minutes.
  9. Place Meat Mixture onto Garlic side of bread, then add shredded cheese, serve open faced.
  10. Enjoy!

Jenn-Wich Flatbread topped with Oven Roasted Herb Sweet Potatoes


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