Bison Chokecherry Sloppy Joes

This recipe was originally made for food service directors to add more Indigenous ingreidents into school lunches. If you serve the sloppy joes on whole wheat buns, it’s easy to calculate the credits per the CACFP Crediting Handbook. However, we also recongize that whole wheat buns are not Indigenous and you can have a super delicious meal by serving this over wild rice, in corn tortillas, on arepas, in white bean fritters, or over a bowl of summer squash noodles. There are a ton of different options to enjoy this sloppy joe mix. 

Also, you can easily use a store bought sloppy joe spice mix or you can make your own. I included the recipe for making your own but feel free to simpify if you’d like. 

When you blend up the chokecherries and water, strain them out in cheesecloth and then dehydrate the rest of the chokecherries. The pits are entirely edible if they are dried.

Bison Chokecherry Sloppy Joes


  • 1 lb ground bison meat
  • 1 can tomato paste 6 oz.
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chokecherry juice
  • 8 whole wheat buns

Spice Mix

  • 3 Tbsp maple sugar
  • 1 Tbsp minced onion
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika regular paprika works too!
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt


  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar, minced onion, ground cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • Brown the ground bison, then stir in the tomato paste, water, and chokecherry juice. Add in the spices mixture and stir into the sauce. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes, giving time for the flavors and spices to infuse into the sauce.
  • Toast the buns and serve Sloppy Joes. As an alternative, serve over wild rice or zuchinni noodles.