Posted by: Erica Retrochef | June 2, 2014

Zesty Joes

I was originally interested in this ad because I had a can of mushroom soup that needed to be used, and had my eye on the “Golden Joe” recipe because it sounded more like some 1920’s boxing champion than a hamburger. When Buzz heard the plan, he got all sad; he apparently had some bad memories of mushroom Sloppy Joes. But “Zesty Joe” for some reason he was enthusiastic about.

We’re a crazy couple, him and me.


Golden Joe

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can Campbell’s Golden Mushroom Soup
1 tbsp. ketchup
dash pepper
hamburger buns, split and toasted

Conventional: In skillet, cook beef and onion until beef is browned and onion is tender; stir to separate meat. Spoon off fat. Stir in soup, ketchup and pepper. Heat; stir occasionally. Serve on buns. Top with sliced green pepper, sliced onion and chopped tomato if desired. Makes 6 servings.

Zesty Joe

Substitute 1/4 cup chopped green pepper and 1 tbsp. chili powder for chopped onion. Also substitute 1 can Campbell’s Zesty Tomato Soup/Sauce and 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce for Golden Mushroom Soup and ketchup.


Starts off with a heap of ground beef in a frying pan…


I probably should have added the green pepper much earlier; the beef is completely browned here. It still got cooked enough, though.


Pour in a can of soup. Simmer long enough that it becomes thick, not runny.


We actually cut down on the chili powder, only adding a half tablespoon, because the kids are very averse to spice.


And toasting the buns may seem silly, but it’s worth it. Even simmered, there’s a risk of making the bread mushy, and that should definitely be avoided.


I usually find Campbell’s soup recipes to be bland, but heaps of chili powder can certainly change that. Even at half-strength, this was certainly zesty; the kids weren’t able to finish theirs (wimps) and opted for peanut butter sandwiches instead. Buzz and I were happy to finish our servings and their leftovers, though. Adding a slice of cheddar or American cheese on top will help mellow out the heat and make it creamy. It’s worth livening up your traditional Sloppy Joe recipe with something like this.

The vintage Campbell’s ad comes from a post on the great blog Hey, My Mom Used To Make That!


  1. As we made it, the bun filling wasn’t really runny, which I appreciated. Ooziness was another thing I remember hating about sloppy joes as a kid.

  2. Sounds delicious.

  3. […] is only the second time I’ve made Sloppy Joes from scratch, actually. The first was Zesty Joes, another retro version that wasn’t half […]

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