Turkey Bolognese is a healthier version of a beloved classic Italian dish with ground turkey, tomatoes, carrots, garlic and onions simmered slow with wine and milk.
Just like Turkey Shepherd’s Pie, this bolognese lightens up a favorite comfort food for a Classic Main Dish that you can enjoy on a diet!
This creamy, meat filled sauce is full of flavor and perfect to top any of your favorite pastas. This one-pot sauce is so easy it’ll become your new weeknight go-to. It has more protein, and will make a nice change to the usual marinara sauce for pasta night.
This sauce does take a while to prepare, but most of that time is just a matter of leaving it to sit on the stovetop. After you put together the simple ingredients, you can prepare the pasta while the sauce finishes simmering. Simply boil the pasta water in a large pot and cook your chosen pasta until al dente. Top the pasta with warm sauce and Parmesan Cheese, and dinner is served!
Apart from how easy and delicious this meat sauce is, another perk of this recipe is that it’s relatively low-fat. Ground turkey provides a leaner protein than you get from sauces that use beef. It’s still filling and full of flavor without being as heavy.
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LET’S TALK PASTA!
There are plenty of different types of pasta that will taste incredible with this Turkey Meat Sauce. So, you can pick whatever you have in your cupboard, or one that matches your diet.
- Spaghetti: The most classic and obvious choice is to pair your bolognese with spaghetti noodles. Spaghetti is a classic pasta for just about any Italian dish, so it’s probably already in your pantry!
- Fettuccine: You might be used to seeing Fettuccine alongside sauces with heavy cream, like Fettuccine Alfredo. But this long, flat pasta pairs just as nicely with a light meat sauce like this one.
- Linguine: Linguine is the happy middle ground between spaghetti and fettuccine noodles. It is wider than spaghetti, but not quite as wide as fettuccine.
- Orecchiette: This is a less common pasta option that pairs nicely with bolognese. It’s a great bite sized pasta, that kids will make less of a mess with.
- Penne: Another shorter pasta option is penne.
- Spaghetti Squash: Instead of classic spaghetti, you can use spaghetti squash. If you are trying to eat less carbohydrates or on a gluten-free diet, spaghetti squash pasta is an excellent option.
- Zucchini Noodles: Zoodles or zucchini noodles are another wonderful alternative to classic pasta noodles. They are low in carbs and made out of spiralized zucchini.
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VARIATIONS ON TURKEY BOLOGNESE
- Seasoning: You can add a variety of classic Italian seasoning to your pasta sauce. Some options are flat leaf parsley, oregano, pesto, fresh basil, clove, red onion, red pepper flakes, or garlic. If you choose to add garlic or more onion, be sure to mince them before adding them to the bolognese sauce. You can also chop extra vegetables, like green peppers.
- Fresh Tomatoes: For a more fresh tomato sauce chop fresh tomatoes, in place of the canned diced tomatoes.
- Toppings: Typically bolognese is topped with Parmesan Cheese. Other than parmesan, you can also grate other cheeses such as cheddar or Parmigiano-Reggiano on your pasta dish. Or use a dairy-free cheese alternative like Kite Hill cheese. You can also top your pasta with a little bit of lemon juice for some extra flavor.
- Other Proteins: Instead of making a Turkey Bolognese Sauce, you can replace the ground turkey with any meat you prefer. Try ground beef or ground pork.
- White Wine Replacements: If you don’t have white wine you can replace it with red wine or chicken broth.
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HOW TO STORE TURKEY BOLOGNESE
- Serve: Because of the ground turkey and milk in the ingredients, you shouldn’t leave your turkey meat sauce out for more than two hours.
- Store: To store Turkey Bolognese separate the meat sauce from the pasta. The sauce should last in the fridge for up to a week in an airtight container. Make sure it cools to room temperature before sealing.
- Freeze: Easy Turkey Bolognese is a great recipe to make-ahead on the weekend and serve for a weeknight dinner. Stored properly it will stay good in the freezer for up to 4 months.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion , minced
- 2 stalks celery , minced
- 1 carrot , minced
- 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 29 ounces canned diced tomatoes , do not drain
- 15 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese , grated
- Add olive oil to a large dutch oven on medium heat with the onions, celery and carrots.
- Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and celery is softened.
- Add the ground turkey, salt and pepper and break it apart as it cooks until it is well browned.
- Add in the nutmeg and white wine, stir well, and cook for 15-20 minutes until wine has mostly cooked off.
- Add in the milk, stir well, and cook for 15-20 minutes until the milk has mostly cooked off.
- Add in the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and parmesan cheese, stirring well until well combined.
- Lower heat to a low simmer and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until sauce has reduced and thickened.