An Italian classic gets a healthy makeover. This Turkey Bolognese delivers all the comfort and flavor of the original but with a lighter twist.

Turkey Bolognese: healthy, delicious, and just as hearty as a traditional bolognese recipe. This is the pasta sauce I turn to when I want all the comfort without all of the calories. It’s so delicious it might just find a permanent place in your pasta night rotation, too.

I seriously love this turkey bolognese recipe. I started making this healthier option because bolognese is my favorite Italian sauce, but I wanted something lighter.

We are no strangers to pasta night at our house. We all love it, so having this healthier bolognese recipe on hand makes it easy to have one of our favorite comfort foods without breaking the bank in the calorie department.

Healthy Bolognese Recipe

I’ve been following a more macro-focused diet, experimenting and giving some of my classic recipes a healthy twist. I still want the things I love, but with less sugar, and this meat sauce hits the mark.

Bolognese is great for macro because it’s so meaty. All I needed to do was create a recipe cutting down sugar and calories. I am so happy to share that this recipe nails it, and my family loves it.

  • I’ve made it multiple times, and it’s so easy to pull together.
  • My husband loves the sauce’s texture – there’s the ground turkey with the carrots that still have just a little chew. I love how they stand out in the sauce and add a natural sweetness.
  • We love it with pasta, but you can spoon this sauce over so many other things – regular rice, cauliflower rice, mashed potatoes or cauliflower mash, baked potatoes… there are many options, so it never gets boring.

My husband and kids usually team Alfredo sauce at our house, but we can all agree that this easy turkey bolognese is a winner. You will love it, too, I’m sure.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • Lean ground turkey
  • Diced yellow onion
  • Shredded carrots
  • Minced garlic
  • Tomato sauce
  • Canned chopped tomatoes
  • Italian seasoning
  • Fennel seeds
  • Salt
  • Milk

How to Make the Sauce

Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat.

Add the ground turkey to the hot pan and cook it, breaking it apart with a spatula, until it’s browned. Remove from pot and drain, then set aside.

a pan of cooked ground turkey and onions.

Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the same pot and saute the carrots, onion, and garlic until the onion is translucent and tender.

Stir in tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, Italian seasoning, fennel, and salt.

the tomatoes, carrots, and seasonings added to the pan.

Add the cooked turkey to the pot and bring it to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid, leaving a slight crack for steam to escape.

the sauce simmering in a pot.

Stir the sauce occasionally so that it doesn’t burn and stick to the pot.

the milk added to the sauce.

As the sauce simmers, it will reduce and thicken. Before you are ready to serve it, add the milk and stir to combine.

a bowl of turkey bolognese.

Recipe Tips

Depending on your tastes, there are a couple of ways to make this sauce with more or less texture.

  • I prefer a sauce with a lot of texture, so I usually wait to add the carrots until I add the tomatoes and tomato sauce. This shortens their cooking time, making them more crisp-tender and noticeable in the sauce.
  • If you prefer softer carrots, follow the recipe and add them with the onions and garlic. They will cook longer and not be as noticeable in the sauce.
  • You can also control this with the type of carrots you use. Pre-shredded carrots are thicker and hold their shape better. If you prefer softer carrots, you can shred them so they are not as thick.

This is a wonderful recipe to make ahead. You can make a batch over the weekend and pop it in the refrigerator or freezer for an easy meal later. The sauce will stay in the refrigerator for three to four days or up to three months in the freezer.

Serve this turkey bolognese with your favorite pasta – penne, spaghetti, rigatoni, or linguini. You can also use it to make lasagna.

So, here’s to lighter dishes that don’t skimp on the flavor and fill us up when we need a little comfort. I hope you try this turkey bolognese – it’s a favorite at our house, and I think it will be at yours, too. Enjoy! XOXO San

More Easy Dinner Ideas

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Turkey Bolognese

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 12
Calories: 169 kcal
This Turkey Bolognese is healthy, delicious, and just as hearty as a traditional bolognese recipe. This is the pasta sauce I turn to when I want all the comfort without out all of the calories. It's so delicious it might just find a permanent place in your pasta night rotation, too.
a bowl of turkey bolognese.

Ingredients
 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 10 ounces shredded carrots
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 28 ounces tomato sauce
  • 56 ounces chopped tomatoes two 28 ounce cans
  • 1/2 cup italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon fennel
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk

Instructions
 

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot on medium high heat.
  • Add ground turkey and saute until cooked through and brown. Remove from pot and drain, then set aside.
  • In the same pot, heat another tablespoon of olive oil and saute carrots, onion, and garlic until the onion is transluscent and tender.
  • Stir in tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, Italian seasoning, fennel, and salt. Add the cooked turkey back to the pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Cover with a lid, leaving a slght crack for steam to escape. Stir occasionally so that it doesn't burn and stick to the pot.
  • Before serving, add the milk and stir. Serve with noodles of your choice and enjoy!
Calories: 169kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 20gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 1143mgPotassium: 804mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 4447IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 109mgIron: 3mg
a bowl of turkey bolognese.
Tried this recipe?Let us know what you think!

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14 Comments

    1. That is correct, not a typo! You can adjust to taste of course, but it does make a large batch so it doesn’t end up being too much.

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