An Italian classic gets a healthy makeover. This Turkey Bolognese delivers on 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 out 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 and 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 and have been 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 really hits the mark.
Bolognese is great for macro because it’s so meaty. All I needed to do was to create a recipe that cuts down the 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 texture of the sauce – there’s the ground turkey with the carrots that still have just a little bit of chew. I love how they stand out in the sauce and they add just a touch of natural sweetness, too.
- 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.
At our house, my husband and kids are usually team Alfredo sauce, but we can all agree that this easy turkey bolognese is a winner. You will love it, too, I’m sure.
- Olive oil
- Lean ground turkey
- Diced yellow onion
- Shredded carrots
- Minced garlic
- Tomato sauce
- Canned chopped tomatoes
- Italian seasoning
- Fennel seeds
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.
In the same pot, saute the carrots, onion, and garlic until the onion is translucent and tender.
Stir in tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, Italian seasoning, fennel, and salt.
Add the cooked turkey back to the pot and bring it to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid, leaving a slight crack for steam to escape.
Stir the sauce occasionally so that it doesn’t burn and stick to the pot.
As the sauce simmers, it will reduce and thicken. Just before you are ready to serve it, add the milk and stir to combine.
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 so they are more crisp-tender and noticeable in the sauce.
- If you prefer softer carrots, follow the recipe as instructed 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 your own 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 keep for three to four days in the refrigerator or up to three months in the freezer.
Serve this turkey bolognese with your favorite pasta – we love 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 give this turkey bolognese a try – it’s a favorite at our house and I think it will be at yours, too. Enjoy! XOXO San
More Easy Dinner Ideas
Don’t forget to pin this recipe to your favorite Pinterest board for later.
- 1 tablespoon 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
- Heat 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, 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!