Slow Cooked Turkey Bolognese – A Deliciously Hearty Meal

I love a good bolognese and I’m extra excited to share my favorite turkey bolognese recipe with you! I’ve been making this dish for years now, and it’s always been a hit with friends and family. The combination of ground turkey and a rich tomato sauce is a match made in heaven. It’s the perfect weeknight dinner, as it comes together quickly and can be served up with your favorite pasta.

Turkey Bolognese Recipe

Prep Time

15 mins

Cook Time

20 mins

Additional Time

5 mins

Total Time

40 mins


6 servings

Turkey Bolognese


  • 1 ¼ pounds ground turkey
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 (14 ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • ¾ cup low-fat milk
  • 2 ounces low-fat cream cheese
  • ½ (16 ounce) package rotini pasta
  • 1 pinch salt and ground black pepper to taste


  • Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the ground turkey and shallot to the skillet, and cook until the turkey is browned and cooked through.
  • Add the carrots, zucchini, granulated garlic, and Italian seasoning to the skillet. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour the marinara sauce into the skillet, and stir to combine.
  • Reduce heat to low, and add the milk and cream cheese. Stir until the cream cheese is completely melted and the sauce is creamy.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
  • Add the rotini pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes or according to package instructions.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the turkey bolognese sauce. Stir until all of the pasta is coated in the sauce.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve the turkey bolognese over the cooked rotini pasta. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

  • Serving size: 1/4 recipe
  • Calories: 365
  • Fat: 12.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 39.3g
  • Protein: 22.2g
  • Sodium: 845mg
  • Sugar: 5.6g

The history and origin of bolognese sauce

Bolognese sauce is a traditional Italian sauce originating from the city of Bologna. It is a meat-based sauce typically made with ground beef, pork, and veal, as well as tomatoes, onions, celery, and carrots. The sauce is usually served with a variety of different types of pasta, but it is perhaps most famously served with tagliatelle, a flat ribbon-like pasta.

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The history of Bolognese sauce dates back to the 18th century, when it was an essential part of the traditional cuisine of Bologna. It was first mentioned in Italian cookbooks in the 1830s, and over time, it became a popular dish in Italy and then spread to other countries.

In recent years, the traditional Bolognese sauce has been adapted to include other ingredients, such as turkey. Turkey Bolognese is a popular variation of the classic dish that replaces the beef, pork, and veal with ground turkey. In this variation, the turkey is typically combined with tomatoes, onions, celery, carrots, and garlic, as well as herbs and spices to give the sauce a unique flavor.

Overall, Bolognese sauce is a traditional Italian sauce that has been enjoyed for centuries. Though the original recipe has remained largely unchanged, it has been adapted to include different ingredients, such as turkey, in order to create unique and delicious variations on the classic dish.

Types of pasta to serve with turkey bolognese

When it comes to serving pasta with turkey Bolognese, there are a variety of options to choose from. The classic pairing is spaghetti, but other types of pasta can be used to create a delicious dish. Here are some of the best types of pasta to serve with turkey Bolognese.

Penne: Penne is a great option for pairing with turkey Bolognese. The ridges of the pasta trap the sauce, ensuring a flavorful bite every time. The versatile shape pairs well with any sauce, making it a great choice for a classic dish like turkey Bolognese.

Fettuccine: Fettuccine is a flat, wide pasta that goes well with heavier sauces like turkey Bolognese. The broad shape of the pasta allows the sauce to stick to each strand, resulting in a flavorful dish. Fettuccine is a great choice for those looking for a heartier dish.

Ravioli: Ravioli is another great option for pairing with turkey Bolognese. The stuffed pasta can be filled with a variety of ingredients, including cheese, vegetables, and meats. The ravioli pairs well with the rich, meaty flavor of the Bolognese sauce, making it a delicious option.

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Cannelloni: Cannelloni is a type of pasta that is rolled and stuffed with a filling before baking. It is a great option for serving with turkey Bolognese, as the combination of the creamy sauce and the stuffed pasta is sure to be a hit.

Tortellini: Tortellini is a type of pasta that is shaped like a ring and filled with a variety of ingredients. This type of pasta is an excellent choice for serving with turkey Bolognese because it can be filled with meats and cheeses, making it a flavorful and hearty meal.

No matter which type of pasta you choose, it is sure to be a hit when served with turkey Bolognese. From classic spaghetti to stuffed tortellini, there are a variety of pasta dishes that can be enjoyed with this classic Italian dish.

The benefits of adding turkey to a bolognese sauce

Adding turkey to a Bolognese sauce can offer a wide range of benefits, including improved nutrition, a lower calorie count, and a richer flavor.

  • One of the most notable benefits of adding turkey to a Bolognese sauce is that it boosts the nutrition content of the dish. Turkey is a lean protein source that is high in essential vitamins and minerals. It is also a good source of iron, making it a great addition to an Italian-style meal.
  • As an added bonus, turkey is lower in calories than other proteins such as beef, making it ideal for people who are trying to watch their weight. This can help to reduce the overall calorie count of the dish, while still providing the same flavor and texture.
  • Finally, adding turkey to a Bolognese sauce can help to enhance the flavor of the dish. The turkey adds a deeper, richer flavor that can make the sauce more enjoyable. It can also help to thicken the sauce, making it more filling and satisfying.

In conclusion, adding turkey to a Bolognese sauce can offer a number of benefits, including improved nutrition, a lower calorie count, and a richer flavor. This can make the dish even more satisfying and enjoyable.

How to make turkey bolognese: tips and tricks

Use Ground Turkey: Ground turkey is leaner than beef and pork, but still has great flavor. Make sure to use ground turkey instead of turkey sausage or other types of ground meat.

  • Season Generously: Use a combination of dried herbs, freshly grated Parmesan, red pepper flakes, and salt to give the bolognese a robust flavor.
  • Simmer for Maximum Flavor: To bring out the best flavor, let the bolognese simmer for at least an hour on low heat.
  • Add a Splash of Wine: A splash of white wine adds a wonderful depth of flavor to the bolognese, and it can be added at any time.
  • Don’t Skimp on the Tomatoes: Use canned or fresh tomatoes for the bolognese, and make sure to use enough of them to give the sauce a nice consistency.
  • Finish with Fresh Herbs: Once the bolognese is finished, add a few sprigs of fresh herbs such as basil or oregano, to give it a bright, fresh finish.
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What to pair with turkey bolognese for a complete meal

For a complete meal, pair your turkey bolognese with a side dish of roasted vegetables and a simple green salad. Roasted vegetables, such as bell peppers and zucchini, are an easy way to add more flavor and texture to the dish. A simple green salad provides a fresh and nutritious contrast to the hearty flavors of the turkey bolognese.

To further enhance the flavors of the meal, consider adding a starchy side such as mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, or polenta. All three of these options are great for soaking up the delicious sauce from the turkey bolognese. If you’re looking for something a bit heartier, you could also serve it with some freshly cooked pasta.

The last piece of the meal is a great way to finish things off in style. Consider adding a warm slice of garlic bread or focaccia for an extra touch of flavor. Alternatively, you could top off your turkey bolognese with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese or freshly chopped parsley.

No matter what side dishes you choose, a turkey bolognese is sure to be a hit. With the right combination of vegetables, salad, and a starchy side, you can make a delicious and satisfying meal.

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