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Turkey Bolognese

7 to 8 cups

Chef notes

This dish is pure comfort food — a hearty, rich Bolognese, packed with delicious vegetables and satisfying ground turkey. You can serve it over spaghetti squash, zoodles or whole-grain pasta — eater's choice. Also, you can eat it warm right off the stove, or let it sit, reheat and then dive in. It gets better as it sits in the fridge and the flavors meld. (Not to mention, this freezes beautifully if you're looking for make-ahead meals.) Tasty tip: I like to throw in any leftover rinds from Parmesan or Pecorino cheese to cook into the sauce, which imparts an extra richness and flavor boost. Make this Bolognese and you'll receive praise for days!

Technique tip: The sauce will last up to 4 days in the fridge, or you can freeze for up to 2 months in an airtight container.


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey (90 to 94% lean)
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely diced (1 stalk)
  • 1/2 cup carrots, finely diced (1 small)
  • 1 large onion, finely diced (2 cups)
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, finely diced (1 medium)
  • 1-1½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 4-5 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • cooked whole-grain pasta
  • torn fresh basil leaves and Parmesan cheese, to garnish (optional)



In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook, stirring frequently to break it up, about 6 minutes.


Add the vegetables and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently (mist with oil spray if the mixture becomes too dry). The vegetables will begin to soften and caramelize.


Add 1 cup of broth, crushed tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan while stirring to combine all the ingredients. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Remove lid and cook for another 10 minutes, adding additional broth if needed to reach desired consistency. You want to create a thick, rich sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over pasta, garnish with optional basil and Parmesan, and dig in!