Turkey Bolognese

I don’t know how many people out there watch Parks and Recreation on NBC, but the show is awesome and if you don’t, you should. A couple of episodes ago, Rob Lowe’s character proclaims that his Turkey Burger is better than Ron Swanson’s hamburger. You’ll have to watch to see the hilarity that leads up to it, but we all know which burger wins the taste test (I’ll give you a hint…it’s the one that doesn’t fly).

I realize this is probably an awful introduction into a recipe I’m sharing that is made with ground turkey, but I promise you that it is good. Ground turkey doesn’t have the same fat and juices that you get when making a bolognese with red meat, but you can still achieve a nice sauce.

This recipe sort of mixes together a basic tomato sauce (that you can make a few days ahead) that I’ve posted before and a quick cook bolognese that uses turkey instead of a red meat boar or cow. Boar ragu/bolognese is my favorite type, but with the right seasoning, you can make turkey delicious too.


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, 1/4″ dice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, 1/4″ dice
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 pound ground turkey
3 cups basic tomato sauce (link to recipe)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound pasta (cooked to al dente)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

In a large saute pan, add olive oil and heat over medium. Add onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add carrot and celery and cook another 6-8 minutes.

Add basic tomato sauce and bring to a low simmer. Add ground turkey and mix to break up turkey. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until turkey is cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

While cooking, cook pasta according to box, reserving a small amount (1/4 cup) of pasta liquid. Drain pasta and place back in pot. Add in sauce and mix well, adding pasta water if sauce is too thick. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!!

About Evan Halperin

I like to eat. I like to cook. I like to eat what I cook. Now, I will share with you what I like to cook. My wife and I may be a vegetarian and a carnivore, but it doesn’t mean we can’t cook a nice meal with both, without compromising taste. I will share my creative meals of the Carnivore and the Vegetarian.
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2 Responses to Turkey Bolognese

  1. Delicious! Perfect for summer…exactly what I am craving these days =)

  2. Kelly says:

    After this and the NYTimes Turkey Ragu recipe, I think I know what I need to make for dinner tonight.

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