Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats: Healthy Turkey Bolognese

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Healthy Turkey Bolognese

You will not feel ashamed serving this big bowl of pasta to your family!  
Healthy, fresh ingredients, make it worthwhile.

healthy turkey bolognese (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

It's not all cinnamon rolls and mac and cheese around here, every once in awhile I slap down a healthier version of a classic.

Today, it is this turkey bolognese.

It is not often that I dream up a dish, make it, photography it and also share it the next day, but this is exactly what happened yesterday and well, now today.

I had been fridge-less for 2.5 days, which led to many cold meat sandwiches, cereal and eat-up-whatever-is-going-to-spoil meals.  I had two coolers full of perishables and on constant rotation between our kitchen floor and our deck.  Our fridge died on Sunday, at the precise time we brought home bags upon bags of groceries.  Go figure.

Thankfully and not-so-thankfully the outside temperatures have been hovering around 5 degrees, which is all well and good when I need to keep something frozen, but not so cool when I just want to keep something cold.

So for the past two days I played a really fun game of trying to keep items cold, yet not letting them freeze.  Back and forth we went - outside, inside, outside, inside.  It is so much fun, you should try it!

healthy turkey bolognese (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

Which all this non-fridge nonsense going on, I wasn't cooking.  I was struggling.  I would walk over to the fridge 267 times a day and go to open it only to find out {oh yeah, idiot!} it wasn't working.

It is a bit surreal how much of a habit something becomes.  How did people even exist before refrigeration?

I would have died.

So after two days of living like Laura Ingalls, we got a new fridge delivered.  Out with the old, in with the new.  I had my life back.  I didn't have to put on my winter coat every 10 seconds to walk out onto the deck to get the gallon jug of milk.

Heck, eventually I was walking out with no coat, no shoes, whatever I was wearing because I didn't care, even though it was bone chilling cold.

The point of this is....I finally cooked a yummy meal last night.  One that required more than a bowl, a box and the milk.  One that was slapped between two slices of bread.  And, it was delicious, and healthy {minus a few carbs}.

healthy turkey bolognese (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

This little piece of work loved it.  She gobbled down two bowls.  Until recently, she has been pretty squirmish about meat, but not in this!  Didn't even faze her.  Shortly after this photo was taken she chucked this bowl like the shot put, all of us ducking {we are used to this} and gladly proclaimed she was, "All done!"

Well, no crap.

Hey, at least she ate the meat.  Although judging by her still plump arms and cheeks, she isn't wasting away.  She is 20 months old and a barrel of laughs, learning more each and every day.  She also has a love/hate relationship with her siblings, missing them when they are at school, yet bickering with them when they are at home.

She's a ham.

A ham that loves her bolognese. 

healthy turkey bolognese (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

Once you have the basics of this sauce cooking, let it simmer.  I had mine going for longer than you probably need to, but the girls were napping and I was being lazy and frankly it smelled good on the stove.

The fresh carrots, celery, onion, garlic, along with the red wine, gives this sauce a deep, rich flavor.  I opted for ground turkey instead of beef or pork to make it a bit leaner.  And trust me with everything else going on, you'll never know the difference.

If feeding two, I'd definitely cut this recipe in half.  If feeding a hungry family like me, make the whole darn batch.  We have a healthy container of leftovers, but I have faith that will be gone soon.

Healthy Turkey Bolognese


1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. finely diced carrot
1 c. finely diced celery
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes with basil and oregano
1/3 c. dry red wine
1 t. dried parsley
1 t. dried basil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 lb. dry rigatoni pasta
Parmesan cheese
olive oil

1.  Heat a stock pot over medium heat.  Add in a drizzle of olive oil to the pan.  Add in the turkey and cook until browned and juices run clear.  Being ground turkey there shouldn't be much, if any grease to drain.  Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.
2.  Drizzle in a bit more oil and add in the onions and garlic.  Saute for a minute or two.  Then add in the carrots and celery, cook another five minutes.
3.  Pour in the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, getting up all those good yummy bits.
4.  Add in the tomatoes, parsley, basil, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine, cover, turn down the heat and let simmer for at least 1 hour.
5.  Return the meat to the pan and let simmer another hour {or if on a time crunch, can be eaten right then}.
6.  When ready to eat, cook the rigatoni according to directions.  I leave my pasta a bit al dente. When cooked, drain the pasta and add to the sauce, tossing to combine.  Serve hot with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

healthy turkey bolognese (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

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