Turkey Bolognese

A healthy take on an Italian classic.

Turkey Bolognese Recipe

This turkey bolognese recipe is quick and healthy and makes for an excellent weeknight dinner. Maximum flavour with half the calories – is that even possible? Yes it is! YES IT IS! I’ve been watching my calorie intake for 2 weeks now and honestly, all I can think about is how to satisfy my cravings without exceeding my daily limit. One thing I crave all the time is pasta – I LOVE pasta, like helplessly and hopelessly head over heels in love with it.

I’m not going to lie and say it tastes exactly like the classic beef bolognese but not only does this cheeky alternative hit the spot, it’s also only 400 calories per portion (see the screenshot of MyFitnessPal if you don’t believe me, without parmesan that is!).

Turkey Bolognese Calories

I used nutritional yeast in place of parmesan just because it gave flavour without piling on the calories. If you don’t know what nutritional yeast is, it’s a condiment used in many vegan dishes that adds a savoury, cheesy, nutty taste to dishes. It’s a rich source of vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre (try adding it to scrambled eggs!). Obviously if you want to increase your fibre intake, feel free to add more carrots and celery – I tried doing that and it honestly kept me full the whole day.

Turkey Bolognese Recipe

Turkey Bolognese

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Serves: 4

A healthy take on an Italian classic.


  • Neutral oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (note 1)
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery, finely chopped
  • 1.5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 500g minced turkey (preferably dark meat)
  • 2 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 chicken boullion cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 280g wholewheat spaghetti
  • Freshly grated parmesan (or nutritional yeast, both optional)



Heat some oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery and cook until the vegetables are tender - this should take about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and keep stirring until it deepens in colour (note 2).


Add the turkey in and mix to combine. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, bouillon cubes and nutritional yeast if using. Simmer gently for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


In the meantime, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water until al dente (about 8 minutes). Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to thin out the sauce as needed.


1. Shorten your prep time by dumping the onion, garlic, carrot and celery into a food processor rather than chopping/dicing them.
2. It is very important to cook out your tomato paste. You need to cook it past it’s bright red colour, and until it develops a deeper red colour - this is when flavour develops!

Let me know what you think about this turkey bolognese recipe in the comments box below!

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