Quick and Easy Turkey Bolognese with Zucchini Pasta

An easy turkey bolognese sauce made with just a few basic ingredients and ready in less than 30 minutes. Served over zucchini pasta for a healthy and satisfying meal. Naturally gluten free and low carb. 

Turkey bolognese sauce on top of zucchini noodles in a white bowl, with olive oil and another bowl in the background.

I originally created this easy turkey bolognese as I was coming home from the gym starving, with nothing already made to grab and eat, and a pretty sad half-empty fridge.

My mission was to come up with something super quick and nutritious before I’d turn into the Hulk for being so hangry and I succeeded! With just a few ingredients, I had prepared a meal that’s not only healthy + wholesome but also, super delicious!

Since then, I’ve made this recipe time and time again, perfected it, and now it’s my go-to turkey meat sauce for when I’m in a hurry.

How to make this easy turkey bolognese – step by step

Heat some olive oil in a non-stick skillet, add one chopped onion and a couple of minced garlic cloves and cook until soft (step 1)

Add ground turkey and cook until it’s no longer pink, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon (step 2).

Drain liquid (if any), season with salt and pepper and add some tomato passata (tomato sauce).

Collage for two photo, one showing soften onion in a non stick skillet and the other showing cooked ground turkey in a skillet.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook on medium heat uncovered for about 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.

While the sauce is cooking and reducing, prepare your zucchini noodles with your Spiralizer – I have this one (step 3)

When the sauce is almost done, add some chopped fresh basil leaves, and cook for another three minutes or so to let the flavors develop (step 4)

A collage of two photo, one showing zucchini noodles being cut with a spiralizer and the other turkey bolognese sauce topped with fresh chopped basil leaves in a skillet.

Turn off the heat and stir in some fresh parmesan cheese (step 5). 

The sauce should be thick and not watery anymore, as shown on the photo below (step 6).

Place your zucchini noodles in a plate or a bowl, spoon some sauce on top, sprinkle with extra parmesan if you want and enjoy!

A collage of two pictures, one showing turkey bolognese sauce with grated parmesan on top in a skillet and the other showing turkey bolognese sauce in a wooden spoon over a skillet.

Wait, what? No carrots and celery in your bolognese?! 

This recipe was designed to be as simple as possible, with a minimum of ingredients delivering a maximum of flavors.

So although I know that traditional bolognese sauce usually includes some chopped carrots and celery sticks, you honestly  won’t miss them at all.

This recipe doesn’t pretend to be a masterpiece of the most perfect and pure bolognese that you can cook on the weekend and rave about for weeks. This recipe is the one you need for a quick and easy dinner on week nights, when life’s busy and you want to eat a super tasty meal that’s good for you.

I promise you won’t miss the carrots and celery. Or the simmering for hours that matter! But please do me a favor and don’t skip the fresh basil though, okay?

Close up on turkey bolognese sauce over zucchini pasta with fresh parmesan on top and a few fresh basil leaves

How to cook zucchini pasta aka zoodles

If you’d like to serve this turkey bolognese sauce with zucchini noodles instead of traditional pasta, read this!

Zucchini is made of 95% water – which means that they will become very soggy and thus not appetizing at all if you overcook them, even by one minute.

There are several ways you can “cook” zucchini noodles:

  1. Have them raw – it’s actually my favorite method and I always eat my zoodles this way. They taste good and keep their shape and “crunch” factor, making the texture a bit more similar to pasta. Toss them with sauce to warm them and they’re ready to be eaten.
  2. Microwave – place your zucchini noodles in a microwave-safe bowl and cook them on high in 30 second bursts (always taste them in between bursts so you don’t overcook them.
  3. Sautéed in a skillet – sautée in a pan with a little bit of olive oil for 1 to 2 minutes.

For this recipe, if you don’t want to eat them raw, add the zucchini noodles in the skillet with the warm sauce, on the stove, and let them sit for 2 to 3 minutes. The heat of the sauce will cook them.

A bowl of turkey bolognese with zucchini pasta with a fork about to dig in.

A few tips and substitutions to make this easy turkey bolognese sauce!

  • Freezing: Bolognese sauce freezes well. Pack in an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or in the microwave. Do not freeze zucchini noodles.
  • Make ahead: You can make the bolognese sauce and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days. Don’t prepare the zucchini noodles more than 2 days ahead. Pack the bolognese and zucchini noodles separately.
  • Other meats: instead of turkey, you can use ground chicken or extra lean ground beef
  • Make this paleo and dairy free: instead of parmesan cheese, use nutritional yeast

Two bowl of turkey bolognese sauce over zucchini pasta, sprinkled with grated parmesan, in two shallow round plates

If you tried this turkey bolognese, don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it went in the comments below – I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on InstagramPinterest and Facebook for more deliciousness and behind-the-scenes!

Turkey bolognese sauce on top of zucchini noodles in a white bowl, with olive oil and another bowl in the background.
5 from 7 votes
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Quick and Easy Turkey Bolognese with Zucchini Pasta

An easy turkey bolognese sauce made with just a few basic ingredients and ready in less than 30 minutes. Served over zucchini pasta for a healthy and satisfying meal. Naturally gluten free and low carb. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword #easybolognese, #quickbolognese, #skinnybolognese, #turkeybolognese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 296 kcal

Ingredients

  • 0.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 white onion chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 lb (450g) ground turkey
  • 2 1/2 cups tomato passata tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (packed)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan + more for serving
  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.

  2. Add ground turkey, and cook until no longer pink, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Drain liquid (if any). Season with salt and pepper. 

  3. Stir in tomato passata and oregano. Cook on high until bubbly then reduce to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time until most of the liquid has evaporated.

  4. While the sauce is cooking, prepare your zucchini pasta with your Spiralizer. Using scissors, cut the zucchini noodles to make them shorter and easier to eat. 
  5. When the sauce is almost ready, add basil and cook for another 3 minutes. At this point the sauce should be thick and not watery anymore.

  6. Turn off the heat and stir in parmesan cheese. 

  7. Place zucchini noodles in four bowls or plates. Spoon turkey bolognese on top and sprinkle with more parmesan. Serve immediately.
  8. If prefer to eat my zucchini noodles raw, but if you prefer them cooked, add them in the skillet with the hot turkey bolognese and let them sit for 2-3 minutes. The heat of the sauce will be enough to cook them. 

Recipe Notes

  • Freezing: Bolognese sauce freezes well. Pack in an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or in the microwave. Do not freeze zucchini noodles. 
  • Make ahead: You can make the bolognese sauce and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days. Don't prepare the zucchini noodles more than 2 days ahead. Pack the bolognese and zucchini noodles separately. 

Variations and substitutions:

  • Other meats: instead of turkey, you can use ground chicken or extra lean ground beef
  • Make it paleo + dairy free: instead of parmesan cheese, use nutritional yeast
Nutrition Facts
Quick and Easy Turkey Bolognese with Zucchini Pasta
Amount Per Serving (1 /4th)
Calories 296 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 78mg 26%
Sodium 325mg 14%
Potassium 1585mg 45%
Total Carbohydrates 21g 7%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 12g
Protein 39g 78%
Vitamin A 26.4%
Vitamin C 63.2%
Calcium 21.4%
Iron 25.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

More zucchini pasta recipes: 

UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published on March 21, 2014 and republished in July 2018 with an updated recipe, new photos and tips.

A quick and easy turkey bolognese sauce you can make in 20 minutes. Serve them with zucchini pasta for a healthy, low carb and gluten free meal #glutenfree #lowcarb #cleaneating #dinner #easyrecipe #easydinner #easyhealthydinner Recipe on NotEnoughCinnamon.com

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posted in
Clean Eating Gluten free Italian Inspired Low carb Main Dishes Meat Paleo Paleo/Primal Pasta Primal Quick & Easy Meals Recipes Sauces Turkey Under 300 cal
13 Comments
    1. Thanks Julia 🙂 Since I discovered zucchini pasta I eat some at least twice a week! I love how it feels you’re eating pasta when you’re actually eating tons of veggies!

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