Traditional Italian bolognese meat sauce gets lightened up with this delicious ground Turkey Vegetable Spaghetti recipe. Healthy and easy, this is a great recipe for weeknight dinner and is ready in 30 minutes.
There is nothing more satisfying or comforting then a big plate of spaghetti and meat sauce. I love to make this classic Italian dish, especially on busy weeknights, since it comes together so quickly. Plus, you can easily make ahead your meat sauce and reheat before serving.
Now traditional Bolognese, the one that originated from Bologna, was not such a quick and ready meal. The process involved hours of braising, searing, and simmering different meats.
So when I use the term “bolognese,” it is in reference to the Americanized version of Italian meat sauce. Here the process of making this sauce has vastly decreased in time and difficulty, thus allowing it become a weeknight staple.
With this recipe for ground turkey vegetable spaghetti, you’ll still get all of those satisfying bolognese flavors, but without all of the time and calories. Also, this sauce gets a delicious texture from the vegetables which include carrots, bell pepper, onion, and zucchini. Give it a try and it’ll become your new favorite!
Turkey Vegetable Spaghetti
What I love about this ground Turkey Vegetable Spaghetti recipe, is that you can leave the table feeling satisfied and not stuffed. Moreover, this meal comes together in minutes thanks to help from the food processor.
Firstly, heat the oil in a large skillet or braiser over medium heat. My favorite pan to use for meat sauces is the Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Braiser, but any large skillet or dutch oven will work.
Next, cut the onions, carrots, and bell peppers into large chunks and place in a food processor. Alternatively, you could dice these veggies by hand but if you have a food processor, this is a great use for it.
Pulse until veggies are diced. You are looking for a small dice, not a puree.
Add the vegetables to the pan and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Next, push the vegetables to the side of the pan and add the ground turkey, garlic, and spices to the middle. Cook through until ground turkey is no longer pink. Meanwhile, shred the zucchini using a box grater.
Stir in the tomato paste and zucchini. Cook for about 2 additional minutes to allow the paste to get absorbed by the meat and the zucchini to soften.
Next, add in the canned tomatoes. I prefer to use San Marzano tomatoes if possible, they are sweeter and more flavorful than other varieties. However, any canned diced tomatoes will work. You may just need to add a bit of sugar (up to 2 teaspoons) if necessary.
Lastly, if the sauce is too thick, add up to a cup of pasta water. Simmer sauce for at least 10 minutes. Serve over spaghetti and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Tasty Italian Weeknight Dinners
I love to simplify Italian cooking and serve it as much as possible. My recipes are perfect for making ahead and use easy to find ingredients, most of which you probably already have on hand. Be sure to check out these other delicious Italian weeknight dinner recipes:
- Vegetable Lasagne with Hidden Veggies. This tasty and simple lasagne is perfect weeknight dinner and satisfies even the pickiest of eaters.
- Easy Eggplant Parmesan is a great meatless Monday dinner that’s ready in less than 30 minutes.
- Baked Tortellini Casserole is a simple and fast no boil recipe. Kids and adults go crazy for this tasty cheesy dish.
- Stuffed Zucchini Boats are a great low-carb option and make for the perfect weeknight dinner.
Tried any of these recipes? Comment and let me know how you liked them. Enjoy!
Turkey Vegetable Spaghetti
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 medium carrots, peeled
- 1 bell pepper, seeded
- 1 medium onion, peeled
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 medium zucchini, shredded
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 24 ounce can diced tomatoes (San Marzano if possible)
- Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions until al dente, reserving a cup of cooking liquid. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cut carrots, bell pepper, and onion into large chunks and place in food processor. Pulse until diced into desired size. (Alternativly, you can dice these veggies into a small dice). Add to skillet and saute for 3-4 mintues until softened, adding the minced garlic during the last minute of cooking.
- Push the veggies to the side of the pan and add the ground turkey to the middle, breaking up with a spoon. Season with oregano, dried basil, salt and pepper. Cook through (about 6-7 minutes) then add the tomato paste and zucchini. Saute for an additional two mintues and then pour in the diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, adding pasta water if the sauce is too thick.
- Serve sauce over cooked spaghetti. Garnish with shredded parmesean if desired.