Leftover Turkey Bolognese

Leftover Turkey Bolognese is the perfect way to use up leftover turkey after Thanksgiving! A hearty, comforting dinner that’s on the table in less than 30 minutes!

Leftover turkey recipes can easily be swapped with leftover chicken, too! This Leftover Turkey Shepherd’s Pie or this creamy Turkey Tetrazzini are perfect examples!

Easy Turkey Bolognese is a pasta sauce recipe that uses leftover turkey

A Quick Bolognese Sauce Recipe

Bolognese sauce is traditionally made with some type of beef. We usually see it made with ground beef but I’ve seen it made with pieces of leftover beef or steak, simmered for hours until super thick and rich.

But this Easy Turkey Bolognese will give you all those same flavors, lightened up and in just about 30 minutes! We’re using leftover turkey for this pasta recipe but you can substitute any leftover protein you have.

Beef, chicken, pork. Really – whatever you have in the fridge that you need to use up, swap it out for the turkey in this bolognese sauce! No leftovers? Head to your grocery store and grab a rotisserie chicken or a turkey breast so you can still make this easy dinner recipe.

I love when a traditional bolognese sauce is finished with a touch of cream, so I’m doing it that way for this turkey bolognese too. It doesn’t make it a cream sauce, just adds a richness to the sauce to round out the flavor.

Easy Turkey Bolognese is a pasta sauce recipe that can be ready in less than 30 minutes

Ingredients To Make This Turkey Bolognese:

So how do you get a long cooking bolognese sauce recipe on the table in 30 minutes? Use the same flavor components of the classic recipe and shorten up the cooking time by using a few tips. 

  • Leftover Turkey: Since leftover turkey already has all it’s flavor, all you need to do is add it to the sauce!
  • Carrots, Onions & Celery: Also called a mirepoix in cooking, carrots onions and celery add a ton of flavor, depth and texture
  • Tomato Sauce & Diced Tomatoes: We’re adding both kinds in this bolognese sauce for flavor and texture
  • Parmesan Cheese: Use the best quality cheese you can find, not the stuff in the can
  • Heavy Cream: Just a splash at the end to round out the flavors and add a delicious smoothness to this bolognese sauce
Easy Turkey Bolognese is a leftover turkey recipe that is made into a thick pasta sauce

What Kind Of Pasta Goes Best With Bolognese Sauce?

You want a hearty pasta to hold up to this meat sauce. I like rigatoni or ziti with holes inside so that the meat sauce goes in the tubes of the pasta, getting more sauce with every bite.

Thick Fettuccine noodles will work too, or fusilli, bow ties, or tagliatelle which is a classic.

But this turkey bolognese isn’t just for pasta! Serve this meat sauce over baked potatoes, spoon it over rice, layer it on tater tots or french fries for a bolognese poutine or just eat it as it for a healthy, low carb meal.

Easy Turkey Bolognese is a pasta sauce recipe with turkey, carrots and celery

What Can You Serve With This Turkey Bolognese Recipe?

We’re huge fans of artichokes so our Grandma’s Stuffed Artichokes or these Roasted Brown Butter Artichokes will go perfectly with any pasta recipe. A classic Stuffed Cheesy Artichoke is always a hit too!

Try adding a Caesar Salad with our favorite homemade dressing or Roasted Broccoli with Toasted Breadcrumbs.


turkey bolognese collage for pinterest

Looking For More Leftover Turkey Recipes?

Easy Turkey Bolognese is a pasta sauce recipe with turkey, carrots and celery

Leftover Turkey Bolognese

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18minutes
  • Total Time: 23 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Leftover Turkey Bolognese is the perfect way to use up leftover turkey after Thanksgiving! A hearty, comforting dinner that’s on the table in less than 30 minutes!



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound leftover turkey (or chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Chopped parsley for garnish


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the carrots, celery and onions along with the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
  3. Cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring until softened.
  4. Add the cooked turkey, stirring into the carrots, onions and celery.
  5. Add the tomato paste, working into the turkey mixture, then pour in the diced tomatoes with their juice and the tomato sauce.
  6. Bring the sauce to a simmer, partially cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often. The sauce will get thicker and deeper in flavor if you cook it longer than 15 minutes, you can even go up to an hour on low heat.
  7. Right before serving, pour in the cream and parmesan cheese. Taste for seasonings and serve over your pasta of choice.

Recipe Notes

This recipe makes enough to serve with 1 pound of cooked pasta.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: mantitlement, bolognese sauce, turkey bolognese, meat sauce, pasta sauce recipe, leftover turkey recipe

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