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

Easy Turkey Bolognese

This Easy Turkey Bolognese Sauce is such an easy weeknight dinner! Leftover turkey is perfect for putting this bolognese together in just 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! You can also use the same method for our Homemade Turkey Soup with a leftover chicken too!

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

Bolognese Sauce

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

This Turkey Bolognese will give you all those same flavors, lightened up and in just 30 minutes! We’re using leftover turkey for this pasta recipe but you can substitute leftover chicken as well.

No leftovers? Head to your grocery store and grab a rotisserie chicken or a turkey breast (usually right there by the chicken) and use that for your sauce.

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

I like when 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.

Bolognese Sauce Ingredients

This pasta sauce recipe is hearty and filling and oh so delicious.

Like I said, typically bolognese sauce is made with beef – in fact you can use this exact recipe and add ground beef instead of the turkey. Same process, same basic ingredients.

The other ingredients in a classic bolognese are celery, carrots, onions and tomatoes. You can use canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce or a combination of both.

Easy Turkey Bolognese is a leftover turkey recipe served over pasta

If you’re really jammed for time you can add your favorite jarred marinara sauce too! This bolognese sauce recipe is SO adaptable, it’s going to be one of your dinner recipe staples!

What Kind Of Pasta Goes 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, farfalle (bow ties) or you can even make a lasagna bolognese! Recipe to come…

Easy Turkey Bolognese is a leftover turkey recipe that is made into a thick pasta sauce

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.

What Can You Serve With This Turkey Bolognese Recipe?

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

Not a fan of artichokes? Try a Caesar Salad with our favorite (no ‘chovy!) homemade dressing or Roasted Broccoli with Toasted Breadcrumbs

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

Turkey Bolognese Recipe

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

Easy Turkey Bolognese

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American/Italian


This hearty bolognese sauce is a perfect leftover turkey recipe! If you don’t have leftover turkey you can easily swap out chicken or ground beef!


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

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice

1 cup tomato sauce (or substitute jarred marinara sauce)

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Chopped parsley for garnish


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the carrots, celery and onions along with the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

Cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring until softened.

Add the cooked turkey, stirring into the carrots, onions and celery.

Add the tomato paste, working into the turkey mixture, then pour in the diced tomatoes with their juice and the tomato sauce.

Bring the sauce to a simmer, partially cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often. The sauce will get thicker and deeper in flavor if you cook it longer than 20 minutes, you can even go up to an hour on low heat.

Right before serving, add the cream and parmesan cheese. Stir into the sauce to combine and season with more salt and pepper to taste if needed. Serve over pasta, rice, baked potatoes or crispy french fries!


This recipe makes enough to serve with a pound of pasta which will give you about 6 servings for dinner.

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

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