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

Easy Turkey Bolognese

This Easy Turkey Bolognese is a delicious way to use leftover turkey or chicken! This hearty pasta recipe is one of our favorite weeknight dinners!

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

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 creamy.

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.

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

I do 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.

What Are Classic Bolognese Sauce Ingredients?

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. 

Besides the meat, 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. Leftover vegetables from dinner? Throw ’em in.

We hate wasting food, so we love leftover recipes like this that can use up so many of those leftovers in your refrigerator! Get creative and really try and make some substitutions here to use what you have.

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 go perfectly with most any pasta recipe. A classic Stuffed Cheesy Artichoke is always a hit too!

Or try a Caesar Salad with our favorite homemade dressing or Roasted Broccoli with Toasted Breadcrumbs.

Looking For More Pasta Recipes?

Classic Lasagna Recipe

Beef Stuffed Shells

Leftover Turkey Tetrazzini

Easy Penne Vodka


turkey bolognese collage for pinterest

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 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

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


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, pour in the cream and parmesan cheese. Taste for seasonings and serve over your pasta of choice.


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

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

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