Ground Turkey Spaghetti Sauce

This ground turkey spaghetti sauce is a quick and healthy riff on traditional ragu that’s made with ground turkey, canned tomatoes, white wine, onion, celery, carrots, and garlic.

A little bit of spaghetti and ground turkey spaghetti sauce on a white plate with a gold fork.

While this ground turkey spaghetti sauce seems decadent, it’s healthy, with lean turkey and white wine taking the place of red meat and heavy cream, the depth of flavor conjuring up a long-simmering, authentic three-day Bolognese. The honest truth is that it only takes 45 minutes. And, while you might imagine this sauce is labor-intensive, it’s in fact super easy, with your food processor doing all the work. But don’t take my word for it (I’ve been known to fib)—the proof is in this thick, rich-tasting ragu.–Julie Albert

What is a "ragu"?

A hearty Italian sauce that’s used primarily with pasta, “ragu” is typically a lot more generous with the meat than anything else in the ingredient list. It’s most commonly made with ground beef along with tomatoes, and finely chopped onions, celery, and carrots. And it’s magnificently satisfying.

Ground Turkey Spaghetti Sauce

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 6
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Using a food processor or blender, combine the red onion, celery, carrots, garlic, parsley, rosemary, and crushed red pepper flakes. Pulse on and off until the ingredients are finely chopped, about 20 seconds.

Drop the vegetables into a large pot and add the ground turkey. Place over medium-high heat and cook, breaking up the turkey with a wooden spoon until cooked through and the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Add the salt and pepper.

Pour in the white wine and increase the heat to high, letting it cook down for 3 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and cook the sauce for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you have more time, uncover and continue to cook the sauce for 10 to 20 minutes more. 

Tester tip: The longer you cook the sauce, the more nuanced and balanced the taste. We suggest you let it simmer for a total of at least 30 and preferably 40 minutes.

While the sauce cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions until al dente. Drain well.

Toss cooked pasta with the spaghetti sauce and serve with Parmesan cheese.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

What a perfectly delish Sunday (or any day) dinner. I think the rosemary makes the spaghetti sauce. It’s not fussy or complicated and takes no time whatsoever to make.

This took me 40 minutes to prepare. I used my food processor to pulse all of my vegetables and I let the wine reduce for 5 minutes before I added the crushed tomatoes and paste. The turkey spaghetti sauce didn’t leave me wanting for anything more. It was flavorful and delicious. I didn’t miss red meat or cream at all, and I actually liked this much better. It was super light and flavorful.

This is a good recipe for ground turkey spaghetti sauce and it comes together quickly. As I was putting it together, I wondered if it would have much flavor since there aren't many spices in it. All the veggies and the rosemary are enough, and the rosemary flavor comes through nicely without overpowering.

My only negative was that as the sauce sits, it separates so there are thin watery parts. Next time I would simmer without the lid so some of the liquid evaporates.


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