Healthy Bolognese Sauce

healthy bolognese sauce with rigatoni pasta.

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5 from 4 reviews

In this Healthy Bolognese sauce recipe, a combo of ground turkey, mushrooms and grass fed beef replace the meats used in a traditional Bolognese sauce. This healthier version of the sauce still packs plenty of flavor, and is excellent with a good Tuscan Sangiovese.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 ozs mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1 lb ground beef, grass-fed
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 28 ozs diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup finely minced kale or other green
  • cooked pasta for serving — shapes like rigatoni and ziti work well for Bolognese
  • grated Parmigiano cheese for topping


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion, and cook until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until they begin to soften and sweat, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the red wine and minced garlic, stirring to combine with the mushrooms and onions.
  4. Once the wine has been mostly absorbed, add the ground beef to the pot. Stir occasionally. When the beef begins to brown, after about 5 minutes, add the turkey and cook for a few more minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes and beef broth, along with the kale plus the herbs and spices (basil, sage, ground fennel). Raise the heat to bring to a simmer, then lower to medium low to maintain a simmer. Simmer uncovered for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Cook your pasta according to package instructions after the sauce has been simmering for about 30 minutes. Drain and toss immediately with sauce. If you are using about 20 ounces or more of sauce, you can toss all the sauce and pasta at once. If using a smaller portion of pasta, toss initially with several scoops of sauce, then add the additional amount of sauce needed to have the pasta sauced the way you like it.
  7. Plate the pasta and served topped with freshly grated Parmigiano cheese, along with a good glass of Italian Sangiovese.


  • This Healthy Bolognese Sauce makes enough for at least 20 ounces of pasta. If you only have 2 to 3 people eating it, you may want to cook enough pasta for the first night, then save the sauce to serve with a fresh batch of pasta the next time you have it. Alternatively you can cook the 20 ounces of pasta and toss it all with the sauce, and save the leftovers to be quickly reheated. That makes the leftover night easier, but the fresh pasta improves the taste.
  • If you have basil or other fresh herbs on hand, definitely substitute the fresh for the dried. 1 tbsp fresh basil is roughly equal to 1 tsp dried basil.
  • We used basic button mushrooms but feel to free to use other types of mushrooms if you prefer.
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