You have to try this recipe because it is freakin’ amazing!!! I’ve been legit eating this slow cooker turkey bolognese sauce every day for lunch during the last week, it’s THAT good!!! Apart from it being delicious, it’s also healthy, crazy easy to make and it’s a great make ahead recipe and perfect for food prep Sunday. How many more reasons do you need to try this? None, I promise, you won’t regret pulling your slow cooker out of the box and spending 20 minutes prepping this recipe.
I know that bolognese isn’t exactly a summer recipe but the addition of zucchini noodles give it a summer twist and sometimes I just crave this type of dish even in the middle of July! This slow cooker turkey bolognese sauce is so tasty that I don’t even miss the beef. This recipe came about because I’m following a nutritional program that’s based on flexible dieting so I’ve been trying to find macro-friendly recipes that I can make ahead and they have to taste good so it doesn’t feel like I’m missing out. I’ve got a nutrition coach that belongs to Working Against Gravity (WAG) and I can’t say enough good things about this program.
Flexible dieting takes some extra time because I have to weigh and measure my food so preparation is really important in order for me to stick to my goals. Sundays are my food prep day and this slow cooker turkey bolognese sauce is now a regular on my food prep list.
I also recently discovered zucchini noodles or zoodles and I’m also totally loving this! I’m not going to lie and say they substitute pasta but I’ve found them to be a great filler instead of pasta. I get way more volume with zoodles and they’re neutral so they just taste like whatever you’re serving them with. I spiralize a few zucchinis on Sunday and just grab some for my lunch. I nuke them for 1:30 min. on high by themselves and then I add my sauce and reheat again and it’s done!
You could just throw all the ingredients in your slow cooker but I’m not a fan because I think browning the meat and sautéing the veggies before add a serious level of flavour to the dish that you won’t get if you just go straight to the slow cooker. It’s an extra 10-15 minutes that make all the difference so go ahead and dirty that sauté pan because you will thank me after your first bite of this slow cooker turkey bolognese sauce.
- 1 lb/500 gr. ground turkey meat*
- 1 Tbsp./15 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1/170 gr. onion, finely chopped
- 3/7 gr. garlic cloves, crushed
- 6/40 gr. white mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1/170 gr. green pepper, finely chopped
- 1/85 gr. carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 28 oz./830 gr. of whole canned tomatoes, with the juice, crushed with a spoon
- 1 tsp./5 gr. dried oregano
- 1 tsp./5 gr. dried parsley
- 1 tsp./5 gr. dried basil
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Heat a non-stick sauté pan on high and brown the ground turkey until it's brown and no longer pink on the inside (approx. 5-7 min.) Make sure to properly crumble the meat with a spoon. Remove the meat and add to the slow cooker.
- Use the same sauté pan and lower the heat to medium. Add the extra virgin olive oil and the onions and cook for about 5 min. Make sure to scrape up the brown bits from the meat because this adds flavour.
- Add the crushed garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Add the rest of the veggies (carrots, green peppers and mushrooms) and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked veggies to the slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients (canned tomatoes, herbs, and salt and pepper). Make sure you break up the whole tomatoes with a spoon.
- Stir all the ingredients so they are well incorporated.
- Set your slow cooker to high and program for 4.5 hours. Remove the lid during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
- *I used a ground turkey meat composed of 90% turkey breast. You need some dark meat and fat in this sauce for it to be as flavourful as possible.
- **Don't skip the browning or sauté steps before adding your ingredients to the slow cooker because these steps are crucial to a flavour packed sauce.