This Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese Pasta Sauce is perfect for weeknight meals – make a double recipe and freeze it. My kids and husband love pasta with Bolognese sauce, so this has become a regular favorite at dinnertime. I’ve taught each of my young adult children how to make this sauce. It’s economical, can be made in large batches and freezes well.
Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese Pasta Sauce is a simple, easy meal that can be started in the morning and left to simmer all day long. The best part about this recipe is that it can also be made ahead, and frozen.
My Italian friend tells me she lets her Bolognese Sauce simmer all day long. Traditionally, Bolognese Sauce is made with a variety of ground meat (ground beef, veal, pork). Sometimes milk is also added, and pancetta is used for flavoring. This version that I made uses turkey meat, and does not contain any dairy. Instead of worrying about this sauce simmering on the stove all day, I make it in a slow cooker.
This slow cooker turkey bolognese pasta sauce is my go-to dinner on busy days. When my kids were younger and I knew I would be driving them all afternoon and wouldn’t have much time to make dinner after we got home, I’d throw this Turkey Bolognese Sauce in the crockpot in the morning and let it simmer away. There’s nothing better than having a hot dinner waiting for you when you walk in the door with a bunch of starving kids. Served with a simple salad, this is an easy, satisfying weeknight dinner.
I sauteed the vegetables and browned the meat on the stove before putting it in the crockpot for best flavor. Sometimes crockpot recipes can be bland (I’ve made a meat sauce in the crockpot without any browning and was sorely disappointed), so I would definitely suggest this extra step, you won’t be disappointed. Also, adding fresh basil to the sauce to simmer a bit adds a beautiful aroma.
Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 carrots peeled, finely chopped (~ 1 cup)
- 2 celery stalks finely chopped (~ 1 cup)
- 2 medium onions finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- a few sprigs fresh basil reserve a few leaves for garnish
- Heat oil in a large saute pan on medium. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Saute until onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add ground turkey to pan and cook until no longer pink, breaking up pieces.
- Add red wine and continue cooking until there is no more liquid in the pan.
- Spoon meat into crockpot. Add thyme, bay leaf, tomatoes, salt and pepper.
- Cook for 6-7 hours on low, adding a little water if needed.
- Add fresh basil sprigs half an hour before serving.
- Serve with your favorite cooked pasta.
You can substitute red wine with chicken or beef broth
If you like this Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese Pasta Sauce recipe, you might like these slow cooker recipes: