This Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese Sauce with Spaghetti Squash is lighter and healthier than the typical bolognese, yet will leave you feeling satisfied.
We’re in the thick of the holiday season, and it’s hard to resist all the treats that we seem to be surrounded by. This holiday season, I’ve tried to balance indulging in holiday fare less and eating light more.
It’s natural to crave comfort food during the wintertime, which often means heavier, heartier meals. My kids and husband love bolognese sauce, so I made a lighter version of this favorite pasta sauce recently, tucking in some extra vegetables. If I had some mushrooms, I would have chopped them up and added them too.
Although my kids love this sauce served on pasta, I opted to enjoy it with roasted spaghetti squash, a low carb option. Spaghetti squash is really easy to prepare. Simply cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast it for 30-40 minutes, depending on the size.
You know the spaghetti squash is done when a knife can be inserted into the squash without resistance. Spaghetti squash will naturally shred into pasta like strands when you scrape the inside with a fork.
I made this Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese Sauce with Spaghetti Squash for this month’s Recipe Redux Theme “Grab a Book & Cook.” We’re playing a game to celebrate that The Recipe ReDux has been around for 54 months! Each participant is cooking from a cookbook recipe on page 54 or 154. I chose Weeknight Bolognese from Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That? cookbook. To make Ina Garten’s recipe a little healthier, I left out the heavy cream, added some extra vegetables and served it with spaghetti squash instead of pasta. I also used ground turkey instead of ground beef for non red-meat eaters. Although this recipe can be made on the stovetop in a fairly short amount of time, I chose to make it in a slow cooker because I was going work that day, and knew I’d be too tired to cook by the end of the day.
Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese Sauce with Spaghetti Squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion finely chopped
- 1 cup carrots finely chopped
- 1 cup celery finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 pound ground turkey 93%
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine or chicken broth
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- fresh basil finely shredded, for serving
- 1 large spaghetti squash or 2 small
- olive oil
Heat olive oil in a large skillet; add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes, and sauté until aromatic, about 3-4 minutes. Add ground turkey and cook until no longer pink. Add tomato paste and cook another 2-3 minutes to develop flavor. Add red wine and scrape up any browned bits. Transfer to slow cooker and add tomato sauce, water, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook on low for 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash in half and scoop out seeds with a large spoon. Place face down on an oiled sheet pan. Bake 30-40 minutes until a knife can be inserted into squash easily. Using a fork, scrape out spaghetti squash. Divide among serving bowls. Top with Bolognese Sauce. Sprinkle with shredded basil.
Dietitian Jess says
I made a spaghetti squash carbonara last night- the squash makes for a perfect substitution for pasta!
Love the idea of spaghetti squash carbonara!
Nicole @ Fitful Focus says
You had me at slow cooker. This looks delicious!
This looks fantastic! I love your variation of Bolognese. So funny that we both grabbed the same cookbook for this challenge!
Yes – very funny – and two different interpretations!
Jessica @ Nutritioulicious says
Looks delish! I can’t get over how many ReDuxers made a variation on this recipe! Think I need to get myself a copy of Ina’s book!
Angie@Angie's Recipes says
Delicious, comforting and very healthy too.
Jeanette, have a blessed and fun holiday season!
Thanks Angie – wishing you a Happy Holiday season!
John T. says
Bought a spaghetti squash this morning. This will be tonight’s dinner menu. Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays John! Hope you enjoy this recipe and are relaxing this holiday season.
John T. says
Thank you so much! What an interesting way to have sauce without pasta. Truly delicious! ????
Thanks so much for trying this recipe John – so glad you enjoyed it!
Ally @OmNomAlly says
Love this – spaghetti squash is so comforting and delicious, with none of the heaviness of traditional pasta dishes.
I think this Recipe Redux has to be my favourite of all the months since I joined, it’s helping me to find so many new cookbooks to buy and try out! Great redux, thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks Ally – with all the holiday goodies, it’s nice to include some healthy meals in between 😉
Really enjoyed this cooked really low for hours, was yummy.
Kim – so glad you enjoyed this recipe – thanks for letting me know!
If I include red wine, Is it safe for kids? I have a 2 year old.
Eva- the alcohol cooks off so it should be fine, but you can just leave it out if you want.