I’ve got a delicious recipe for Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese Spaghetti Sauce I’m excited to share with you today. I adapted it from The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone, where she calls it “Slow Cooker Turkey Ragu alla Bolognese”
When I was growing up in Connecticut in the 1970s, ‘Ragu‘ was a brand of spaghetti sauce, still widely available in grocery stores today. But in Italy, a ragu is used to describe a meat-based sauce with a small amount of tomato sauce added to it. The meat in an authentic Italian ragu can be veal, beef, lamb, pork, poultry or even fish.
Michele explains in her recipe headnotes that while Bolognese style ragu is typically made with ground veal or beef, turkey makes a flavorful substitute. If you prefer, you could always use ground beef, veal or a combination of the two instead.
How Many Calories and Weight Watchers Points in this Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese Sauce?
I decreased the fat and calories by almost 50% by making some minor changes to the recipe. The original recipe called for 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and ½ cup of heavy cream, which are all high in calories, total fat, and saturated fat. I cut the butter and olive back to 1 tablespoon each. Additionally, the recipe also included 4 ounces of pancetta, which I omitted. I also substituted half and half for the suggested cream.
Always keep in mind that that the specific nutritional values may vary based on the specific ingredients used and the serving size.
Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese Ingredients
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium celery ribs, finely chopped
2 medim carrots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-½ pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 28-ounce can Italian peeled tomatoes, drained and finely chopped (I included the puree from the tomatoes)
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (didn’t have so left it out)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup heavy cream (I used half and half since it’s what I had available)
How to Make Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese Sauce Step by Step
Step 1: Gather and prep your ingredients.
Step 2: In a large saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook until tender and golden, about 20 minutes.
Step 3: Stir in ground turkey and cook, stirring often, until browned, about 15 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, wine, and broth and bring to a simmer.
Step 4: Scrape the mixture into your slow cooker and add the tomatoes, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. (I added ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.) Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until thick.
Step 5: Stir in half and half and cook for 15 minutes more.
Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe Notes
This was delicious! It’s definitely going into the regular rotation. I love the ease of this recipe. It takes a little time to cook the vegetables and meat but then you just dump it into the slow cooker and let is simmer away until dinner time.
I made a few changes to the original recipe based on what I had on hand and to lower the fat, calories and WW Points:
Used 1 tablespoon butter instead of 2.
Used 1 tablespoon olive oil instead of 2
Omitted 4 ounces chopped pancetta
Used ½ cup half and half instead of cream
What to Serve with Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce
Traditional Bolognese sauce is typically Served over fresh pasta such as fresh spinach or egg fettuccini. I served ours over dried spaghetti since it’s what I had on hand. This sensational sauce would also be delicious over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
I usually serve a simple salad alongside. For those not concerned about calories or carbs, warm crusty Italian bread or toasted garlic bread would be delicious.
Ways to Use Leftover Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce
There are many delicious ways to use leftover bolognese sauce. Here are some ideas perfect for Weight Watchers:
Baked pasta: Use the Bolognese sauce to make a baked pasta dish like lasagna, lasagna rolls, baked ziti or this Baked Gnocchi Bolognese Made Lighter. Simply layer the sauce with cooked pasta and cheese, then bake until heated through and bubbly.
Zucchini boats: Cut zucchinis in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds to create a “boat” shape. Fill each zucchini half with Bolognese sauce and top with a sprinkle of low-fat cheese. Bake in the oven until the zucchini is tender and the cheese is melted.
Spaghetti squash: Roast a spaghetti squash and use a fork to shred the flesh into “noodles.” Toss the spaghetti squash noodles with Bolognese sauce for a low-carb, high-fiber meal.
Cauliflower rice bowls: Make cauliflower rice by pulsing cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles rice. Saute the cauliflower rice with some Bolognese sauce and any vegetables you like, such as bell pepper, onion, and mushroom.
Stuffed mushrooms: Remove the stems from portobello mushrooms and fill the caps with Bolognese sauce. Top with a sprinkle of low-fat cheese and bake in the oven until the mushrooms are tender and the cheese is melted.
Shepherd’s pie: Use the Bolognese sauce as the base for a shepherd’s pie. Top the sauce with mashed potatoes and bake until golden brown.
Sloppy Joes: Turn the Bolognese sauce into an Italian Sloppy Joe by serving it on a hamburger bun or roll.
Pizza topping: Use the sauce as a pizza topping. Spread it over a pre-made crust, top with cheese and any other desired toppings, and bake until the crust is golden brown.
Skillet Lasagna Use the sauce to make this easy skillet lasagna.
Calzones or Empanadas: Use the sauce as a filling for calzones or empanadas. Simply fill pre-made dough or 2-ingredient dough with the sauce, seal, and bake until golden brown.
You can also portion out the leftover sauce into airtight containers and freeze it for future quick and easy meals.
If you’ve made this Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese Sauce, please give the recipe a star rating below and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. And stay in touch on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates.
Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese Sauce
Click here to see your WW Points for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site.
2 *PointsPlus (Old plan)
*Always keep in mind that that the specific nutritional values may vary based on the specific ingredients used and the serving size.
Recipe source: Adapted from The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone
*Points® calculated by WW. *PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc. All recipe ingredients except optional items included in determining nutritional estimates. SmartPoints® values calculated WITHOUT each plan’s ZeroPoint Foods (Green plan, Blue plan, Purple plan) using the WW Recipe Builder.
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Martha is the founder and main content writer for Simple-Nourished-Living.
A longtime lifetime WW at goal, she is committed to balancing her love of food and desire to stay slim while savoring life and helping others do the same.
She is the author of the Smart Start 28-Day Weight Loss Challenge.
A huge fan of the slow cooker and confessed cookbook addict, when she’s not experimenting in the kitchen, you’re likely to find Martha on her yoga mat.
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