A Lighter Bolognese


A few tweaks to this Sunday bolognese make it not so traditional, but lighter and quick to make. Sure we're losing the pork and beef, substituting for turkey, but we've still got a healthy pour of red wine and finish with a splash of half and half to cut some of the acid and cream up this sauce - all without the ritual of cooking for 2-3 hours. 

I have a thing about taking traditional sauces and meals and making them healthier because my mind fights with "is this right and would grandma be down?" and "we live in a very new world where people want alternatives and good, accessible food that can be enjoyed and still harken some reminder of meals past without taking a whole day to make."

So I do think my grandma would be down, I think she'd be proud I'm cooking and feeling bright. 

I always recommend when someone is new to cooking they start with a sauce. A nice meat sauce can be used a few different ways and is a wonderful way to get the kids trying a new veggie like spaghetti squash - when it's bathed in a deliciousness like this. You can also add carrots and celery to this mix, I cut corners to save some more time ... faster to my mouth. 

You can get saucy by:

1. Serving this over pasta
2. Serving over butternut squash or turnip faux-pasta, also known as spiralized noodles
3. Spooned atop a mound of spaghetti squash
4. As a sauce on a polenta pizza and topped with some cooked spinach and other veggies to boost your daily rainbow situation
4. On individual pita pizzas, a weeknight save


Get in your kitchen and start somewhere, like by making a good Sunday sauce.



  • 2 T butter
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 lb turkey meat
  • ½ of fresh nutmeg clove, grated
  • Salt 
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 c. red wine
  • 2-3 T half + half


  • Heat butter and olive oil in a heavy bottomed skilet or pot
  • Add onions and sautee until fragrant and translucent
  • Add turkey meat and cook until browned
  • Sprinkle with salt, grated nutmeg and mix
  • Add wine and simmer until evaporated 
  • Pour in tomatoes, mix 
  • Cook uncovered for 40 minutes
  • Stir in half + half
  • Serve with any of the above for a make ahead meal

Swaps + Notes

  • Vegan: Swap butter for olive oil and use tempeh for a "meaty" texture to add some body to your sauce! Or go for some baby portobello mushrooms, they'll do the same. Eliminate the half and half and melt in Earth Balance for a creamy finish