penne with bolognese

Simple Penne Bolognese Recipe (With a Healthy Twist)

Wanting to put a healthy twist on a pasta classic? Here’s one of our favorites: Penne Bolognese.

If you think bolognese is boring, you are probably making it the wrong way! Preparing a homemade bolognese sauce is a great way of expressing yourself in the kitchen - there are so many possible combinations and different flavors that no recipe is alike.

All claim that they hold the best recipe, but everyone has their own individual taste profile. Spaghetti is such a popular dish because it can be paired beautifully with so many different sauces for a unique taste experience every time.

So, What Is the Twist?

Okay, here I go. The twist is a combination of three things:

  1. Ground turkey - I used ground turkey instead of the traditional ground beef for this recipe. This is because Turkey has less saturated fats and is better for your heart health.
  2. All of the vegetables! - In this recipe, there are 5 veggies that enhance the flavor and give an extra health twist to this recipe, with all of this added this sauce recipe has at least 2 servings of veggies in it.
  3. Turmeric - Turmeric is one of the spices in this recipe and not only does it taste amazing, but it also comes with lots of health benefits.

Love the benefits of Turmeric? Try this Coconut & Turmeric Smoothie Recipe next.

Penne Bolognese Recipe (With a Twist)

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Servings: 6 portions

Ready in: 1 hour

Someone cooking oniong and green pepper in a pot while prepping their sauce.


  • 400 ml tomato sauce
  • 240 g ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

Someone with fresh bolognese sauce in a pot, ready to serve.


  1. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Peel the onion and cut it into cubes
  3. Cook the bell pepper, celery, garlic, and onion until it becomes slightly transparent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add your grated carrot and let simmer for 1 minute.
  5. Add turkey, dried oregano, turmeric, pepper, paprika, dried thyme, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. Mix.
  6. Let simmer for a few minutes.
  7. During that time, cook the penne in boiling water.
  8. Serve with bolognese sauce on top.
  9. Optional: Add fresh basil to the top of your plate.

Pasta tip: I like to add a couple of whatever green, leafy herbs I have around as a contrasting pop of color to the already rich red sauce. This quick and healthy bolognese sauce can also be served with spaghetti squash, rice, bulgur, quinoa, zucchini… You can cook it to add to lasagna, cannelloni, moussaka, or even use it on a homemade pizza as well!

Pene bolognese in a bowl with basil on top.

Dig in!

Pasta is one of those universally loved base dishes that anyone can make, and it provides a wonderful avenue for experimentation with trying out new flavor combinations. I love to taste new sauces and when I cook, so I always prepare a monster amount so I have plenty of leftovers to put in the freezer!

The secret of a good tasty sauce is in the cooking of the meat and in the quality and freshness of the ingredients. Pasta doesn’t have to make you feel guilty or unhealthy if you combine it with a sauce you created using fresh, clean ingredients.

If you love this sauce as much as I do, make some extra and put it in a jar for later use - it’s delicious even when reheated.

I hope that you (and whomever else you’re feeding) will be glad you gave this recipe a try. Enjoy!

Did you like this recipe? We recommend trying this Low-Calorie Creamy Avocado Pasta Recipe next.

Editors Note: This recipe was originally published May 31st, 2018 and has been updated for accuracy.

Sophie Viau

Sophie Viau

Sophie is a blogger, writer, entrepreneur, world traveler, and photographer. As a young woman, she had an unusual dream: to discover Iceland! "Nobody in my entourage had an interest in this type of trip" says Sophie, so she decided to go alone. What she discovered was that, not only was... Read More

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