Make a good Bolognese and you have a meal! For those unfamiliar with the delicious Italian sauce, it is a meat-based sauce that originates from Bologna, Italy, hence the name. Although the sauce is often made with beef, veal or pork, turkey is the star of this recipe. Turkey is an excellent source of protein with even better flavor.
We’re speeding things up for this usually slow cooked delicacy with the help of an Instant Pot. Once the sauce is done, all you need are noodles to complete the plate. How easy is that? The thing is, pasta isn’t very healthy which is why zucchini noodles or zoodles are used in this meal prep instead. Since the sauce is hearty, it’s nice to lighten things up a bit instead of loading up on simple carbs. I typically eat one serving right away. It is SO good and this prep yields 5 servings after all! Why not enjoy?
Traditional Bolognese is fairly healthy thanks to the protein and soffritto which is the holy trinity (onion, celery, carrots) of Italian cuisine but this version is even better. The aromatic soffritto remains, less fat is used in the sauce, carrots deliver a natural sweetness thus eliminating the need for sugar and the zoodles provide essential nutrients, are very low in carbs, gluten-free and almost too easy to prepare.
If you need more reason to give up your precious pasta, the swap saves an impressive 200+ calories. Not to mention zucchini is an excellent source of antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, contains energy boosting vitamins and can help control diabetes. On top of that, it has a well-balanced bitter/sweet flavor going on and appealing crisp texture making it an ideal replacement.
Meal Prep Tips
• Ground beef, lamb or pork can be substituted for ground turkey.
• Save time by buying pre-diced celery, onions, and carrots like [this] from Trader Joe’s.
• Feel free to add more vegetables if you like. Although loaded with veggies, it will be silky smooth once done!
• Buy zucchini noodles at the grocery store if you don’t have a spiralizer or Veggie Bullet (it also saves time).
• Use San Marzano DOP tomatoes. They tend to be less acidic.
• Blend the sauce on low speed. Blending on high will allow too much air into the sauce resulting in a more acidic sauce.
• Add an additional tablespoon of olive oil to give the sauce more body and richness.
• Freeze any remaining sauce in Ziploc bags.
Turkey Bolognese Over Zoodles
This hearty, veggie-packed turkey Bolognese over zoodles is simple to make but sure to impress!
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
- 5 oz diced celery
- 5 oz diced onion
- 5 oz diced carrots
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp salt-free Italian seasoning, optional
- 1 bay leaf, optional
- 3 oz zucchini
- Press SAUTE on your Instant Pot/pressure cooker and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add the celery, onion, carrots and Italian seasoning (if using) when the oil is hot.
- Cook the veggies while stirring until softened and fragrant.
- Press OFF then X on the Instant Pot.
- Add the tomatoes as well as the canning juices followed by the bay leaf.
- Seal the lid and leave to cook.
- Spiralize the zucchini and add to the meal prep bowls. Do not cook. They will cook once you reheat the meal.
- Brown turkey in a large skillet as the sauce cooks.
- Use quick release when the timer goes off on the Instant Pot.
- Remove the bay leaf and use an immersion blender to puree the vegetables. If you don’t have an immersion blender, leave the sauce to cool then puree in a blender or food processor on low.
- Transfer sauce to the skillet with the browned ground turkey. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and leave to simmer for 3-4 minutes. It should have a meaty consistency.
- Add 1 cup of sauce over the zoodles in the meal prep container.
- Split the remaining sauce into 2 equal parts in 2 separate Ziploc bags so you always have a meal handy!
You Will Also Need:
• Cutting board
• Large non-stick pan
• Instant Pot/pressure cooker
• Oven/microwave safe meal prep container
• Ziploc bags