Easy Turkey Ragout Recipe – simple and delicious ~ Macheesmo

I love a big pot of pasta and gravy as much as the nearest half-Breed American Italian, but finding the time to get it right can be difficult. Good news! This easy turkey ragu (or turkey bolognese) recipe takes less than an hour to make, is packed with flavor, and is a little healthier than a classic pork and ground beef ragu.

I was honestly surprised at how much flavor this turkey stew ended up having. My family loved it and sipped it high on top of spaghetti.

To spice up the flavor a bit, I recommend adding turkey bacon to the mix, which adds a slight smokiness that’s similar to a classic ragu, but a bit healthier. If I’m honest, and I always am, I’m usually not a fan of turkey bacon, but it works Yes, really good in this recipe.

Of course, if you want to substitute regular bacon or pancetta, I will get in touch with you and fully support you in this endeavor.

Like most Italian sauces, this turkey stew keeps well and is easy to reheat, so feel free to make it ahead of time.

It freezes great too, so double it!

Turkey Ragu vs Turkey Bolognese

There is a technical difference between these two sauces. In general, a stew contains fewer tomatoes than a Bolognese. Personally I think people use these pretty interchangeably these days so you can name it and I won’t yell at you.

To me, it felt more like a ragu than a bolognese, but there’s no hard and fast rule here in my opinion. call it what you want I call it good food.

Turkey bacon is the key to turkey stew

Normally for a meat sauce like this I would start by browning some pancetta or bacon as a good base layer for the sauce. It adds some smokiness and fat to the dish and just makes the flavors more interesting and complex.

I tried turkey bacon for this version and was surprised at how great it turned out.

Turkey Bacon - Turkey Ragout Recipe
Turkey ham is not bad!

I’m not usually a fan of turkey bacon when all I eat is bacon, but it works well in this turkey stew recipe.

One thing: turkey bacon is super lean. It needs some fat, so add a good drizzle of olive oil while you cook it.

Making the Turkey Ragu Base

I kept the basis for this turkey ragout very classic. Onions, carrots, celery, garlic. Add this to the bacon and let it cook down a little in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.

Classic vegetable - turkey ragout
All the vegetables.


Brown ground turkey
Ground turkey is easy!

Then remove this mixture from the pot and you’ll likely be left with a fairly dry pot. Add a little more olive oil and add the ground turkey. Again, ground turkey is very lean, so it needs the extra fat. Trust me!

Finish the turkey ragout

Once the turkey is cooked through (about 6-7 minutes), add the red wine to deglaze the pan, and then you can add the vegetable and bacon mixture back in. Plus the marinara. Yummy!

Marinara - Simple turkey stew

Simmer everything together for about 10 minutes and then taste! It might need a pinch of salt and pepper, but probably not much more.

Simmering sauce
simmer simmer.

Serve this turkey stew in large balls over your choice of cooked spaghetti or pasta. Garnish with parmesan cheese as you do.

I was skeptical that I would like this turkey stew but it turned out better than expected and my family loved it.

Try it once!

Easy turkey ragout recipe

Can you make this sauce in the slow cooker?

Sometimes ragout is easy to make in a slow cooker. I like to make ragout in a slow cooker when using really hearty cuts of beef that need to cook for a while and break down completely before they’re good in a sauce. For example, this slow cooker version with beef stew is a great example.

While you could put all of these ingredients in a slow cooker and it would 100% cook and serve well, I think it’s a bit unnecessary. The recipe takes under an hour to prepare and benefits from cooking the ingredients differently so they all brown properly. You can’t do that in a slow cooker.

If you plan to cook it in a slow cooker, you’ll likely need to add an extra cup of liquid or mashed tomatoes to the mixture so there’s enough liquid to slow cook it. Much luck!

My easy turkey ragout recipe

This turkey stew has all the flavors of a traditional Bolognese sauce but cooks together quickly.  It's classic Italian home cooking!  macheesmo.com #turkey #ragu

Easy turkey stew

Slightly lighter than a classic bolognese, this easy turkey ragu recipe comes together in under an hour and is very flavorful! My secret to making it work: turkey bacon!

preparation time 10 minutes

cooking time 40 minutes

total time 55 minutes

course main course

kitchen American, Italian

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces Turkey Bacon chopped
  • 1 small white onion rolled
  • 1 carrot rolled
  • 2 Diced celery sticks
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • ½ Cup red wine
  • 28 ounces Marinara sauce
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lb spaghetti To serve
  • Fresh basil garnish
  • In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and chopped turkey bacon over medium-high heat. Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring regularly, until the bacon is nice and crispy.

  • Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper to the saucepan and continue to cook to allow the vegetables to soften, perhaps another 3-4 minutes. Then remove the mixture from the pot.

  • Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the saucepan as it will likely be quite dry and add ground turkey. Cook the turkey while it cooks until the turkey is completely cooked through, about 6 minutes. Add red wine to deglaze the pan, scraping off any bits.

  • Stir in turkey ham and vegetable mixture and add marinara sauce. Stir to combine.

  • Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, turn the heat down to low and allow the ragout to simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • Serve ragout over cooked spaghetti and garnish with fresh basil.

  • Leftover turkey stew keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days, or you can freeze it in an airtight container for 4-6 months. Defrost on the stove in a saucepan with a little water.

Portion: 1plateCalories: 279kcalCarbohydrates: fifteenGProtein: 26GFat: 12GSaturated Fatty Acids: 3GPolyunsaturated fat: 3GMonounsaturated fatty acids: 6GTrans fats: 0.01GCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 1320mgPotassium: 876mgFiber: 4GSugar: 8thGVitamin A: 2423ieVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 3mg

keyword Italian Food, Italian Recipes, Pasta Sauce, Ragu Recipes, Turkey Recipes

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