Weekend Food Prep–Chunky Turkey Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce

Does everyone already have a favorite tomato-based pasta sauce recipe? No question, a basic spaghetti sauce was one of the first dinners I learned to cook as a teen. But just in case you’ve been making-do with the jarred stuff and want to up your game a bit, here’s a good starting place. Give it a try and then feel free to make it your own. I don’t follow a recipe anymore.

Photo description: A large skillet on the stove with bubbling chunky spaghetti sauce inside.

Chunky Turkey Vegetable Spaghetti Sauce

one. In a large skillet, add a tablespoon or two of olive or canola oil. Heat on medium heat and add:
1 cup diced yellow or white onion
1 crown (about 2-3 cups diced) broccoli flowerets and stem (frozen works, too)
2 diced zucchini

When I’m not making it for my husband, I also add about 2 cups chopped fresh button mushrooms

two. Saute the vegetables until the onion is soft and translucent, about 8 minutes.
Add: 2 Tbs each of dried basil, oregano, and thyme
4-5 minced cloves of garlic

three. Stir around the herbs and garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add:
1 lb. ground turkey breast(1)
2 lb. ground 93% turkey meat

four. Break up the turkey and cook until it is no longer pink. Then add:
6 cups tomato sauce (I only use Hunt’s because I don’t like the flavor of tomato sauce with added sugar in it–6 cups is about four 15 oz cans or two 29 oz. cans.)

five. Bring to a simmer and lower the heat. Allow to slowly bubble and cook down until thick, about 30 minutes, but it doesn’t hurt to let it go longer. Give it a stir once in a while to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, cook according to the package directions:
1 lb. spaghetti noodles

six. When you’re ready to serve, place about 1 cup of noodles on the plate with a generous cup or so of sauce and 1-2 tbs. freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Yields 8-10 servings. This sauce freezes well and reheats beautifully.

(1) You can, of course, only use ground turkey breast or only 93% ground turkey. This combination is my compromise between the better flavor of the higher fat 93% turkey while keeping the total fat of the meal within my preferred range.

Photo description: A golden brown plate with a pile of spaghetti noodles, chunky sauce and parmesan cheese. There is a fork alongside it.

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