Low-Calorie Bolognese Sauce


Bolognese sauce is a classic Italian dish known for its rich flavors and hearty texture. Traditionally, this sauce is made with ground beef and generous amounts of oil, making it high in calories. However, with a few simple tweaks, you can create a low-calorie version of bolognese sauce that still delivers all the deliciousness without compromising your health goals. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making a flavorful and low-calorie bolognese sauce that will satisfy your cravings and nourish your body.


  • 1 pound lean ground turkey or extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium beef or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery to the pan. Sauté until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned.
  3. Add the ground turkey or beef to the pan, breaking it up with a spoon. Cook until browned and cooked through.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste, dried oregano, dried basil, and red pepper flakes (if using). Cook for another minute to allow the flavors to meld together.
  5. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and beef or vegetable broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and let it simmer gently for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. If the sauce becomes too thick, you can add a little more broth or water to reach your desired consistency.
  8. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings if needed. Add more salt, pepper, or herbs to suit your preferences.
  9. Remove the pan from the heat and let the bolognese sauce rest for a few minutes before serving.
  10. Serve the low-calorie bolognese sauce over your choice of whole wheat pasta, zucchini noodles, or spaghetti squash for a lighter option.

Tips for Success:

  • To further reduce the calorie content, you can substitute part of the ground meat with finely chopped mushrooms or lentils.
  • Experiment with adding additional vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach to increase the nutritional value of the sauce.
  • If you prefer a smoother texture, you can use an immersion blender or food processor to puree the sauce before serving.
  • Double the recipe and freeze any leftovers in individual portions for quick and convenient meals.


By making a few adjustments to the traditional bolognese sauce recipe, you can create a low-calorie version that is both delicious and nutritious. This flavorful sauce made with lean ground turkey or beef and an array of aromatic vegetables will satisfy your cravings without derailing your health goals. So, grab your ingredients, follow the steps, and savor the goodness of this low-calorie bolognese sauce. It’s a satisfying and guilt-free way to enjoy the classic Italian flavors.

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