Veggie-Packed Pasta Sauce with Ground Turkey

One of my resolutions this year is to eat more vegetables, so I am thinking of all the ways that I can add them to recipes. This way I can increase the volume of food, increase the nutritional value, and decrease the amount of meat.

In my typical meat sauce, I would use one pound of ground turkey for each large can of crushed tomatoes. In this version, I doubled the amount of tomatoes, added lots of vegetables such as mushrooms, onions, carrots and celery, but only used one pound of ground turkey. It still turned out delicious, filling and even more healthy.

I love using my new pressure cooker (Instant Pot) to make sauces and soups, so I tried it for this recipe. If you prefer, you can just make it in a big pot on the stove.

Start by using the saute function to brown the ground turkey in a little bit of oil.

Next, add the chopped carrots, celery, onions and mushrooms.

Saute for a few minutes until they soften, then add some garlic and cook for another minute. Next, add the two containers of tomatoes (you can use POMI strained or finely chopped, regular canned crushed, or whichever type you prefer), and the salt, pepper, oregano, sweetener and red pepper flakes.

Now you can seal the lid and set the cook time on Manual for 10 minutes. Once the beeper goes off, let the pressure reduce gradually for at least 30 minutes.

If you cook this on the stove instead, let it simmer for 1 hour.

Here is the sauce after cooking.

Next, add finely chopped fresh basil, and taste to see if any additional salt or pepper are necessary.

I served it over organic spaghetti made out of black soybeans. This pasta is high in protein and fiber, and less than half the carbs of regular pasta.

Veggie-Packed Pasta Sauce with Ground Turkey

Servings:  12

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey, preferably organic
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, minced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 boxes (26.46 ounce) POMI strained tomatoes, or 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sweetener made from stevia
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped


In an Instant Pot pressure cooker, turn on the saute function, add the oil and the ground turkey and brown the meat, breaking it into small chunks.

Add the onions, mushrooms, carrots and celery, and continue cooking until softened.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Turn off the saute function.

Add the tomatoes and seasonings, except basil, and stir.  Seal the lid and set the Manual setting for 10 minutes.

When the timer goes off, leave the sauce on warm for at least 30 minutes, until the pressure releases naturally.  Stir in the fresh basil, taste to adjust seasonings, and serve.

Note:  If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can make the sauce on the stove in a large soup kettle.  Follow the directions as above, and simmer the tomato mixture for 1 hour before adding the basil.

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