Skinny Sausage & Pasta Bolognese

By switching out the pork sausage in favor of chicken or turkey sausage, eliminating the olive oil, reducing the amount of cheese, and using half-and-half over heavy whipping cream this lighter version is only 424 calories per serving with the pasta. (Traditional Bolognese Pasta with sausage ranges between 700-1000 calories per serving.)

This makes A LOT of sauce! It covers a pound of pasta very well, or you can freeze some for later.


  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • Cooking spray *
  • 1 1/2 cup water *
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 lb hot chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes (I prefer petite diced, but regular diced works too.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red pepper (jar)
  • 16 oz beef broth, low-sodium
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chopped, fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (fresh preferred but not necessary)
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 1 lb pasta, cooked to box instructions
  • Cooking spray

What you need:

  • 2 large cooking pots
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • knife and cutting board
  • can opener
  • strainer
  • food processor (handy, but optional)

*Cooking spray and water are used to cook onion, carrots, and celery in lieu of oil.

Use a food processor to pulse carrots, onion, and celery into small dices.

In a large pot add the cooking spray and sauté the onions, celery, carrots on medium-high heat until they are soft, about 15 minutes, adding 1/4 cup of water each time it disappears.

Add garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Add the sausage and break up the meat with a spoon and fry until no longer pink.

Next, add the tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and red wine. Stir and reduce until the wine has almost completely evaporated.

Now add the tomatoes, red pepper, broth, and bay leaves. Stir to ensure everything is well mixed.

Simmer for 30 minutes to 3 hours. (If using an Instant Pot, simmer at around 200 degrees.) The longer the simmer, the deeper and more concentrated the flavor.

(To lid or not to lid: that is the question. If you want a thicker sauce, keep the lid off. I like to simmer with the lid on for about an hour and then remove the lid for the last 30 minutes when I can keep an eye on the amount of liquid. This is usually when I’m making the pasta.)

Meanwhile, cook the pasta so that it’s finished cooking at the end of your desired simmer time for the sauce.

Once the sauce is finished simmering, turn off the stove. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the fresh chopped spinach and parmesan. Let the spinach steam for 5 minutes. Then stir in the half and half.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Serve with more parmesan, if desired.

Serves 8 very hungry people. 424 calories/serving

Like sausage dishes? Try these “healthified” versions of some of my favorite dishes.

2 responses to “Skinny Sausage & Pasta Bolognese”

  1. […] if you enjoyed reading about this recipe, check out Skinny Sausage and Pasta Bolognese and Instant Pot […]

  2. […] Like turkey sausage? Try my Skinny Sausage Bolognese! […]

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