This Spiced Up Ground Turkey Spaghetti Sauce is an updated version of a post that I originally did in 2013. The recipe is pretty much the same as the original post titled Spiced Up Spaghetti Sauce, but in this post I am also going to explain how I make this sauce when we do not want the extra spice.
My mom made the BEST spaghetti, and growing up, it was my favorite meal! My sauce was pretty good, but couldn’t compare to moms. When I got married, and realized that my husband didn’t really care for spaghetti, I stopped making it. But, when the kids came along, I decided to alter my recipe a bit so I could make it again and hopefully everyone would enjoy it. The only difference now is that I sometimes spice it up a bit. With these changes, the kids love it, my husband doesn’t complain, and I get to enjoy my all time favorite meal again. Nothing will ever be as good as mom made, but this is pretty darn good.
I use pretty basic ingredients. What I do differently than my mom, is that I sometimes add green bell pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. My mom used an assortment of spices, but I am not sure what all she used. I use a good dose of Italian Seasoning. Most of the time I use ground turkey, occasionally I use ground beef. Both work, but I really prefer the ground turkey. Just remember to use a bit of olive oil when using ground turkey.
Over medium to medium-high heat, heat up a large pan and drizzle with olive oil. If you use ground beef instead of ground turkey, you do not need the olive oil. Add the ground turkey, onion and bell pepper. Go ahead and put in some red pepper flakes if you want to spice it up a bit. I probably use about 1/4 to 1/2 of a teaspoon. Add more if you like it spicier, or leave out completely for a more mello sauce. Next, put in the garlic powder and a good handful of Italian Seasoning. I use at least a Tablespoons worth. Also, add salt and pepper to taste.
As the ground turkey is cooking, you can use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the meat. We don’t like big chunks of meat in our sauce, so I break it down pretty good. Not sure if you can see it in this picture, but I added a good heaping teaspoon of chopped garlic. If you are using garlic powder, I would add it earlier, when you add the rest of your seasonings. (I often add just a bit of garlic powder, about 1/4 teaspoon, even when I use fresh garlic) Give it a good stir and cook for about 1 minute.
Add 1 can of diced tomatoes, 2 cans of tomato sauce and 1 bay leaf. I really like to use the Hunt’s Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes. To keep the sauce more on the mellow side, use plain diced tomatoes. Now it is time to just let it simmer for awhile. Turn the heat down, and don’t forget to come back once in awhile to give the sauce a stir.
The sauce has cooked for awhile and thickened up. This Spiced Up Ground Turkey Spaghetti Sauce sure smells good! Time to start the spaghetti cooking. (I won’t show pictures of that part, you know what to do.) For the pasta, I really like to use the vegetable pasta that is now available.
Time to eat!
Spiced Up Ground Turkey Spaghetti Sauce
1 pound of Ground Turkey or Ground Beef*
Olive oil (if using ground turkey)
1 medium Onion, chopped
1 medium Green Bell Pepper, chopped
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes, optional, adjust to taste
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon or so of Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 heaping teaspoon Garlic, chopped
1 14.5 oz. can Diced Tomatoes, Fire Roasted or Plain
2 15 oz. cans Tomato Sauce
1 Bay Leaf
Heat pan over medium to medium-high heat. Drizzle with olive oil and add ground turkey. Add chopped onion, bell pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Cook and stir until ground turkey is cook through and is broken into small pieces.
When the turkey is done, and garlic, stir, and cook for about 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Add 1 bay leaf. Turn heat down and simmer until sauce has cooked down and thickened up.
*Drain off excess grease if using ground beef.