Spicy Sausage Ground Turkey Pasta Sauce

Spicy Sausage Ground Turkey Pasta Sauce is a fast, easy family meal! Simply toss this meaty tomato sauce with your favorite noodles for a filling, comforting dinner. Makes 4 servings.

Overhead of three bowls of Turkey Pasta Sauce, topped with cheese

2020 Update: This recipe was originally shared in April 2013. The post was updated and republished in 2020 to include new photographs, process shots and more tips and tricks. I hope you love this!

We can admit that this month has been pretty bizarre, right?

Whether you’re still working outside of the house or working from home, I think we can all agree that we need a good, hearty meal every once in a while.

This easy homemade pasta sauce recipe is something we all should add to our wheelhouses.

As an added bonus, it only calls for two fresh ingredients (ground turkey and sweet Italian sausage), so you might have everything on hand to make it tonight.

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    And if you don’t? Well, I’ve got some easy substitutions for you below. 🙂

    Other pasta dishes and sauces that are wonderful: Hamburger Casserole | Basil PestoFrench Onion Steak PastaSpaghetti and MeatballsLemon Shrimp PastaTurkey and Broccoli Orecchiette | Chicken Pesto PastaBaked Gnocchi with Chicken

    Looking for a comforting meal? You should check out my Dinners recipe index.

    Ingredients for the pasta sauce sit on a marble countertop, shown from above

    What you need to make this recipe:

    This truly is a simple marinara sauce with some of my favorite meats added in to jazz things up. You only need a few tools to throw it together, too!

    • Sharp knife and cutting board
    • A can opener to get the tomato puree open
    • Saucepan
    • A Dutch oven or another large pot (with a lid) to boil your pasta in

    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    Here’s what you need:

    • Meats — we’re using a combination of lean ground turkey and sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing. If you want to use spicy Italian sausage, feel free!
    • Seasonings — we need a combination of kosher salt, black pepper, dried oregano, dried basil and red pepper flakes to give this meat pasta sauce alllll the flavor. It’s basically a homemade Italian seasoning blend.
    • Onion — I prefer a yellow onion for this recipe, but white onion works, too. I do not recommend using red onion.
    • Garlic — we want fresh cloves, minced, for all that wonderful garlic flavor.
    • Red wine — you want this to be drinkable, but not fancy. Add a glug of the red wine you like to sip, then pour yourself a glass!
    • Tomato puree — I like to use unsweetened, unseasoned tomato puree in recipes like these so I can layer in all the flavors that I prefer.
    • Water — you can get this from the tap! It’ll thin out the sauce a wee bit.
    Collage of six images showing how to make Sausage Ground Turkey Pasta Sauce

    How to make Sausage and Turkey Tomato Sauce

    First and foremost, chop your ingredients and get them all together. This will make your job a lot easier to have everything at the ready.

    You can even pour yourself a glass of wine, too, since that’s necessary for cooking a pasta sauce. 😉

    Place your saucepan over medium-high heat. You’re going to sear the ground turkey and Italian sausage together.

    Season ’em with the salt and pepper as soon as you place them in the pan, then break them up into smaller pieces using a wooden spoon.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    We’re using the combination of ground turkey because it’s lean and then a little Italian sausage because it adds flavor and additional spices.

    When the meats are cooked, remove them from the pan, and add in the onion. You won’t have to add any oil because the sausage and turkey will leave some juices behind, and the onion will soak that up.

    Pour in the wine, and cook the wine and onion until the wine is cooked down.

    Add the meats back in the pan, along with the tomato puree and water. Season with salt, pepper, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes.

    Simmer the sauce for at least 30 minutes–this’ll help the flavors meld together. You can certainly cook it for longer, too, if you’d like. Just be sure the heat is low enough that it doesn’t burn the sauce on the bottom of the pan.

    Serve over your favorite noodles, and enjoy!

    A saucepan holds meaty pasta sauce, shown from above

    Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

    Hey-o! Did you know that pasta sauce (and pasta) are fantastic for entertaining?

    Since pasta sauce keeps quite well, you can easily make a large batch of this goodness for hosting friends and family!

    • Double (or triple) the recipe if you’re feeding a crowd.
    • Make the pasta sauce in advance. You can make this 1-2 days in advance easily. Also, you could make it the morning of and leave in the slow cooker to cook alllllll day long.
    • Have ample parmesan cheese and sides for guests, too! My kids love, love, love to grate cheese onto their pasta, and your guests will adore this, too! Just make sure you have supplies on hand to make this happen.
    Three bowls of pasta, from above, before they have parmesan added

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can I leave out the wine?

    Yes. If you don’t drink, you can leave out the wine. Use the same amount of chicken stock or water to deglaze the pan in its place.

    I don’t eat pork. What can I substitute?

    Chicken or turkey sausage would be awesome here, too. Just be sure that it’s fresh!

    When will I know the sauce is done?

    An old-fashioned taste test will tell you if the sauce is done. Honestly, it’ll taste delicious right after everything is added, but the longer you let this cook, the more time the ingredients will have to marry their flavors.

    Can I make this in advance?

    Yes! Make this the morning of or the night before you plan to serve it. It stores very easily and reheats like a dream.

    How should I store this pasta sauce?

    In your favorite food storage container in the fridge. It will last for 3-4 days, though I doubt it’ll be in the fridge for that long.

    Can I reheat this pasta sauce easily?

    Yes, you can. The key to this is storing pasta and the sauce separately. Heat them individually in the microwave until warmed through, and toss together.

    Cheese is grated on top of pasta and sauce

    Quick tips and tricks for the best Sausage Ground Turkey Pasta Sauce

    • Substitution alert: Use turkey or chicken sausage instead of the sweet Italian sausage. You might have to add a tablespoon of oil to the pan while you cook it since it’s a lot leaner than pork sausage.
    • If you want to use fresh herbs, you absolutely should! You’ll need to double the amount of herbs in the recipe, though, as dried herbs are more potent than fresh.
    • Store in the fridge in a food-safe storage container for up to a week.
    A fork is shown in a bowl of mixed pasta and sauce, after taking a bite

    What to serve alongside this pasta recipe:

    Overhead of three bowls of Turkey Pasta Sauce, topped with cheese
    Yield: 4 servings

    Turkey and Sausage Tomato Sauce

    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 45 minutes
    Total Time: 55 minutes

    Spicy Sausage Ground Turkey Pasta Sauce is a fast, easy family meal! Simply toss this meaty tomato sauce with your favorite noodles for a filling, comforting dinner.

    Ingredients

    Pasta Sauce

    • 1 lb. ground turkey
    • ½ lb. sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
    • 1 onion, medium, finely diced
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
    • ¾ cup red wine
    • 29 oz. tomato puree
    • ¾ cup water
    • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon dried basil
    • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Instructions

    1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, sear the ground turkey and Italian sausage. Season with salt and pepper immediately.
    2. Once the meats are cooked through and browned, remove from the pan.
    3. Add the onion and garlic to the pan with the remaining juices, and cook until soft and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
    4. Pour in wine, and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Cook until the wine is almost completely cooked down.
    5. Add the meats back to the pan, then add the tomato puree and water. Season with the salt, pepper, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes.
    6. Let the sauce simmer for at least 30 minutes, then serve over the noodles of your choosing.

    Notes

    Substitution alert: Use turkey or chicken sausage instead of the sweet Italian sausage. You might have to add a tablespoon of oil to the pan while you cook it since it's a lot leaner than pork sausage.

    If you want to use fresh herbs, you should! Double the amount of herbs in the recipe, as dried herbs are more potent than fresh.

    Store in the fridge in a food-safe storage container for up to a week. Be sure to store the pasta and the sauce separately. Reheat individually, then mix together and add cheese.

    Can I leave out the wine? Yes. If you don't drink, you can leave out the wine. Use the same amount of chicken stock or water to deglaze the pan in its place.

    When will I know the sauce is done? An old fashioned taste test will tell you if the sauce is done. Honestly, it'll taste delicious right after everything is added, but the longer you let this cook, the more time the ingredients will have to marry their flavors.

    Can I make this in advance? Yes! Make this the morning of or the night before you plan to serve it. It stores very easily and reheats like a dream.

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    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    4 servings

    Serving Size:

    1 serving

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 513Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 1275mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 5gSugar: 11gProtein: 42g

    Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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    5 Comments

    1. Stunning photos!! 🙂 I remember what it used to be like to have a dog not let you sleep past 5am. Unfortunately Russ is allergic 🙁 What kind of dog do you have? 🙂 Thank you for sharing and I hope you have a great hump day!!

      1. Thanks, Nancy!

        Yeaaaaaah… the whole puppy wake up call is special. I’m sorry Russ is allergic to them. :/ We’ve got a Border Collie mix who I adopted from the pound when I lived in Mississippi, and she’s the best. In my humble opinion, of course. Haha.

      1. Thanks, Tina! It’s pretty yummy. Like you, I love using turkey in place of beef. So good and lean!

        And I wish I was on a beach, too, with a tropical drink. That sounds delightful! Happy weekend!

    2. Oh yum! I’ve never actually used ground turkey in any sort of bolognese before. The mix with the sausage sounds divine. We’ve been watching the NBA on pay tv over here (Aaron is a basketball nut) and it’s all been hugely exciting! It’s one of our dreams to actually attend a game one day 🙂 Anyway, hoping that the marathon training is going well! You must be pretty close now???? xx

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