The best hearty and comforting chicken bolognese recipe that’s perfect for an easy weeknight dinner. Made with lean ground chicken, carrots, diced tomatoes, and fresh basil, this is the best healthy 30-minute pasta sauce!
Why you’ll love this bolognese made with ground chicken
You will love this creamy, rich, and hearty chicken bolognese recipe. It not only tastes delicious, but it’s healthy and super filling!
It’s made with fresh carrots, mushrooms, onion, lean ground chicken, basil, and tomatoes, this sauce is sure to be a crowd favorite. It’s still creamy but tastes better than beef pasta sauce, trust me!
One of the best parts about this recipe is that it comes together in under 30 minutes, which makes it an easy weeknight dinner for families, busy people, and meal prepping. I love pairing mine with fettuccini or zucchini noodles. Plus, you can save extras for lunches and meal prep dinner throughout the week.
Why this chicken bolognese is healthy:
This chicken bolognese is healthy. First, it’s made with ground chicken, which is a leaner protein than beef. Second, there is no heavy cream or milk in this recipe. Third, it is gluten-free and high in protein. Fourth, it calls for nutrient and vitamin-rich ingredients, like carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, and onion. So, yes, this chicken bolognese recipe is healthy and good for you.
This rich and creamy chicken bolognese is made with healthy ingredients. It is packed with flavor, cozy, and great for lunch or dinner. Here is a list of ingredients so you have everything prepared:
- Ground Chicken: First up, we need 1 pound of lean ground chicken. This is the main source of protein in this easy and healthy pasta sauce.
- Olive Oil: You need olive oil to saute the onions, mushrooms, and carrots.
- Yellow Onion: This adds a sweet and sharp flavor.
- Carrot: Dice up 1 large carrot to add texture to this chicken pasta sauce.
- Mushrooms: Pick either baby bella or cremini mushrooms to make this chicken bolognese “meaty” but still light and healthy.
- Garlic: Garlic makes everything taste better! You need 3 – 4 minced cloves.
- Seasonings: For the best taste, we need salt, pepper, and crushed red chili flakes.
- Diced Tomatoes: The base of this bolognese.
- Tomato Paste: To help thicken this healthy chicken bolognese, and adds a lot of flavors.
- Chicken Broth: Use low-sodium chicken broth to help form the sauce.
- Basil and Bay Leaf: For the most authentic Italian flavor!
- Butter: Add in 1 – 2 Tablespoons of unsalted or salted butter for that classic rich and “creamy” bolognese flavor.
Kitchen tools required
You’ll need a few kitchen utensils to make this healthy chicken bolognese recipe – don’t worry, I bet you have all of them already!
- Cutting Board
- Dutch Oven
- Wooden Spoon or Mixing Utensil
- Measuring Tools: 1/2 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, 1 Tablespoon, 1/4 cup, and 1 cup.
How to make easy chicken bolognese
Chicken bolognese is easy to make in under 30 minutes in five simple steps. This recipe is the ideal weeknight and date night dinner! Here are detailed step-by-step instructions with pictures for visual reference so any level cook can make them. The full recipe and ingredient measurements are at the bottom of this page in the recipe card.
First, heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven or pot. Then, add in finely diced onions, carrots, and mushrooms and cook for 4 – 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.
After that, add in the ground chicken, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks. Cook for about 3 – 4 minutes until the chicken is mostly cooked (it is ok if it is still pink).
Next, add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, basil, bay leaf, and butter. Then, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 15 – 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
I recommend tasting the sauce and adjusting seasonings and salt as necessary. If time permits, simmering for 30 – 35 minutes is best for maximum flavor.
Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to the package and drain – save around a 1/2 cup of pasta water and set it aside.
When the sauce is ready, pour your cooked pasta into the pan, and stir until well combined. You may need to add the saved pasta sauce if more liquid is required.
Finally, serve with some fresh basil and parmesan cheese, and enjoy!
Expert recipe tips & tricks:
- Let the sauce simmer. Don’t skip this step! This allows the bold and cozy flavors to strengthen.
- Make it dairy-free. Make this healthy chicken bolognese dairy-free by omitting the butter or using vegan butter.
- Double or triple for later. This chicken bolognese makes for the best meal prep! Save leftovers and enjoy them for lunches or dinners throughout the week. You can even freeze it for up to 3 months!
- Serve with your favorite pasta. I love chickpea pasta because it adds more protein, but you can use any type you want from quinoa, lentil, or regular.
Don’t worry if you are missing an ingredient or two. So the dish’s flavor doesn’t change, I recommend substituting no more than three ingredients. Here is a list:
- Ground Chicken: Feel free to use ground turkey instead.
- Yellow Onion: You can use white onion.
- Baby Bella Mushrooms: Use cremini or white mushrooms.
- Diced Tomatoes: Use crushed tomatoes.
- Chicken Broth: Substitute 1:1 with low-sodium vegetable broth.
- Butter: Use vegan butter or plain Greek yogurt, or leave it off.
- Bay Leaf: Substitute with 1 teaspoon of dried oregano or thyme.
- Pasta: Use zucchini noodles, chickpea pasta, or orzo.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I serve chicken bolognese with zucchini noodles?
Yes! To make this dish low carb, serve with prepared zucchini noodles. You can buy them in the store or spiralize them yourself. Make sure to cook them according to the package instructions or saute them for 3 minutes before serving them with bolognese.
Is this recipe gluten free?
Yes, this chicken bolognese is 100% gluten-free. Simply make sure that you use gluten-free pasta like brown rice, quinoa, lentil, or chickpea pasta!
What to serve with healthy bolognese:
I love serving this chicken bolognese with a side salad or roasted vegetables. Here are some ideas:
- Greek Spinach Salad
- Air Fried Parmesan Zucchini
- Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad
- Air Fryer Broccoli and Cauliflower
- Air Fryer Garlic Bread
- Kale Crunch Salad
- Honey Sriracha Brussel Sprouts
Can I make it dairy free?
Omit the butter to make this chicken bolognese dairy-free. You can also substitute it with vegan butter or plain greek yogurt if you want to achieve the same richness.
Can I freeze bolognese sauce?
Freezing bolognese sauce is easy. Simply let the sauce cool to around room temperature, then add the bolognese to freezer-safe bags or containers and freeze for up to 3 months.
How to store & reheat leftovers:
Storing: Let the chicken bolognese cool to room temperature after cooking, then add to a large airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.
Reheating: For best results, reheat in a large pot on the stovetop on medium-low until warm. You can also reheat it in the microwave by covering the sauce with a damp paper towel and microwaving for 60 – 120 seconds or until warm.
If you love this recipe, try these next!
- Zucchini Turkey Meatballs (Keto)
- Tuna Pesto Pasta
- Chicken Broccoli Pasta Bake
- Sweet Potato Gnocchi Recipe
- Healthy Stuffed Chicken Parmesan Burgers
Did you make this recipe?
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment and rate it down below. Also, don’t forget to tag me @healthfulblondie on Instagram and use the hashtag #healthfulblondie so I can see your delicious creation and share it with my followers!
Best Chicken Bolognese
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 cup carrot (1 large carrot), finely diced
- 1 cup baby bella or cremini mushrooms, finely diced
- 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt, more to taste
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp crushed red chili flakes, more or less to taste
- 28 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 – 2 tbsp butter
- 16 oz pasta of choice, (I like fettuccine), brown rice, quinoa, lentil, chickpea, gluten-free if neede
- In a large dutch oven or pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in finely diced onions, carrots, and mushrooms. Cook for 4 – 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Add in ground chicken, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks. Cook for about 3 – 4 minutes until the chicken is mostly cooked (it is ok if it is still pink).
- Add in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, basil, bay leaf, and butter. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 15 – 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt as necessary. If time permits, simmering for 30 – 35 minutes is best for maximum flavor.
- Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to the package and drain. Save ½ cup of pasta water and set it aside. When the sauce is ready, pour your cooked pasta into the pan, and stir until well combined. You may need to add the saved pasta sauce if more liquid is needed.
- Serve with some fresh basil, and parmesan cheese, and enjoy!
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