Turkey Veggie Bolognese Sauce +12M

The classic Italian Bolognese sauce is made with ground beef + pancetta + tomato. Insanely good and super kid friendly. The recipe that I want to share with you is a version loaded with seasonal vegetables that keeps the yummy taste and gives an extra boost of nutrients. If you are dealing with a picky eater one strategy is to start from a recipe that he/she really likes and slowly add one ingredient that he/she doesn’t like so that the “familiar/approved/trusted” flavor will cover the new “stranger/suspicious/not trusted” ingredient. To give you an example the first time you can add to the traditional bolognese 1/2 zucchini. Your little one will barely notice it. The second time you will add a whole zucchini and the following time 2 zucchini. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting slowly used to the taste.

With my kids I used this strategy for the vegetable bolognese. I started slowly adding one veggie here and there and now I ended up with a sauce that is more vegetables than meat πŸ™‚ Slowly, that’s the key.

Also, the texture has a very important role in this recipe. I did two tests: in the first recipe I added the veggies chopped in small pieces. Result…some complaints about the eggplants. No matter what, the dark peel is not so kid friendly: difficult to chew and suspicious color πŸ™‚

Than I decided to place all the veggies in a food processor and blend them to the same consistency of the ground beef….goal!! No complains. Also, the minced veggies gave an extra creamy texture to the sauce that was very appreciated indeed.

Through the years I tested the bolognese with different kind of meat: ground beef, pork, chicken, turkey. I would say that ground beef and turkey (like today) are our favorites. The pork is super tasty but a bit fat (not bad, but if you want a leaner meat, turkey or beef is best). The chicken a bit dry.

Vegetables. This is where you can really have fun, follow the season and, like I do, clean the fridge πŸ™‚

Every Sunday I go to the local farmer’s market (eh, eh, if you follow me on Instagram you already know it!) and the vegetable bolognese is my “to go” recipe to clean the fridge from the old produce from the previous week and leave space for the fresh one!!

Today I used eggplants, zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions…but you can really add or substitute any seasonal vegetable you like.

I would suggest this recipe for toddlers, around 12 months of age due to the texture. If you think that your baby’s gums are ready to deal with this consistency, you can even offer the Bolognese starting from 9 months of age. I would not suggest it before as we are using tomatoes and their acidity is not ideal for little babies.

Another big trick about this recipe: make a big big batch of bolognese sauce because it is so easy to freeze!! I cannot count the times when the frozen bolognese saved our dinners.

Being Italian I use the Bolognese sauce to dress my pasta, but you can easily substitute the pasta with any grain of your choice or quinoa or even millet for little ones.

How to prepare it? Simply start placing the carrots + onion + celery in a food processor. Blend 30 sec to a breadcrumbs consistency. Remove from the food processor and set apart. Using the same food processor (don’t wash it, it’s not necessary!) add the zucchini and eggplant chopped in big pieces. Blend for 30 sec to a breadcrumb consistency. I didn’t chop all the veggies together simply because my food processor was not big enough, LOL!

Peel and remove the seeds from the tomatoes. If you have a really picky eater, that’s the way to go. Once cooked, the tomato peel might transform in annoying long rolls that some kids really don’t like (like mine) and it takes quite a bit of time to remove them. I learned my lesson. I use ripen tomatoes so that the peel comes out in few seconds. No peel, no complains! To remove the seeds it’s my choice πŸ™‚

In a pan drizzle 4 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, warm the oil for 1 minute and add the carrot/onion/celery mix. SautΓ© 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey and cook for 5 more minutes.

Add the soft zucchini/eggplant mix, all together with the fresh tomatoes and the tomato paste. To season add fresh thyme, bay leaves and a pinch of salt for older kids. Also add 1/2 cup of hot water or broth. Simmer slowly for 15 minutes, stir occasionally.

You can store the Vegetable Bolognese sauce in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or freeze it for up to 3 months. If you are interested in the freezer baby food container with lid and tray by GreenSprout, check out here.

Turkey Vegetable Bolognese Sauce
Ingredients
  • 1 green zucchini
  • 1 yellow zucchini
  • 3 heirloom tomatoes, peeled and deseeded
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 5 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • pinch salt (over 12 months)
Instructions
  1. Peel the carrots. Chop them in big pieces. Chop the onion and the celery in big pieces too.

  2. Place the carrots + onion + celery in a food processor. Blend 30 sec to a breadcrumbs consistency. Remove from the food processor and set apart.

  3. Using the same food processor add the zucchini and eggplant chopped in big pieces. Blend for 30 sec to a breadcrumb consistency. 

  4. Peel and remove the seeds from the tomatoes. 

  5. In a pan drizzle 4 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, warm the oil for 1 minute and add the carrot/onion/celery mix. SautΓ© 3 minutes. 

  6. Add the ground turkey and cook for 5 more minutes.

  7. Add the soft zucchini/eggplant mix, all together with the fresh tomatoes and the tomato paste. To season add fresh thyme, bay leaves and a pinch of salt for older kids. Also add 1/2 cup of hot water or broth. Simmer slowly for 15 minutes, stir occasionally.

  8. The Bolognese sauce will be ready when the water from the vegetables + the added one will be nicely absorbed leaving a creamy consistency.

3 Comments

Did you make this recipe? Share the love, tag @buonapappa on Instagram and hashtag it #buonapappa I would love to see your creations!

  • Reply
    Turkey Veggie Bolognese Sauce +12M – MySpecialFood.com
    May 26, 2018 at 12:18 am

    […] The classic Italian Bolognese sauce is made with ground beef + pancetta + tomato. Insanely good and super kid friendly. The recipe that I want to share with you is a version loaded with seasonal vegetables that keeps the yummy taste and gives an extra boost of nutrients. If you are dealing with a picky eater one strategy is to start from a recipe that he/she really likes and slowly […] Source: Turkey Veggie Bolognese Sauce +12M […]

  • Reply
    Feny
    September 28, 2018 at 4:48 am

    Hi Barbara,
    As a first time mom and an amateur cook, I really appreciate you for sharing your knowledge. Your cooking all looks very tasty and I am excited to want to learn one by one each of them. For this recipe I wonder if tomato paste is a must or do you know how can we make a tomato paste? I only know canned ones. Lastly, just a suggestion, do you mind adding the rough β€œamount of serving” on your post. I usually make small batches of food at a time as I am still learning and do not know how they will turn out. A number for the estimated serving amount when the food is ready will help me visualize how much food there will be and also help on grocery shopping. Thank you so much again. You are a blessing!

    • Reply
      Barbara Lamperti
      October 3, 2018 at 11:02 pm

      Hi Feny, thank you so much for your kind comment! Tomato paste: it’s a tomato sauce reduction. If you are adding tomato sauce, double the quantity to 10 Tbsp or you can use three fresh tomatoes chopped in pieces. Being the tomatoes more watery than the tomato paste it will just take few more minutes to the bolognese sauce to cook. Thank you for the “serving” suggestion, it makes totally sense πŸ™‚ For the past posts, consider that my toddler/family recipes are usually prepared for a family of two adults and two young kids. I hope it helps! ciao, b

    Leave a Reply to Turkey Veggie Bolognese Sauce +12M – MySpecialFood.com Cancel Reply

    Share
    Pin16
    Tweet
    +1
    16 Shares