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Summer Bolognese

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This summer Bolognese is packed full of fresh pasta, tomatoes, basil, zucchini, white wine, and ground turkey. It’s light and flavorful and perfect for summer. Plus it’s ready in just 25 minutes!

Summer Bolognese sprinkled with shredded parmesan cheese.

Summertime is the perfect time to take advantage of all the ripe sweet produce that is available.

This summer bolognese will fill you up without weighing you down. 

I’ve used lean ground turkey for protein, and tons of fresh zucchini, tomatoes, and a little white wine.

Or you could use the rest for a delicious white wine peach sangria on the side.

Perfect to make for a weeknight supper, or a special weekend dinner, you’re going to love this flavorful summer bolognese!

Looking for another summer Italian dinner? Try my Summer Chicken Parmesan with Zoodles.

Summer Bolognese on a plate with a fork.

Ingredients for summer bolognese

  • Fresh fettuccine – I use fresh pasta here because it cooks fast and has a delicate flavor. Feel free to use boxed fettuccine if you already have it on hand.
  • Olive oil – fruity and savory, it is the fat of choice for our bolognese.
  • Ground turkey – A flavorful ground meat that is lean and full of protein.
  • Garlic – A classic addition that will add earthiness to the dish.
  • Vegetables – Tomatoes and zucchini bulk up this bolognese with their sweetness.
  • Dry white wine – To add some acidity and savory flavors. 

Alternative proteins

I’ve chosen ground turkey because it has great flavor and is leaner than ground beef, but feel free to use ground beef if that is what you prefer.

Keep in mind that it’ll result in a heavier, more meaty-flavored sauce. 

Another great lean protein alternative would be ground chicken! 


The alcohol from the white wine would be cooked off in this recipe, but if you prefer to have a completely alcohol-free bolognese, feel free to substitute the white wine with your favorite chicken stock.

Using different vegetables

If you’re not a fan of zucchini, no worries! This bolognese is all about using whatever summer vegetable is most appealing and fresh.

Asparagus, yellow summer squash, and bell peppers would be delicious in this summer bolognese as well!

Storage and leftovers

Leftovers of summer bolognese store easily in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Reheating is as simple as putting in a microwave-safe dish, covering loosely with a damp paper towel, and heating for 2-3 minutes or until heated thoroughly.

Summer Bolognese on a white plate.

More pasta recipes

This summer Bolognese is packed full of fresh pasta, tomatoes, basil, zucchini, white wine and ground turkey. It's light and flavorful and perfect for summer. Plus it's ready in just 25 minutes!

Summer Bolognese

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This summer Bolognese is packed full of fresh pasta, tomatoes, basil, zucchini, white wine and ground turkey. It’s light and flavorful and perfect for summer. Plus it’s ready in just 25 minutes!


  • 12 ounces fresh fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 pounds tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 small zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the turkey and season with kosher salt and black pepper.
  4. Cook, breaking up the turkey with a spoon, for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add the tomatoes and wine and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the turkey is cooked through and the sauce has slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and fold in the zucchini and basil.
  8. Serve over the pasta or mix the pasta fully within the sauce.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 554Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 189mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 4gSugar: 8gProtein: 36g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

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Summer Bolognese pin for Pinterest.

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Wednesday 29th of June 2022

[…] Summer Bolognese […]


Thursday 7th of November 2019

Angry Italian mode: ON Why call it Bolognese? There is no such thing as "light Ragu", or Ragu with spaghetti Angry Italian mode: OFF Looks very summery and delicious, looking forward to try it


Monday 29th of July 2019

This recipe looks great. I recently had to give up tomatoes for the acidity. Any suggestion of something else I can try in the place of tomatoes? Thanks.


Friday 6th of September 2019

Hi Janine - honestly I'm not sure what you could use in place of tomatoes. You can always add more vegetables but the tomatoes do add a little moisture to the recipe. You could try and find lower acid tomatoes to use in the recipe. Thanks!


Saturday 26th of August 2017

love bolognese and this is a nice version, thank you! Bolognese is a nice respite from the tomato-y Italian dishes that are more common, at least in my experience, so love this!

Cathy @ Lemon Tree Dwelling

Thursday 24th of August 2017

What a DELICIOUS plate of food! I want it for dinner tonight!

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