Classic Veggie-Loaded Turkey Meat Sauce

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A big, beautiful mess of noodles.

The start of summer has flown by, and I cannot believe how much has happened since I last shared a recipe!  Alex and I moved to Queen Anne in the beginning of May, and it took me a little while to adjust to our new, smaller kitchen.  Mise en place, the practice of preparing ingredients ahead of time in separate bowls, comes in handy in all cooking, but especially in a tiny prep area.  I was inspired to make this recipe today, so that I could have gluten-free noodles ready when my Mom arrives for her Seattle visit!  I set aside two zucchinis to make a fresh bowl of “zoodles” for her dinner.

We have been cooking and enjoying local Seattle foods, but our new place does not have a grill.  I am really looking forward to late-summer grilling with my family when we gather at the beach!  In honor of mid-summer, here is one of my favorite recipes to showcase what’s in season.

Recipe

Classic Veggie-Loaded Turkey Meat Sauce – Serves 6

Turkey meat sauce is one of my go-to make ahead meals, and the addition of seasonal vegetables makes this dinner all the more enticing.  I use fresh vegetables when I can, but this recipe could also work well with frozen mixed vegetables.  Try different vegetables until you find your favorite!  When asparagus is not in season, I tend to use broccoli in this recipe.  Marinara sauce clings to broccoli’s texture, for a pleasing mouth-feel.  This hearty sauce is the perfect addition to linguine or other noodles, and adding zucchini noodles makes for an especially bright dish.

I love the flavor of purple garlic, so give that a try if you can find it.  Purple garlic is naturally sweet, and can be added later on in the cooking process.  When using white garlic, add garlic, onions and peppers at the same time to soften the bite of the garlic flavor.

You will need:

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  1. 1-2 T olive oil
  2. 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  4. 1 pound ground turkey
  5. about 20 asparagus spears, snapped into 2-3 inch pieces
  6. mushrooms (we used sliced crimini)
  7. 24 ounces tomato marinara sauce
  8. 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  9. fresh basil
  10. dried oregano
  11. black pepper

Optional: hot red pepper flakes.  Serve topped with fresh parmesan.

Steps:

  1. Heat two large saucepans over medium heat, and add olive oil or cooking spray (I like La Tourangelle Expeller-Pressed Grapeseed Oil for cooking).  When your oil has warmed, add onion and peppers to one pan and turkey meat to the other.  Break up turkey with a spoon as it cooks, to reach desired bite-size.
  2. Stir onion and peppers and allow to soften for 3-4 minutes.  Keep breaking up turkey and make sure it browns evenly.
  3. Add asparagus and allow to cook for a few minutes more.  Then, stir in a handful of mushrooms.
  4. As soon as your turkey has browned, remove that pan from the heat.
  5. Add tomato sauce to your veggie pan and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Add cooked turkey to your sauce, and stir to coat.
  6. Prepare pasta water or another pan for pasta or zucchini noodles.  For this meal, we used a combination of the two.
  7. At the final stage of sauce preparation, turn the heat to low and add your garlic, fresh basil and spices.  Adding spices at the end showcases their bright flavors.
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