Turkey Italian Sausage Tomato Sauce

Updated June 2014

This is one of my favorite pasta sauce recipes. It's a great way to quickly “change-up” our Fresh Tomato Sauce recipe, which we make in large batches and freeze. The tasty homemade pasta sauce is as good as a pork-based Italian sausage sauce, without the fat, cholesterol and carbon footprint of red meat. The trick is in the crushed fennel, garlic powder and dried oregano, which turn the mild tasting ground turkey into a very flavorful ingredient.

Our Turkey Italian Sausage Tomato Sauce is very versatile on pasta dishes. We usually serve it on a large penne noodle but it works well with any large pasta shape. It also makes a great lasagna sauce. The entire family loves this sauce, which is a rarity in our household. One daughter doesn’t like tomato sauces but loves meats, while the other dislikes meats and they both try to avoid vegetables. Somehow this sauce keeps everyone happy!

Working with premade tomato sauce, and you can prepare the meal in about 30 minutes. The Fresh Tomato Sauce is full of very healthy ingredients. See the recipe for those details.

According to Worlds Healthiest Foods “Turkey is an excellent source of tryptophan and a very good source of protein and selenium. A four ounce serving provides 65.1% of the daily value for protein, along with 11.9% of the daily value for saturated fat, about half the amount of saturated fat found in red meat.” It’s also “a very good source of the trace mineral, selenium. Selenium is of fundamental importance to human health. It is an essential component of several major metabolic pathways, including thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defense systems, and immune function.

According to Health & Yoga “fennel seeds are very effective for digestive problems. In India, these are routinely chewed upon after meals to aid in digestion after a rich meal while acting as a herbal mouth freshener.” Fennel seeds often provide quick and effective relief from many digestive disorders. They help to overcome gas, cramps, acid indigestion, and many other digestive tract maladies. They are “very rich in minerals including magnesium.”


Reasons our Turkey Sausage Tomato Sauce is Eco Friendly:

  • Vegetables and Turkey are low carbon producing foods

  • This homemade sauce recipe saves 1-2 ingredient jars or cans from recycle or the landfill

  • No transporting of heavy jars or cans of sauce and ingredients saves air pollution

Reasons our Turkey Sausage Tomato Sauce is Healthy:

  • A very wide variety of fresh vegetables in the Fresh Tomato Sauce provide high vitamin and antioxidant content. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins C, A, and K.

  • Fresh homemade sauces avoid toxic BPA lined tomato cans

  • The turkey provides high protein while low in fat

6 cups Fresh Tomato Sauce
½ pound ground turkey
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. red pepper flakes for a hotter sauce

Recipe Summary:
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Makes 6 cups of sauce

You will need a large skillet, mortar & pestle, and a large mixing bowl

Crush the fennel seeds with the mortar and pestle. Add garlic powder, sugar, salt, pepper and oregano into the mortar (bowl) and mix well.

Place about a third of the ground turkey into the mixing bowl. Sprinkle about a third of the spices over the turkey. Repeat twice with the remaining ground turkey and spices. Mix well with the fork, cover and place in refrigerator overnight if possible. This will allow the flavors to penetrate into the turkey. If you are pressed for time just cook it immediately with the tomato sauce. It still tastes great.

Warm the large skillet on medium heat and add olive oil. Add turkey sausage mixture and cook for 5 minutes, breaking up the large pieces with the fork to evenly cook. It should be a coarse crumbly texture and the color will lighten. Add the fresh tomato sauce and simmer on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve over pasta, in lasagna or refrigerate for later use.