Friday, August 10, 2012

Steamed Carrot Noodles with Ground Turkey Bolognese

For a copy of this recipe for Steamed Carrot Noodles with Ground Turkey Bolognese, click HERE.
Our mission this week: rearrange the parts of classic recipe into something different, but just as good. Today’s recipe, Steamed Carrot Noodles with Ground Turkey Bolognese, takes a classic beef stew and transforms it in several ways:
  • The beef is replaced by ground turkey to reduce the fat.
  • The carrots that are normally part of the stew have been pulled out, cut into ribbons (“noodles”), steamed until tender and mixed with regular pasta noodles.
  • The remaining stew ingredients (minus the potatoes, which are no longer needed since we’re using the noodles) are used to make a Bolognese that will top the combined noodles.

The end result is a hearty meal that’s colorful and fun, and so good it not only might get you some new Facebook friends, it might even get someone who unfriended you to come back. ;-)

Some Cook’s Notes before we begin.
  • The steamed “carrot noodle” concept was inspired by seeing Alton Brown use raw carrot noodles in a very nice looking cold carrot slaw. It got me wondering what could be done with them if they were cut down smaller and cooked to a texture similar to that of pasta noodles. Thank you, Chef Brown!
  • In the recipe and photos, I’ve made a the amount of noodles needed for four servings, but about three times as much Bolognese as is needed. The simple reason behind this is that Bolognese is one of those highly useful items to keep on hand in the freezer for future use. Make the extra, and you’ll find what to do with it. (If, after all this, you still want to make only the four servings you need, just reduce the quantities of the Bolognese ingredients proportionately. However, if you do that and sometime soon find yourself wanting to use some Bolognese  in a recipe, don’t’ say I didn’t warn you.)
  • In the photo at the top, the carrot noodles with Bolognese are shown served with an easy-to-make beer batter herbed bread stick. That recipe will be featured in a very near future post.

This recipe makes four servings, plus the extra Bolognese.

First, we’ll prepare the carrot noodles.

Trim and peel 8 large carrots. Cut in half lengthwise, and then into pieces about 2” long.

Using a mandolin, slice the carrots on the thinnest setting.

Working in stacks, cut the sliced carrots in half to make the carrot “noodles.”

Set aside till ready to cook.

To make the Bolognese:

Prepare your mise en place: 8 cloves garlic, minced...

2 green peppers, chopped...

2 medium onions, chopped; 6 large stalks of celery, chopped; 2 Tbsp fresh thyme; and ½ cup chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish.

Heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet. When it is heated, add the onions and saute till translucent.

Add the garlic and cook till aromatic, about another 30 seconds to a minute.

Add the green pepper and celery and cook until tender and slightly browned, about another eight minutes.

Add 2 pounds of ground turkey, 2 Tbsp Worcestershire, 2 Tbsp kosher salt, ½ Tbsp fresh ground black pepper, and 1 tsp hot sauce. While cooking, use a ladle to drain some of the fat if it seems excessive.

Cook till the turkey is browned, about 25 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pot.

Add 5 cups of tomato sauce, one 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes (including the liquid from the can), 3 bay leaves and the thyme, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

When done, cover and remove from heat.

Making the combined noodles:

While the Bolognese is simmering, cook 8 ounces of pasta noodles as per the directions on the package.

Place a colander in a bowl and drain the noodles. Transfer enough of the hot noodle water to steam the carrots back into the pot; discard the rest of the water. Put the noodles into the bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and set aside.

Using the hot noodle water, steam the carrot noodles over high heat until they are about the same texture as the pasta noodles. Check them often; the cooking time will vary widely depending on the exact thickness of the carrots and other factors.

Combine the noodles and the carrots. Season and drizzle with olive oil.

Divide the combined noodles into four servings on plates.

Top the noodles with the Bolognese. (Remember to remove the bay leaves first!) Add some chopped parsley for garnish, and you’re all set!

For a copy of this recipe for Steamed Carrot Noodles with Ground Turkey Bolognese, click HERE.
Hope you enjoy this delicious twist on a classic beef stew! And that you’ll visit here again next week for another great recipe. Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)


  1. I love the idea of carrot noodles. The turkey Bolognese also sounds yummy. This is a keeper!

  2. Thanks, Sandy! When I first saw them used raw in the carrot slaw that Alton Brown made, it got me thinking this is an ingredient that should be explored. I would love to know any other uses you come up with for them.

  3. Nice n light and healthy. I love the addition of carrots in with the pasta, genius! I get a powdered bay leaf, so hubs doesn't get stuck with it. :) Looks great!

  4. Not even close to genius, but thank you regardless, Kim! Powdered bay leaf sounds like a great idea. Saves fishing around the finished bolognese looking for the pointy ones!