This easy Chicken Bolognese is an absolute favorite dinner at our house. It's full of flavor, surprisingly packed with veggies, and comes together quickly (and not to mention, it feeds a crowd!). Have some extra veggie odds and ends in the fridge? Throw them in too - it'll be delicious!
As always, I do include a few affiliate links in this post for products I truly use and love. This just means that if you make a purchase after clicking one of those links, I'll earn a little money (at no cost to you) to keep the kitchen up and running, which I promise to use to create more fun content like this! One of those affiliates is with Amazon, which requires a very clear disclosure: as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you have any questions about affiliates, please reach out!
This is an incredibly flexible recipe and has just a few key ingredients. The most time-consuming part of this recipe is chopping the carrots, onion and celery. To save time, you can also shred some of these ingredients.
If you make your own homemade chicken stock, this is a great recipe to keep the trimmings as you need pieces of carrot, onion and celery for soup stock as well.
- Carrots: Chopping the carrots is, in my opinion, the most tedious part of this recipe. If you prefer, this also works very well if you shred the carrots.
- Onion: Mince the onion.
- Celery: Mince the celery.
- Ground chicken: This will be the main meat of your sauce.
- Spicy Italian sausage: This gives the bolognese some much-needed fat content, but also a delicious flavor. Do not skimp on the sausage!
- Tomato sauce: Use your favorite jarred tomato sauce.
- Wide noodles: Using a wide noodle like pappardelle works really well for bolognese, but use whatever kind of noodles you prefer.
See full recipe below for detailed instructions.
There are just a few steps to making this easy Chicken Bolognese. You can almost smell it already!
Chop (or shred) your veggies.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add the olive oil and minced onion, celery and carrots. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add chicken and Italian sausage, stirring and breaking up the meats. Cook until all meat is browned, about 5-7 minutes.
Add tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta according to package directions, then drain.
Add the pasta to the bolognese sauce and stir to combine. You're ready to serve!
Plate the pasta and top with fresh basil and additional salt and pepper.
Hint: If you're just pulling the ground chicken or the Italian sausage out of the freezer, you can absolutely still make this. You can add the meat directly to the pan, as noted above, and let it thaw in the pan, stirring to break up and brown the meat.
What kind of pasta should you use?
Chicken Bolognese works well with wide, flat noodles like tagliatelle or pappardelle that can hold a lot of the sauce. Of course, if you have other noodles on hand (like penne, bucatini, or any others) they will certainly work! They just might not hold on to the sauce as well.
This is a very flexible recipe and you can easily modify it to fit your preferences (or the ingredients you have on hand!). Here are some of my favorite variations:
- Change the veggies - Keep the same proportions, but change the veggies. I love to make this with onion, red pepper, and zucchini - it adds a bit of sweetness to the sauce!
- Change the meats - You can also modify this recipe by using ground turkey or ground beef instead of the ground chicken. Either way, I recommend keeping the Italian sausage as it adds some much-needed fat and flavor to the bolognese.
- Make it spicy - Want your chicken bolognese to have more of a kick? Increase the amount of red pepper flakes to give some more spice.
You'll need a sharp knife and cutting board to chop your veggies. If you'd rather shred some of the veggies (particularly the carrots), you certainly can. You can use a handheld box grater, or if you don't mind the cleanup, a shredding attachment on a food processor. For this, I use a Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor with a medium shredding disk.
This Chicken Bolognese is great to make ahead and store to eat throughout the week. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days. Reheat in the microwave for 60-90 seconds, or in a small pot. If needed, you can add extra tomato sauce as it does tend to soak into the noodles.
This is a very flexible recipe, so if you have some extra of an ingredient (maybe you chopped too many carrots), throw them in! Or if you want to make a substitution and use zucchini instead of celery, it will still be delicious. Adjust as you like!
You can substitute the ground chicken for ground turkey or ground beef if you prefer! I do recommend keeping the Italian sausage for some much-needed fat content and flavor.
This recipe is written to use carrots, celery and onions, but one of my favorite variations is to make this with onions, red pepper and zucchini. Gives it a bit more sweetness!
This is a great recipe to make ahead of time. Make the sauce, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve. Once you're ready, cook your pasta and reheat the sauce, then combine and serve!
Easy Chicken Bolognese
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup carrots peeled and minced or shredded
- 1 cup celery trimmed and minced
- 1 cup onion minced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 8 ounces spicy Italian sausage removed from casing
- 24 ounces jar tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound wide noodles such as pappardelle
- fresh basil for serving
- In a large sauté pan or pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced onion, celery and carrot, and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add ground chicken and Italian sausage (removed from the casing) and stir, breaking up the meat until browned, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Boil the noodles according to package directions. Drain the pasta, then add it to the sauce. Toss to combine. Serve topped with fresh basil and additional salt and pepper.