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Chicken Bolognese

This Healthy Chicken Bolognese swaps out ground beef for lean chicken thighs. The chicken thighs are slow-cooked in a red wine and vegatable tomato sauce and tossed with aldente whole-wheat spaghetti noodles for a healthy take on a classic bologonese sauce.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword bolgonese, chicken bolognese, healthy bolognese, chicken ragu
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 people (6 large portions)
Calories 357 kcal
Author Nicole


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning, divided
  • 1/2 cup red wine (I used a pinot noir)
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 26 oz strained tomatoes or tomato puree
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • parmesan cheese rind
  • 3/4 lb whole-wheat spaghetti


  1. Heat a large dutch oven over a medium heat. Add oil. Season chicken thighs genrerously with salt and pepper on both sides. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pot. Sear until golden brown, flip and sear on the other side. Remove from the pan and set aside. Leave any residual fat in the pan.

  2. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pot. Saute over a medium heat until slightly soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes.

  3. Pour in red wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the bits at the bottotm of the pan. Stir in tomato paste. Stir in strained tomatoes, water, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, sugar, basil, and parmesan cheese rind. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Place the chicken back in the pot, turn down to low and cover with a lid. Continue to cook for another 25 minutes.

  4. While the sauce cooks, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.Season with salt. It should be as salty as sea water.

  5. Once the sauce has simmered for 25 minutes, drop the pasta in the water. Give it a stir.

  6. While the pasta cooks, remove the chicken from the pot, use two forks to shred. Add back to the pot and give it a stir.

  7. Once the pasta is just under aldente, use tongs to transfer the pasta to the sauce. Reserve pasta water. Add 1 cup of the pasta water to the pasta and sauce. Remove the parmesan cheese rind. Toss everything together over a low heat. Season with salt and pepper.

  8. Serve with shredded or grated parmesan cheese.

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Bolognese
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 357 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 108mg36%
Sodium 458mg20%
Potassium 910mg26%
Carbohydrates 45g15%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 3255IU65%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 61mg6%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.