Getting ready for baby has me so excited and motivated to continue taking care of our health through food and exercise. As I’m in my last few weeks of pregnancy, I’m more into meals that are easy, healthy and delish than I ever have been. And this Crockpot Chicken Bolognese checks all those boxes, and more.

I might even go so far as to say this one rivals my other bolognese recipe, The Best Beef Bolognese. But I can’t play favorites – they’re both *chef’s kiss*. Anyways, get ready for your new favorite weeknight (or weekend) meal!

A GO-TO CROCKPOT COMFORT MEAL

A go-to pasta dish is a must-have in everyone’s recipe arsenal, if you ask me.

Great for a crowd, adults and kids of all ages, and loaded with tons of flavor and nutrients – you can’t go wrong. Even better when it all comes together in a crockpot.

I mean… who can resist a classic and comforting, hearty bowl of pasta? Not me and Bridge, that’s for sure!

This Crockpot Chicken Bolognese is quickly becoming one of my favorite meals to make. A bolognese with a twist, all you have to do is cook up your ground chicken + chicken sausage, boil your pasta al dente, and toss it all together in the crockpot for the most comforting, impressive and delicious dinner.

MIND-BLOWING BOLOGNESE

Before we dive into the deets of how to make this Crockpot Chicken Bolognese, let’s take a minute to go over all the nutritional benefits this mind-blowing pasta dish has to offer.

Packed with lean protein, the ground chicken and Italian chicken sausage not only bring the flavor, but plenty of vitamins and minerals involved in brain function, building muscle and strengthening bones.

The tasty San Marzano tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins A + C, potassium and fiber, and combined with the marinara sauce, contain high levels of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Mixed together in the crockpot with some deliciously fragrant, anti-inflammatory herbs, coconut milk (which may be beneficial for digestion) and a little bit of red wine vinegar, and you’ve got the most insanely delicious meat sauce.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the parmesan cheese rind the sauce simmers together with that adds the most mouthwateringly cheesy taste to this already delish dish.

Nutritional benefits aside, what I love about this is recipe is I cook some of my favorite spaghetti (Jovial gluten-free brown rice spaghetti) and toss it in the crockpot at the end, which makes it so easy when you’re ready to serve.

THE BEST NON-TRADITIONAL BOLOGNESE

So, if you’re looking for a way to switch up your traditional bolognese and make an easy, delish, comforting crockpot meal, then this Crockpot Chicken Bolognese is it.

Serve over a bed of pasta, or make and freeze any leftovers of the sauce on its own to whip out on a rainy day, or when you’re in a pinch for dinner. I know this will be another one that comes in handy to prep ahead of time for those first few weeks with a newborn, or when I’m cooking for the whole fam any day. Hope you love it too!

INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED:

For the Sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Celery
  • Carrot
  • Minced garlic
  • Salt
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Dried oregano
  • Ground chicken
  • Italian chicken sausage
  • Whole peeled San Manzano tomatoes 
  • Marinara sauce (I like Rao’s or Primal Kitchen)
  • Full fat coconut milk
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Thyme sprigs
  • Parmesan cheese rind (omit for dairy free)
  • Fresh basil

For the Pasta:

  • Box of spaghetti (or your favorite pasta, I like Jovial GF brown rice spaghetti)

HOW TO MAKE MY CROCKPOT CHICKEN BOLOGNESE

For the Sauce:

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, celery, and carrot. Sauté until the veggies begin to get tender, about 5 minutes.

Add in the garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Stir and cook until the garlic is golden and fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add in the ground chicken and ground chicken sausage. Stir to combine and allow to cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. Stir again and cook until the chicken is golden and mostly cooked through. Remove from the heat. 

To your crockpot, pour in the San Marzano tomatoes and gently break them up with your spatula. Pour in the marinara, coconut milk, and red wine vinegar. Stir to combine. Add in the contents of the skillet and stir to combine. Nestle in the thyme sprigs and parm rind. Put the lid on the crockpot and cook on “Low” for 4-6 hours, until the meat has become very tender and all of the flavors have melded together. Remove the thyme sprigs and parm rind before adding the pasta.

For the Pasta:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to package instructions. Before straining, reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the crockpot, and toss to combine until the sauce is glossy.

Serve topped with fresh basil. Enjoy!

To Store:

If you’re planning to store the sauce to reheat again at a later time, simply skip the step of adding the cooked pasta to the crockpot. Let the sauce cool completely, to room temperature, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freezer for up to 3 months.

RECIPE SUBSTITUTIONS & QUESTIONS

If you’re unable to find Italian ground chicken sausage, then feel free to use all ground chicken instead. Alternatively, ground turkey or beef works too. If dairy isn’t an issue, then heavy cream or half and half is a 1:1 substitution option for the coconut milk. If there are dairy sensitivities, omit the parmesan rind. And of course, feel free to use your favorite Marinara sauce and pasta, whether gluten-free, regular or your favorite pasta shape.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEAT SAUCE AND BOLOGNESE?

Bolognese is a kind of ragù, which is the Italian word for meat sauce. Often, American-style meat sauce is a tomato-based sauce simmered with ground meat. However, bolognese, traditionally, is a thicker, creamier (using milk, or in this case, full-fat coconut milk), tomato sauce. Both are equally as good, though!

CAN YOU FREEZE CROCKPOT BOLOGNESE?

Yes you can! One of the main reasons I decided to make this Crockpot Chicken Bolognese is because the sauce freezes very well, which will make it so easy to make ahead of time to pull out for dinner when Bridge and I are busy with the new baby (so soon!). Just be sure to let the sauce cool completely to room temperature before storing in a freezer-safe container, for up to 3 months. If you don’t let the sauce come to room temp before freezing, it’s possible the excess moisture can cause freezer burn.

LOOKING FOR MORE DELISH PASTA DISHES? TRY THESE:

One-Pan Lasagna Skillet

The Best Beef Bolognese

Herby Spring Pasta Salad With Protein   

Spicy Penne Alla Vodka With Meatballs

Gluten-Free Chicken Milanese With Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Crockpot Chicken Bolognese

By Rachael DeVaux
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 6 hours 15 minutes
Total: 6 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 4 – 6
This Crockpot Chicken Bolognese is so easy, healthy and delish. Packed with protein and loaded with flavor, it's a crowd-pleasing, classic comfort meal with a twist that's bound to be a househould hit.

Ingredients 

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion, about 1/2 an onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery, about 2 stalks celery
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot, about 1 large carrot
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 pound Italian chicken sausage
  • 1 14-ounce can whole peeled San Manzano tomatoes
  • 1 24-ounce jar Marinara sauce (I like Rao’s or Primal Kitchen)
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 parmesan cheese rind, omit for dairy free
  • 1/2 cup julienned fresh basil

For the Pasta:

  • 16 oz. box of spaghetti (or your favorite pasta, I like Jovial GF brown rice spaghetti)

Instructions 

For the Sauce:

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, celery, and carrot. Sauté until the veggies begin to get tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Stir and cook until the garlic is golden and fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add in the ground chicken and ground chicken sausage. Stir to combine and allow to cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. Stir again and cook until the chicken is golden and mostly cooked through. Remove from the heat.
  • To your crockpot, pour in the San Marzano tomatoes and gently break them up with your spatula. Pour in the marinara, coconut milk, and red wine vinegar. Stir to combine. Add in the contents of the skillet and stir to combine. Nestle in the thyme sprigs and parm rind. Put the lid on the crockpot and cook on “Low” for 4-6 hours, until the meat has become very tender and all of the flavors have melded together.
  • Remove the thyme sprigs and parm rind before adding the pasta.

For the Pasta:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to package instructions. Before straining, reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the crockpot, and toss to combine until the sauce is glossy.
  • Serve topped with fresh basil. Enjoy!

To Store:

  • If you’re planning to store the sauce to reheat again at a later time, simply skip the step of adding the cooked pasta to the crockpot. Let the sauce cool completely, to room temperature, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freezer for up to 3 months.

Welcome! I’m Rachael.

I enjoy sharing my love for food and fitness. I'm a registered dietitian, certified personal trainer, and a New York Times Bestselling author. Here you'll find all kinds of recipes and kitchen hacks, as well as workouts and fitness motivation. Enjoy! — xx Rachael

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  1. I’m not seeing what to do with the 1/2 cup of pasta water, did I miss something? Is it to add to the pasta sauce if too thick?