As we’ve discovered more of Charlie’s allergies and adapted our diet accordingly; I’ve decided that the overall category of foods I find most difficult to cook without are nightshades. (Tomatoes! Potatoes! Chiles!) We love Italian food and Mexican food, so that’s a lot of chiles, and tomatoes obviously. And who doesn’t love French fries right? Unsurprisingly, one of the things I started working on making an allergy friendly version of asap was tomato sauce.
But how to make tomato sauce without tomatoes? A little googling reveals a number of recipes for “nomato” sauce, and at this point I’ve tried a number of them. Many are not bad, but none of them quite taste like a real tomato sauce to me. So naturally, I’ve made about a million batches of nomato and tweaked, and tweaked, and tweaked… And I’ve finally arrived at this recipe I’m sharing with you today.
I personally think it tastes like the real deal, an actual Italian style tomato sauce. I will admit, you do get flavors of additional veggies as part of the flavor of the sauce. However, it gives me more of the feel of, “Oh there are some veggies in this pasta sauce,” rather then, “Holy cow that looks like pasta sauce, but it is straight up made out of beets!”(If you’ve tried making nomato before you know what I’m talking about). I also think this recipe has achieved the tang and sweet you get from a real tomato based sauce, which is missing from some versions. I also like that it’s a more natural pasta sauce color rather than the violent red you get from some versions that contain a lot of beets. Its also a lot less expensive then the jared nomato you can buy (and honestly, I think it tastes better too). The last selling point I will mention is this version of the sauce passed the ultimate taste test at my house: the kids- I’ve been feeding it to them for weeks without mentioning it and they totally haven’t noticed the substitution.
I should mention this tastes even better when you add some ground beef or meatballs or whatever to it. I’ve also used it to great success to make homemade nightshade free pizza! (Recipe coming up in the future.)
Last thought: If you’re new to nomato, you may find some of the ingredients to be a bit weird, but trust me and go with it. It works. You may end up wanting to just the spices, garlic, and salt to your own needs or families preferences, but I think you’ll find this to be an excellent bade to work from.
This is a large batch recipe that makes about 22 cups, so you can make it once, freeze a bunch, and have it on hand as needed. Of course you can scale up or down as desired.
The Best "Nomato" Sauce
A nightshade free "tomato" sauce, that tastes like a real Italian pasta sauce. This is a large batch recipe that yields apron 20-22 cups, depending on how much you cook it down, and freezes really well. You will want a high speed blender like a Ninja, or a food processor to puree the sauce. I have had the very best results when using a Ninja.
- 5 lbs carrots, washed, ends removed, and cut to fit in a large pot
- 2 onions, peeled & cut in wedges
- 1 15 oz can beets
- 1 15 oz can tart cherries in water
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons Herbs de' Provence, optional You may want to add 1 teaspoon each of dried thyme and basil if you omit the Herbs de' Provence.
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, optional You many need to omit if following AIP.
- 3 cups beef broth or pork broth
- generous splash of olive oil
Add the carrots and onion wedges to a large pot. Fill the pot with water so that the vegetables are covered. Bring the pot to a rolling boil over high heat. Once boiling reduce the heat slightly to keep the pot boiling, but prevent it from boiling over. Cook until the carrots are soft enough to be poked through with a fork. The cooking time will vary.
Drain the cooked veggies of all water using a colander, and allow them to cool enough that you don't burn yourself when working with them.
When cool enough to manage add the cooked vegetables, can of beets (juices included), tart cherries (water included), balsamic vinegar, and white vinegar, to a high speed blender or food processor. You will likely need to add the vegetables in batches to fit them all. Puree the vegetables and then return the puree to the large pot. Note: this recipe turns to best when the vegetables are fairly well pureed so that you don't end up with chunks of any particular ingredient. This tastes most like the real deal when all the flavors really combine.
When all the pureed vegetables and fruit have been returned to the pot, add the garlic powder, oregano, rosemary, salt, Herbs de Provence (if desired), beef broth, and a generous splash of olive oil. Stir well and return to the stove top at medium low heat. Allow the sauce to simmer for 20 minutes to an hour so that the flavors get a chance to blend. You can cook the sauce longer if you want to achieve a thicker consistency.
Allow the sauce to cool, and then it can be transferred to individual containers to freeze. The sauce stores well in the freezer for several months.