I know is seems impossible to make a marinara sauce without tomatoes… but wait until you try the recipe for my “NOmato Sauce”! This nightshade free pasta sauce is even more delicious than regular tomato sauce as it’s a lot creamier, richer and it doesn’t leave you with the upsetting sensation that regular tomato sauce provokes in some individuals.
Nightshades (such as tomatoes, regular potatoes, bell peppers and eggplants) contain a type of lectin that can increase intestinal permeability, as well as saponins and capsaicin which can be stimulate an exaggerated immune response (read more about the science behind this topic HERE and HERE).
Also, the high acid content of tomato-based sauces and other products can contribute to gastrointestinal irritation, including reflux, indigestion and heartburn.
Many people are ok with eating tomatoes or nightshades in general, but for those who don’t do well with them or who are on the Elimination Phase of the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) and need to go nightshade free, this NOmato Sauce is a godsend!
PS: To know more about the foods TO INCLUDE and TO AVOID during the elimination phase of the Autoimmune Protocol, make sure to download the AIP Food List here.
I have been making tomato free pasta sauces for years now, and I got to experiment a lot with various combinations of ingredients. I already shared the recipe for the AIP Tomato Free Pasta Sauce I used to make in the past, but I think that now a brand new post is needed as I changed that recipe so much that it became a completely different thing!
I personally prefer this new version of NOmato Sauce now and I always use this recipe, but I would love to hear what’s your favorite!
How to Make NOmato Sauce (Nightshade Free Pasta Sauce)
First things first. Let’s start from the ingredients. Kabocha squash is the main ingredient of this recipe so make sure NOT to sub it for any other type of squash or pumpkin. Kabocha squash is the most popular type of squash used in Italy. It has a very distinct flavor, a firm texture, similar to Russet potatoes or chestnuts.
The remaining ingredients are: mushrooms (I used crimini mushrooms, but you van use any type you want), cauliflower and steamed red beets (in Italy, it’s really common to find pre-steamed red beets at the supermarket. If you can’t find where you are, you’ll have to steam them or cook them yourself).
As per the seasonings, this NOmato Sauce recipe simply calls for fresh rosemary and basil, ground nutmeg, dried Italian herbs, extra virgin olive oil, Himalayan salt, a little tamari (or coconut aminos if you are on the AIP) and a little aged balsamic vinegar and fresh lemon juice to give the NOmato Sauce that hint of acidity that is typical of regular tomato sauce.
When you are done washing and cutting all the ingredients fir the NOmato Sauce, the way to cook them is quite simple, as they are pan fried with extra virgin olive oil, herbs and salt. Only the mushrooms require a slightly different preparation that also includes aged balsamic vinegar, tamari (or coconut aminos) and a little full fat coconut to add a touch of creaminess.
In the video below, I take you in my kitchen and I show you step-by-step how to make this delicious tomato free and nightshade free pasta sauce.
NOmato Sauce Step-by-Step
When all the cooked vegetables are ready and still piping hot, I transfer them in individual bowls and then combine them in my Vitamix together with a cup of water that I always add in at the beginning, so that it helps the blades to move smoothly.
I then add in the lighter ingredients and save the heavier ones to be added on top (the order I follow is: water, mushrooms, beets, cauliflower, Kabocha squash) and the NOmato Sauce is ready to blend! I set my Vitamix on high (on 10 if you have an A3500) for 30 or 40 seconds until I have a creamy and smooth nightshade free pasta sauce.
How To Make a Tomato Free Sauce Taste Like Tomato:
Lastly, I add in a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some fresh basil and blend for another 4 or 5 seconds. Lemon juice, besides giving your sauce that hint of acidity that is typical of tomatoes, is a strong natural preservative and helps your NOmato Sauce last longer.
Another ingredient that helps confer your NOmato sauce a delicate balance of sweet and sour, similar to the one of tomato sauce, is the Aged Balsamic Vinegar you used in the preparation of the mushrooms. This delicious Italian condiment has a fruity and tart taste, that gives the sauce a tomato-like taste. As an alternative, you can add replace this ingredient with pomegranate molasses, even though this is less ideal.
When you are done blending, the NOmato Sauce is ready to eat. But if you plan on canning some and save it for later, you’ll have to transfer it in a large pan and let it get to a boil again before you transfer it in sterilized glass jars, because this allows the sauce to last longer.
When you pour your NOmato Sauce in your glass jars, make sure to leave about 1/4 of an inch (6 mm) of empty space at the top of each jar. Wipe the rims, screw the lids on and process your jars in a boiling water bath.
You can enjoy this NOmato Sauce over a plate of gluten free pasta, zucchini noodles, pizza or even to season a vegetable stir fry!
NOmato Sauce (Nightshade Free Pasta Sauce)
- ¾ Kabocha Squash ((do not replace this with other types of squash or pumpkin))
- 17 oz Mushrooms (500 gr)
- 1 medium Cauliflower
- 2 medium Red Beets (pre-steamed and diced; about 1 and ½ cups)
- 2 sprigs of Rosemary
- ¼ tsp ground Nutmeg
- ½ tsp Dried Italian Herbs
- 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Himalayan Salt
- 1 tbsp Aged Balsamic Vinegar
- ½ tbsp Tamari (or Coconut Aminos if you are on the AIP)
- 3 tbsp full fat Coconut Milk
- Juice of ½ Lemon
- 5 leaves of Basil
- 1 cup Water
- Using a potato peeler, skin the Kabocha squash, cut it in half and remove the seeds. Then, cut it in smaller pieces and dice them.
- Wash the cauliflower and the mushroom, cut the former in florets and thinly slice the mushrooms.
- Heat up one tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in a large pan. Wash the rosemary sprigs, remove the leaves from the stem, chop them finely and add them to the pan to stir fry.
- Add in the diced Kabocha squash. Season it with Himalayan salt, dried Italian herbs and nutmeg, mix well, add 1/3 cup of water and let it cook with the lid on for 20 to 25 minutes.
- In the meantime, heat up some more extra virgin olive oil in another pan, add in the sliced mushrooms and season them with aged balsamic vinegar, tamari and full fat coconut milk. Mix well, cover with a lid and let the mushrooms cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Lastly, cook the cauliflower. Simply heat extra virgin olive oil in a pan and add in the florets seasoned with some herbs and salt. Add 1/3 of a cup of water (you might need to add more if it starts to stick), cover with a lid and let cook until the cauliflower is soft but not mushy.
- While these ingredients finish cooking, dice the beets in small pieces and transfer them in a bowl and sterilize your glass jars in boiling water.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Dip the jars and lids into the water, let them soak for 10 minutes and pull them out using tongs.
- When all the cooked vegetables are ready and still hot, transfer them into bowls and get ready to combine all the ingredients for the nomato sauce in the Vitamix.
- Start by adding in a cup of hot boiled water into the carafe. Liquids always go in first to make blending easy. Then, add in the lighter ingredients and save the heavier ones to be added on top.
- I added the ingredients in my Vitamix in this order: water, mushrooms, beets, cauliflower, Kabocha squash.
- Blend the Nomato Sauce on high for 30 seconds, or until you have a smooth and creamy sauce.
- Lastly, add in fresh lemon juice and basil and blend again for another 4 or 5 seconds. Lemon juice is a strong natural preservative and it also gives your sauce that hint of acidity that is typical of tomatoes. Taste the sauce, and for a stronger flavor add in a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.
- If you plan on consuming the sauce within the next 2 to 3 days, you can simply transfer it in a jar and store it in the refrigerator. If instead you plan on canning it to consume it later, you’ll need to make sure it’s piping hot before you start canning. If the sauce is not hot anymore, transfer it in a large pan and let it come to a boil before you pour it into the glass jars. This will allow the sauce to be preserved longer.
- Pour your sauce into the sterilized glass jars, making sure to leave about 1/4 of an inch (6 mm) of empty space at the top of each jar.
- Wipe the rims, screw the lids on and process your jars in a boiling water bath if you intend on storing them for a long period of time.
- You can enjoy your Nomato Sauce over a plate of gluten free pasta, zucchini noodles, pizza or whatever you like!
I can’t wait to see photos of the dishes you’ll create with this NOmato Sauce, so make sure to tag me when you share it on Instagram!! Don’t forget to share this nightshade free pasta sauce with your friends on Facebook, save it on your favorite Pinterest board and subscribe to my weekly newsletter so that you never miss a post!!
Lots of love from Italy and I will catch you at the next recipe!