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Nomato sauce is a tomato-free alternative to marinara sauce, for those who need to avoid nightshades or have food sensitivities. It’s the perfect topping for pasta, pizza, and more!

nomato sauce served over pasta with basil.

Why You’ll Love It

It tastes amazing. This recipe gets its natural sweetness from carrots, and still has the Italian flavor you love, thanks to the addition of basil and oregano. The red hue comes from beets, but the beet flavor isn’t overpowering, so it still tastes similar to regular marinara sauce.

It’s made without nightshades. Nightshades are a family of plants that can be problematic for some, especially for those dealing with auto-immune conditions. These plants include tomatoes, peppers, paprika, eggplant, potatoes, and more, so this sauce is made without common tomato sauce ingredients, like bell peppers, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes.

It’s great for those following special diets. This sauce is naturally vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free, and it’s also Paleo and AIP friendly. Since it’s mostly comprised of blended vegetables and herbs, it’s a great way to add more nutrients into your life!

Nomato sauce twirled on a fork with noodles.

Ingredients You’ll Need

nomato sauce ingredients labeled in glass bowls.

The carrots and beet make up the base of this nightshade-free sauce, and the onion, garlic, and herbs will help add the classic tomato sauce flavor. This recipe uses lemon juice instead of vinegar to help add a tangy, acidic flavor that the tomatoes would normally provide.

If you don’t have carrots on hand, you could also use a similar amount of pumpkin puree or butternut squash as the base of this sauce. You can also use extra veggies you have on hand, such as celery or zucchini. 

How to Make Nomato Sauce

1. Saute the veggies. 

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet with a lid. Add in the onion and sauté until it’s soft and translucent, about 8 minutes.

Add in the garlic, basil, and oregano and stir until they are fragrant, about 1 more minute.  

onions sauteed in skillet with spices.

2. Simmer. 

Next, add in the carrots, beets, water, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the pot and lower the heat, so the veggies can simmer until they are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.                                                           

beets and carrots cooked until tender in skillet.

3. Blend.

When the vegetables are soft and easily pierced with a fork, transfer them to a high-speed blender, along with all of the liquid in the pan. 

Add in the lemon juice, then secure the blender’s lid and blend until the sauce has reached your desired consistency. (You can make it silky-smooth, or a little chunky, depending on your preference.) If you prefer a runnier sauce, you can add water 1 tablespoon at a time, until you are happy with the texture.

Safety Note: When blending hot liquids, be sure to cover the vent in your blender’s lid with a thin towel, so steam can safely escape as you blend, without splattering. Otherwise, the steam pressure may build up as you blend, causing the lid to blow off of your blender– which would be a very hot mess! Bullet-style & individual cup blenders are not ideal for blending hot liquids, since there is no venting option. 

blended nomato sauce before and after blending.

4. Enjoy!

Once the soup has been blended, adjust any seasoning to taste. If the beet you used was large, you may need to add more salt (just a 1/2 teaspoon at a time) to help counterbalance the sweetness of the root vegetable. 

This AIP nomato sauce recipe makes roughly 4 cups, so you can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Or, you can freeze it for up to 3 months. (Be sure to leave a little room at the top of your storage container, so it has room to expand as it freezes.)

nomato sauce in a glass mason jar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this in the Instant Pot? 

Yes, you can skip the olive oil in that case and simply add all of the veggies, water, and spices into the pot. (No sauteing required!) Secure the lid and cook at high pressure for 10 minutes, then let the pressure naturally release for another 10 minutes. Then move the steam release valve to venting to release any remaining pressure in the pot. When the floating valve in the lid drops, it’s safe to remove the lid. Blend the cooked veggies as directed, and adjust any seasoning to taste from there.

Can I replace the lemon juice? 

You can use half the amount of red wine vinegar, if you prefer, or any other vinegar that you like. Vinegar tends to taste more pungent than lemon juice, so start with a small amount and add more, to taste.

Can I use broth instead of water?

Sure, you can use bone broth for extra minerals, or any other veggie stock you prefer. Just keep in mind that this may increase the sodium, so you might not need as much salt in that case.

Looking for more pasta sauces? Try Butternut Squash Pasta, Creamy Cajun Pasta, or Pumpkin Pasta Sauce for more delicious ideas.

Nomato sauce twirled on a fork with noodles.

Nomato Sauce (Tomato-less Marinara)

4.79 from 83 votes
Nomato Sauce is a delicious alternative to marinara, for those who can't tolerate nightshades like tomatoes and peppers. Serve it over pasta, pizza, and more!
prep10 mins cook40 mins total50 mins
Servings:4 cups


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions , chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 pound carrots , peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium beet , chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  • In a deep skillet (with a lid), heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add in the onion and sauté until it’s soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic, basil, and oregano and stir until it’s fragrant, about 1 more minute.
  • Add in the carrots, beet, water, and 1 teaspoon of salt, then bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, and lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until the beets and carrots are fork-tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • When the vegetables are soft, transfer them to a high-speed blender, along with all of the liquid in the pan. Add in the lemon juice, then cover the blender with a lid.
    Safety Note: Make sure that the steam can safely vent out of the lid, so the steam pressure won’t make the lid pop off during blending. (Cover the vent with a thin dish towel to prevent splattering.)
  • Blend until the sauce is smooth, then adjust the seasoning to taste. Depending on how large the beet is that you used, you may need to add more salt. I start with a 1/2 teaspoon at a time (for a large beet you may need to add 1 extra teaspoon of salt in total) to help counterbalance the sweetness from the root veggies.
  • Transfer the sauce to an airtight jar with a lid, and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. This sauce makes an excellent alternative to marinara sauce, so you can use it over pasta, pizza, in lasagna, and more. The sauce will keep well in the fridge for up to a week, but you can also freeze it for up to 3 months. (Just be sure to leave some extra room at the top of the jar, to allow for the sauce to expand as it freezes.)



Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 545mg | Potassium: 417mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 15155IU | Vitamin C: 12.5mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: nomato sauce

Whether you require a nightshade-free marinara sauce, or are just looking to change up a recipe in your weekly dinner rotation, I hope you’ll enjoy this nomato sauce recipe! Be sure to leave a comment and star rating below if you give it a try.


Megan Gilmore leaning on her white countertop.

Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned best-selling cookbook author. I create healthy recipes made with simple ingredients to make your life easier.

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  1. I became allergic to nightshades after menopause 😕 so I am soooo happy to have this “spaghetti sauce” recipe! 😀