Tomato-less Marinara Sauce (Nightshade-free, AIP-friendly)

With nightshades becoming a more common food sensitivity these days, many might find themselves looking for an alternative to their favorite tomato-based condiments and sauces, like this marinara sauce.

plate of spaghetti with marinara sauce on top

If you’re not familiar with nightshades, they are a family of plants that contain certain compounds, like lectins and saponins, that can make them problematic, particularly for those dealing with autoimmune disease. These plants include tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, paprika, goji berries, eggplant, and potatoes, among others. (For a complete list, see this post by The Paleo Mom.) A growing number of people seem to be trying out the Autoimmune Protocol, which advocates avoiding nightshades, among other gut irritants, so I wanted to make a marinara sauce that could be enjoyed without the use of tomatoes, bell peppers, alcohol, or added sugars.

Melissa’s Produce offered to help me with this mission by sending me their new organic family box of fresh produce, which included practically everything I needed– and then some. (If you live in the Southern California area, this box is $40 for 17 lbs of organic produce delivered to your doorstep with free shipping!)

fresh fruits and vegetables

Made with a simple blend of carrots, onions, lemon, garlic, and a beet for its red hue, this sauce is as easy and healthy as it gets, and it is just as satisfying as traditional red sauce. I’m actually surprised by how much I like it!

fork twirling spaghetti with marinara 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 enjoy this sauce as much as we have.

Tomato-less Marinara Sauce (AIP-friendly, Nightshade-free)
Makes 5 cups

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound carrots, chopped
1 medium beet, chopped
1 cup water
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat, and saute the onions until they are tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in the carrots, beet, and water and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and lower the heat to a simmer, cooking until the carrots and beets are fork-tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.

preparing marinara sauce in a pot and in a blenderCarefully transfer the mixture to a high-speed blender, add the salt and lemon juice, and blend until smooth. (Be sure to cover the vent in the lid of your blender with a dishtowel to prevent the top blowing off from the pressure of blending hot liquids!) Taste the sauce and adjust any seasonings, as needed, including a dash of oregano and basil, if you like! You can also add additional water, if you’d like a thinner sauce.

Serve warm over your favorite vegetable or pasta dish, and enjoy! Leftover sauce can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for months.

fork with spaghetti and tomatoless marinara

4.67 from 15 votes
Print
Tomato-less Marinara Sauce (Nightshade-free, AIP-friendly)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

A quick and healthy marinara sauce that is free of nightshades, sugar, and alcohol.

Course: Main Course
Servings: 5 cups
Calories: 90 kcal
Author: Detoxinista.com
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 yellow onions , chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 pound carrots , chopped
  • 1 medium beet , chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Melt the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat, and saute the onions until they are tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in the carrots, beet, and water and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and lower the heat to a simmer, cooking until the carrots and beets are fork-tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  2. Carefully transfer the mixture to a high-speed blender, add the salt and lemon juice, and blend until smooth. (Be sure to cover the vent in the lid of your blender with a dishtowel to prevent the top blowing off from the pressure of blending hot liquids!) Taste the sauce and adjust any seasonings, as needed, including a dash of oregano and basil, if you like! You can also add additional water, if you'd like a thinner sauce.
  3. Serve warm over your favorite vegetable or pasta dish, and enjoy! Leftover sauce can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for months.

Notes:

  • If you’d prefer to use apple cider vinegar instead of the lemon juice for tartness, I’d start with just half the amount called for, as I find the vinegar more potent in flavor.

As always, please leave a comment below letting us know any other substitutions you try!

Reader Feedback: Have you ever tried eliminating nightshades? Do you have a favorite alternative to classic marinara sauce? I’ve never tried eliminating nightshades myself, and I have a feeling it would be really difficult for me. I love pretty much everything on the nightshade list!

*Disclosure: I’d like to give a special thanks to Melissa’s Produce for providing a complimentary box of their organic produce for me to work with while developing this recipe. As always, I’m under no obligation to post a positive review and I will never mention a product on this site that I wouldn’t use in my own home!

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Comments

Marisa

I will be saving this website to my favorites for sure!

Katie

Excited to try this recipe! I want to make this for a family member, but they can’t do onions. Any suggestions for a substitute? Add more of something else?

Beth Granitz

Thank you so much for this recipe! We’ve tried another similar recipe in the past but it doesn’t even compare to this. My husband has a nightshade allergy and we were craving spaghetti and I stumbled upon your recipe. It is absolutely incredible, we made it last week and are making it again tonight! We ended up using canned beets and shredding the carrots in our food processor to make for easier/faster cooking, and adding some balsamic vinegar. Other than that we kept just as you wrote it.

Alyssa

Could this recipe be used in other dishes besides Italian ones? For example, could I use this instead of tomato puree when making curries or enchilada sauce?

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