No-mato Marinara Sauce

A nightshade-free, AIP safe, gluten-free, paleo, keto, sugar-free, vegan, marinara sauce that's so good... you won't know it's tomato free.

It’s that time of year again. My garden is going crazy, and I have to be on my game preparing and storing food for the year ahead.

My garden is how I eat.

One of my favorite things to put away for the year is marinara sauce! We use it for our pasta-type dishes on pizza and as an alternative to ketchup.

Imagine my disappointment when I learned that I had a nightshade intolerance a few years ago.

What is a nightshade?

Merriam Webster's definition of nightshade

any of a genus (Solanum of the family Solanaceae, the nightshade family) of herbs, shrubs, and trees having alternate leaves, cymose flowers, and fruits that are berries and including some poisonous weeds, various ornamentals, and important crop plants (such as the potato and eggplant)

Here’s the list of common nightshades:

  • Eggplant (Fruit)

  • Tomatoes (Fruit)

  • Tomatillo (Fruit)

  • Potatoes (Vegetable)

  • Goji Berries (Fruit)

  • Pimentos (Fruit)

  • Peppers (Bell, Chili, Paprika, Cayenne) (Fruit)

  • Tobacco (Leaf)

But, a life without pizza is no life at all!

This is where "No-mato" sauce enters the picture.

No-mato sauce is a tomato "like" sauce that is out of this world good. If you don't tell your friends and family that it's tomato-free, they won't know.

Yes... I'm serious.

No-mato sauce is not my invention. I don't honestly know who came up with it first, but I do know that it's taking the ever-growing food intolerant population by storm.

Over my many years on restricted diets, I've found that it's not as much the specific food you are eating as the herbs, spices, acidity, texture, and familiarity of the food that will make or break its ability to be an adequate substitute.

Do it right and you won't miss the old comfort foods.

I still grow tomatoes in my garden. We use them traditionally and pack away our fair share of salsa, marinara and tomato juice for the "tolerant" eaters in our household.

What is this world coming to when we refer to people without food intolerances as the "tolerants?" Well... it's just me, but it could catch on.

No-mato sauce blends classic marinara spices with other garden vegetables to produce a similar texture, taste, and color to traditional marinara sauce.

For my recipe, I use a combination of beets, carrots, celery, onion and yellow squash. Using a variety of vegetables increases the nutritional value of the sauce and increases the antioxidants. The yellow squash helps thicken the sauce and is texturally similar to tomato marinara.

Culinary Herbs Are Medicinal Too

The addition of fresh herbs delivers an extra nutrient-rich punch, aids in digestion, and provides the body with immune-boosting nutrients.

Italian herbs specifically are wonderful healing botanicals. Here are some of the therapeutic benefits of Italian herbs:

Oregano—An excellent medicinal herb

Oregano is:

  • Antibacterial, antifungal & anti-inflammatory

  • Cancer-fighting

  • Full of antioxidants

  • Supports the immune system

  • Aids in digestion & metabolism

  • Promotes optimal nutrition absorption

  • It can help lower cholesterol

  • It is a natural source of omega-3's

  • Normalizes blood pressure

  • Detoxifies the liver & urinary systems

  • Supports female reproduction

  • It May help bring down fevers

  • Supports respiratory function

Check out these culinary gems too...

No-mato Marinara Sauce

I use the recipe below and multiply it to match the number of vegetables I have on hand from the garden. Then I portion it out into personal-sized jars like this.

You don’t have to, can it. You can make it one batch at a time as well with this recipe.

Without further ado...

Please enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments below!


1 ½ C. Carrots, washed and sliced (use tops and all)

¾ C. Sliced celery washed

1 small yellow squash sliced (leave everything on/in)

2 Tbs. Fresh or frozen whole beats diced (I keep these diced in the freezer)

4 Whole bay leaves

1 ½ C. Onion chopped

1 Tbs. Tamarindo paste or two Tamarindo pods shelled and soaked in ¼ C. hot water. Let sit for 5 minutes then squeeze pods to release pulp. Run through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth and discard seeds.

2Tbs. Apple cider vinegar

2 tsp. Onion powder

2 tsp. Garlic powder

6 Fresh basil leaves

1Tbs. Oregano

1 tsp. Marjoram

1tsp. Thyme

Sprig Rosemary finely chopped

3-4 Cloves of garlic minced

½ tsp. White or black pepper

¼ tsp. Cinnamon

2tsp. Sea salt or to taste

3 tsp. Yacon syrup, honey, maple syrup, agave, other low GI syrup or to taste


  1. Add carrots, beets, 1 C. sliced onion, yellow squash, and bay leaves to a saucepan and simmer until carrots can be pierced with a fork

  2. Remove from heat and let cool.

  3. Blend on puree for 2 minutes

  4. Soften the remaining diced onion in a saucepan while the sauce is cooling

  5. Add juice from Tamarindo

  6. Add pureed mixture back into the pan

  7. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 5 -10 minutes

  8. Use like any other marinara.

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