Tomato-Free “Tomato” Marinara

I told my fiance that I was making tomato marinara for dinner. His first reaction was that I wasn’t allowed to have tomatoes (they’re a nightshade and are off the list) and then he began reminding me that I was trying to get better (he’s been very very supportive during all of this – I’m one lucky lady).

I told him that it wasn’t tomatoes… it was beets and pumpkin puree.

I think I heard a pin drop.

He might have thought he’d seen a pig fly outside.

And then he shrugged his shoulders and said, “You’re a good cook, I trust you.” Did I mention that I was a lucky lady? He’s willing to take culinary leaps of faith right alongside me.


Much to my surprise… and I think even more his, it tasted like marinara sauce.

Just LIKE marinara sauce.

And it looked like marinara sauce that had been slow-cooked for hours on end.

I was so excited! Combine this with my gluten-free dairy-free spaetzl (recipe for that coming soon) and my life just might be complete. Or pretty close to being complete. A sprinkling of nutritional yeast would, in fact, make it complete.

Just one note, the onion, which reads finely chopped, needs to be finely chopped. Otherwise you’ll get fuchsia onions like I did during my first attempt. Also, I added a splash of plum balsamic vinegar (you can find it at your local vinegar and oil specialty store – I highly suggest picking up some vinegars you like as store-bought salad dressings are off the foods list) and a splash or two of white wine vinegar to brighten things up a bit. It’s a marinara – play around with it!


“Nomato” Tomato Marinara

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (8-ounce) can beets, drained, juices reserved (oven-roasted, pureed beets are fine, too)
  • 1 (14-15 ounce) can pure pumpkin puree (make sure it’s not pumpkin pie mix)
  • ½-¼ cup gluten-free chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 24 grinds fresh black pepper
  • ¼-⅓ cup chopped fresh basil, or ¼ cup dried basil
  • a good “palmful” of dried thyme and oregano
  • 1 tbsp honey (maybe a little more, maybe a little less)
  1. Saute onions and garlic over medium heat in a dutch oven until onions are translucent in a medium dutch oven or large skillet.
  2. Add balsamic vinegar and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. In a food processor, puree the beets. Add beets and pumpkin to the dutch oven and stir until there isn’t a kaleidoscope of color. (You’ll see what I mean when you make it.)
  4. Add the stock and stir. Add the spices and stir. Let simmer for about 30 minutes. Check the balance of the spices and adjust as necessary.

I dare your family, friends, and picky eaters to tell the difference!


Coconut Vanilla “Ice Cream”

This is just so good. I mean. Just so good. Being lactose-free, soy-free, sugar-free and processed foods-free, I’m limited as to what I can and can’t eat. And I can eat this. All day long. And it’s just so good. If you

Only downfall, it doesn’t firm up that well in the ice cream maker and it gets too hard in the freezer. So it’s an “eat as soon as it’s done” kind of ice cream. But that’s okay – if you’ll excuse me, I have a hot date with a random chick flick (suggestions welcome) and my “healthy” coconut ice cream.

I hope your tummy and taste buds enjoy this as much as mine do. 🙂


Coconut Vanilla “Ice Cream”

  • 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Toasted coconut or fresh fruit

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix well until honey is dissolved.

Turn ice cream maker on and pour mixture in. When ice cream starts to firm a bit, toss in toasted coconut. If using fresh fruit, add right before the mixture is done. (Freezing the fresh fruit works best.)

Let ice cream maker operate for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Makes a quart.


Roasted Tomato Salsa

Going to a Mexican restaurant can only mean one thing: munching down on the roasted tomato salsa. You know it – the stuff that they bring to you in refillable quantities? The stuff that, by the time your chimichanga, topped off with pico de gallo and sour cream arrives, you couldn’t possibly take another bite? Yea. That stuff. The addicting salsa that Mexican restaurants know hooks you in.

Well, making that salsa is super fast (minus baking time) and super easy (as long as your blender doesn’t explode or something).


Roasted Tomato Salsa

  • 2 pounds Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine above ingredients in a 13×9" baking dish coasted with nonstick cooking spray, roast for 45 minutes.


(Before roasting)


(After roasting)

Coarsely mash roasted veggies using a potato masher. (Or carefully run them through your blender – but be careful! Hot things in a blender cause the lid to pop off and the contents to be all over the place!)

  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add cilantro, jalapenos and lime juice – season with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature and enjoy!


Recipe from Cuisine at Home