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)
- Saute onions and garlic over medium heat in a dutch oven until onions are translucent in a medium dutch oven or large skillet.
- Add balsamic vinegar and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
- 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.)
- 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!