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.

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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!

Enjoy!

“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!

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