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  • Writer's pictureJoe Centineo

The Sunday Cookbook: Tomatoless Marinara Sauce | Nightshade-Free

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

This tomatoless marinara sauce recipe is a nightshade-free, dairy-free, and anti-inflammatory sauce alternative that tastes just like marinara sauce made with tomatoes! Also, it is full of antioxidants and fresh herbs!

The Sunday Cookbook  - Tomatoless Marinara Sauce - nightshade free - joseph centineo - amanda macgregor - food allergy recipes

With nightshades becoming a more common food allergy and food sensitivity, many may find themselves exactly where we did: looking for an alternative to all your favorite tomato-based condiments and sauces.

Being half Italian and developing my love for cooking from my Italian grandmother, Grandma Annie, a lot of my go-to recipes were of Italian heritage. My childhood memories strongly revolved around the Sunday dinners held at my Grandma Annie's. The memories of my family spending Sundays like it was a holiday gathering, getting to play with my cousins, the sound of the adults chattering, my father filming every moment, all while the sweet aroma of marinara sauce, meatballs, and fried chicken cutlets filled all the rooms of my grandma's house.

The making of a sauce; the ingredients used, every step getting added into a large sauce pot, and the progress of creating that beautiful red hue with speckles of green herbs throughout, I truly love the sauce-making process, as well as eating the dishes it would go on.

For those of you not familiar, nightshades are a family of plants that contain certain compounds that can be problematic, particularly for those dealing with an autoimmune disease. These plants include peppers, eggplant, paprika, white potatoes, and tomatoes.

After Amanda was diagnosed with Intestinal Candida, we had to be very careful with her gut. The smallest amount of her triggering foods would make her terribly sick, nightshades being one of those foods. For a while, if I would make a sauce for myself, we would have to make two separate dinners: one for me, and a sauceless one for Amanda.
The Sunday Cookbook  - Tomatoless Marinara Sauce - nightshade free - joseph centineo - amanda macgregor - food allergy recipes

It would be a lot of clean-up, the separate dinners were working for some time. I just couldn't fight the urge to leave it be. I was itching to make a red sauce, one that my wife could enjoy too. I took to researching and learned that simply blending carrots and beets, plus adding in some traditional ingredients like garlic, onion, and Italian herbs, will create a sauce that looks and tastes just as satisfying as a traditional red sauce! Seriously, Amanda still gets nervous to this day taking the first bite because of how much it resembles tomato-based sauces.

Whether you require a nightshade-free marinara sauce, are looking for a healthier alternative, or are attending Sunday dinner with the need for a replacement option, we hope you enjoy this sauce as much as we do!

The Sunday Cookbook's

Tomatoless Marinara Sauce



This recipe is dedicated to Grandma Annie Centineo.

alla nostra salute e famiglia


  • 1 pound of carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks

  • 1 (8.8oz) package of beets - we use the "Love Beets" brand

  • 1 and ½ onions, diced

  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced

  • 2 tablespoons dried basil

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • Salt and pepper

  • Olive Oil

Some things you will need:


  1. Using an 8-quart covered stockpot and covered steamer insert, fill the pot with water, about halfway full. Insert the steamer basket, and place the carrots in the basket. Over medium heat, steam the carrots until they can be easily poked with a fork.

  2. In a blender, blend together the carrots and beets. If needed, add a little of the water from the steam pot to loosen the mixture and blend more easily.

  3. In a separate pot, over medium heat, add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil becomes warm, add the onions and garlic. Sautee until translucent, making sure not to overcook the garlic.

  4. Add in the beet and carrot mixture, basil, and oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  5. Set the heat to low, and simmer the sauce for 30 minutes, making sure to mix occasionally to prevent any burning.

  6. After 30 minutes of simmering, taste the sauce and add any additional basil, oregano, salt, or pepper, if needed. The tomato-free base tends to absorb seasoning very quickly, so you may need to add more than our measurements above.

Recipes to try using this sauce:

The ketchup and BBQ Sauce recipes are COMING SOON!

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