Why you wonder? My husband asked the same thing. Why reinvent the wheel when it is perfectly acceptable the way it is? Marinara is like the perfect marriage of juicy, flavorful tomatoes plus a combination of spices and herbs. While there actually is a reason I created the ‘no-mato’ marinara sauce, I really wonder if there needs to be a reason to create another fantastically flavorful sauce that you can smother over your food.
You know me and sauce, we are tight. It really is the life blood that makes this thing happen. I love sauce, any kind of sauce and really believe it makes all food taste better. Thick sauce, thin sauce, meaty sauce, herbed sauce, hot sauce, gravy, you name it, I like it. So besides having a liking for any and all sauce, the reason I created this is for all of my nightshade free peeps out there who react to nightshades but yet are still entitled to a good marina sauce. You know, to make a flatbread or smother in meatballs. While some of you may know what nightshades are, I’ll give you the quick rundown on the whats and whys of nightshade removal.
First off, nightshades are members of the family Solanaceae. Common nightshades include white potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers. This list also includes spices made from peppers like paprika, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper (1). I know what you are thinking, this sounds horrible. Yes, I know these foods taste good and the spices are superb but trust me there is always another way. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Nightshades in general seem to be classified as toxic. In fact the list of edible nightshades is quite short but the list of poisonous ones is very extensive. There are far more very damaging fruits in the nightshade category than edible ones. The problem with nightshades is that they are toxic to humans, some even being deadly. While all foods are toxic at high doses, even water excessive nightshade consumption is also quite problemsome. The issue arises because nightshades are delicious and are quickly becoming what most consider ‘staples’ in the American diet.
I know, there is always something wrong with good tasting food, right? The good news is that there is no evidence that nightshades are dangerous in any way for most healthy people with a healthy immune system. However, they may be a bad idea for people whose guts and immune systems are already compromised, especially anyone with an autoimmune disease. The biggest reaction we see among those sensitive to nightshades is arthritis and joint pain, especially those with the autoimmune disease of rheumatoid arthritis (2).
So the question becomes, should you avoid nightshades? If you’re trying to heal from an autoimmune disease or anything that causes joint pain and inflammation it may be a good idea. A good run is a 30-day nightshade elimination where your body will then inform you if nightshades are problemsome or not is a good idea for many people. While this is very challenging it is very doable as well.
While most of us are only slightly sensitive, it might be enough for us just to reduce the nightshade content in our diets, aiming to greatly reduce the alkaloid content (the problematic compounds) through these tips;
- Peel all potatoes
- Avoid green tomatoes
- Avoid sprouting potatoes
- Cook all nightshades
Now if you don’t have chronic pain or an autoimmune disease you probably won’t see much benefit from eliminating nightshades, most of us can enjoy them just fine and in moderation. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy this new take on marinara.
The hubs was pleasantly surprised coming from a very skeptical perspective. Tomato-less marinara sauce has been good to us and it is so stinkin’ easy to make.
Sauce… rich, creamy, lip-smackin’ good sauce. This is all you need.
- 1-2 Tbsp coconut or olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 4 large carrots, chopped
- 1 can sweet potato puree (could use 1½ cup mashed sweet potatoes)
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 bunch basil, chopped
- ½ tsp marjoram
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- salt & pepper, to taste
- ½ cup broth (more or less depending upon desired thickness)
- Prepare all ingredients.
- Heat a small dutch oven or medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add in 1 Tbsp olive oil, onion and carrots.
- Cook for 5-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender adding more oil as needed.
- Add in garlic and cook until fragrant or 1-2 minutes.
- Add in sweet potato puree, balsamic, chopped basil, salt & pepper, marjoram, oregano & broth.
- Simmer 5 minutes and puree either via blender or immersion blender.
- While blending slowly add in ¼ cup olive oil until fully incorporated.
- Place back in pan and heat to warm if needed.
- Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator and use on all your favorite dishes as marinara.