Saturday, October 25, 2014

Nomato Bolognese (AIP)

When one of your favorite comfort foods is big bowl of spaghetti with tomato sauce, what’s a person to do after finding out that their body no longer will tolerate tomatoes (or any other things from the “nightshade” family)? Why, perfect their own tomato-less “Nomato” sauce!

Before my detox diet/starting the autoimmune protocol, I’d never even heard of “nightshades” before. The nightshade family includes things like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and white potatoes, plus a lot more. I stopped consuming them entirely, even the nightshade seed spices which are in *everything*. Though it has made a world of difference with my pain & inflammation, I still miss eating them.

I saw a recipe for a tomato-less “nomato” sauce a couple months ago and it really piqued my interest. I searched for a couple more sauce & started experimenting with my own variation. It’s taken several tweaks, but I finally feel it is near perfection for my palate.

While the base flavor of this nomato sauce great, I still find it is best when ground meat is added to it & it is simmered into a sort of “bolognese” sauce. I know the purists will say this is not remotely a bolognese sauce--yes, it is missing most of the main components of a “true” bolognese--but that’s the closest flavor profile I can think to describe it. During the summer, we served the nomato bolognese over sauteed cabbage or zucchini noodles (“zoodles”), but now that fall is here, I’m all about spaghetti squash.

Yes, I still miss my childhood favorite spaghetti, but I do not feel at all deprived by this version. It might require a little more work, but it’s totally worth it to eat something that is good for me & won’t make me feel worse.

Nomato Sauce Base (AIP) 

This sauce also freezes beautifully, so if you have the freezer space, I’d suggest making a big batch & keep it on hand for quick meal prep. I put extra bolognese sauce into freezer safe canning jars before freezing. 

2 Tbl Bacon grease, plus more, if needed 
1 med (1 1/2 c or approximately 190 g) Onion, diced
4 small ribs (1 1/2 c or approximately 190 g) Celery, chopped
3 cloves (approximately 38 g) Garlic, chopped
6 ea (3 c or approximately 420 g) Carrots, chopped
1 medium (1 1/2 c or approximately 180 g)  beet, diced 
1.5 c (approximately 350 g) Stock (homemade, if possible; I used chicken) 
2 Bay leaves 
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
2 Tbl Red Wine Vinegar
Salt/pepper (optional) 
  1. Melt the bacon grease in a medium stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion & sweat for 5 minutes. 
  2. Add the celery, garlic, carrots, beats, stock, bay leaves, and italian seasoning. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium/low & simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. 
  3. Remove the bay leaves (reserve for the bolognese) & puree the soup using an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender). After blending, add the red wine vinegar. Taste and adjust the salt & pepper as needed (this will depend on how seasoned the bacon grease & stock were). 
  4. Use in the Nomato Bolognese, or on its own. Cool completely before refrigerating or freezing. 

Nomato Bolognese (AIP) 

1 lb grassfed ground beef (85/15), browned in more bacon grease (or substitute other grassfed/pastured ground meats) 
1 batch sauce from above, including the reserved bay leaves 
  1. Brown the beef in some additional bacon grease until cooked through
  2. Add nomato sauce & reserved bay leaves. Simmer on low heat for 45 minutes.  

Roasted Spaghetti Squash
adapted from Simply Recipes 

1 large Spaghetti Squash
Avocado Oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & grease it with a tablespoon (or so) of Avocado Oil. 
  2. Cut off the ends of the spaghetti squash, then stand up the squash on one of the cut ends & cut down the center of the squash, length-wise. Use a large, sturdy spoon to scoop out the seeds in the center. 
  3. Place the squash halves on the oiled pan cut side down. Prick the tops of the squash with a sharp knife or the tines of a fork. 
  4. Roast the squash halves until you can easily pierce the squash with a fork or knife, approximately 35 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. 
  5. Remove from the oven until cool enough to handle. Use a fork to scrape the squash strands (aka “spaghetti”) into a bowl. Reheat slightly, if necessary, before serving with the nomato bolognese.
  6. Reheat slightly, if necessary, before serving with the nomato bolognese. Store any cooled leftovers in the refrigerator. 


  1. I definitely am craving a bowlful of bolognese right now.. this looks so delicious. Great recipe too!

    1. Thanks! Hope you can make it yourself sometime :)

  2. This is amazing, and I'm also nightshade intolerant. (though, I just couldn't help myself this summer) Bravo!

    1. I thought about cheating on nightshades this summer, but oh man, my nightshade reaction is too severe to cheat on! Once I started making this sauce, it made my cravings much more manageable. Hope it helps you too!

  3. I'm making this right now!! So excited and it smells delicious! I have missed spaghetti and Italian dishes using tomato sauce! Next time I will start earlier and possibly freeze a package! I'm hoping it freezes well??

  4. Just read the bottom. Yay for freezing. My husband is a bit leery of trying but he loves everything I've transformed to AIP!!

  5. This looks lovely, but with SIBO I can't have the onions or garlic, either. I'm wondering if anything can taste Italian without them.