Friday, March 11, 2011

Ketchup and pasta sauce with NO tomatoes or nightshades...

First, I’m thrilled to welcome an ever-increasing number of visitors to this site – in the past month several new online readers have joined us from Canada, and new visitors continue to come to us from Germany, Slovenia, France, and across the United States. 

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My post today is on the topic of “tomato sauces” that are tomato-free AND nightshade-free.  Last month I offered some suggestions on alternatives to using red or green tomatoes in recipes, but most of those unfortunately still use members of the Nightshade Family (of which tomato is one), leaving those of us with allergies to the whole Nightshade Family (Solanaceae) in a bit of a fix.

Two days ago I came across a recipe for red pasta sauce that DOESN’T involve tomatoes OR any other nightshades, and I was so excited, I started searching for similar recipes.  The original recipe I found was in a fairly old “International Macrobiotic Cuisine” book called Whole World Cookbook, produced by a group of editors at East West Journal back in 1984, and used carrots, beets, and red miso as its main ingredients.  My immediate thought was why didn’t I think of using carrots and beets like that?!?

Already I saw a nightshade-free sauce coming together in my mind – carrots being from the Carrot/Parsley Family (Umbelliferae or Apiaceae) and beets from the Goosefoot/Beet Family (Chenopodiaceae).  Red miso is soy-derived and therefore from a sub-family called Papilionoideae or Faboideae and which belongs to the larger Legume Family (Leguminoaseae or Fabaceae).  As the amount of miso required was quite small, I would probably leave it out altogether.  Alternatively, I could easily imagine adding various other ingredients to replace its saltiness if needed, e.g. coconut aminos or a smidge of yeast extract (Marmite).  Basically, the macrobiotic recipe I found called for pressure cooking the carrots and beets with onions and then adding the miso and various Italian-style herbs and spices to get the right flavor, plus arrowroot to thicken the sauce.

Inspired by that recipe, I did a quick websearch for other tomato-free and nightshade-free sauces, and to my surprise there were a number of similar recipes using carrots and beets, and not just for pasta sauce but also for ketchup – those of you who have to avoid ketchup because of tomatoes will no doubt be as happy as I was to finally get that item back on the table!**

Here are a few of the recipes I found (note: one uses yams instead of carrots) – I haven’t tried them yet, but am gearing up to do so.  If you beat me to it, please let me know how you liked the results.  I even found a company that makes such sauces commercially.  The best part is that with carrots and beets, you’re already getting more varied nutrients than you would have been getting with tomatoes or their nightshade siblings anyway!

Tomato-free red pasta sauce: 

Tomato-free ketchup:

Commercially sold tomato-free sauces:

P.S. For a long time now I’ve used a sauce made primarily of red lentils (which dissolve and become orange) as a pasta sauce topping that is also nightshade-free.  Doesn’t taste much like tomato sauce but is very flavorful and colorful plus a great source of additional protein.  I’ll try to post that recipe in the coming weeks.

** Of course, if you are allergic to carrots, beets, or any member of their respective food families, or to any of the herbs or spices used in such sauces, you would have to adapt the recipe(s) accordingly.  Fortunately there are a number of other vegetables that can be cooked to resemble carrots in texture and color but hail from different food families (such as sweet potato/USA yam or pumpkin).  For beets, you’d most likely have to substitute other red-colored foods, perhaps rhubarb or red plums?  Wait till my soon-to-be-published book comes out – it’s FILLED with food substitution ideas!


Anonymous said...

Hi Bethany,
Your blog is very interesting. In fact the tomato one kept me thinking for a substitute. Anyway in Indian cuisine we use things like tamarind, kokum, lemon juice, mango powder, pomegranate powder to get the tartness if tomato is used in small quantities. But if you want sauce, these will not work.
I would love to talk to you more about this. Thanks for sharing your ideas with me.

Bethany Niazian said...

Thanks, Hema -- I'm glad the blog is interesting to you and got you thinking about cooking and food substitutes.

I've heard of some of the ingredients you mentioned but haven't ever used kokum or pomegranate powder, though pomegranate syrup/molasses is an ingredient I used fairly often because I make a variety of Persian/Middle Eastern dishes.

Hema said...

Kokum -
Northern India uses lot of tomato, lemon juice, South India uses tamarind, and kokum is used mainly in the western part of India.
I have not used but it is available in Indian stores. Pomegranate powder is used in some dishes and is also available in Indian stores as "Anardana powder".

Bethany Niazian said...

Thanks, Hema. Interestingly, the word for pomegranate in Persian is "anar" -- probably same origin as for anardana powder. And if I'm not mistaken, another name for mango powder is amchur powder. As you say, these would be great substitutes to add a somewhat sour taste to food without using lemon, etc.

patricia anderson said...

I hadn't thought to search for a tomato free recipes for sauces, thanks! I hope to try out some of these sites and recipes soon to enjoy with my rice pasta.

Bethany Niazian said...

Please let me know how the recipes turn out, Patricia! One thing to keep in mind, just avoiding tomatoes may not be enough if you are allergic to nightshades in general. Also, some people experience food allergy symptoms from raw foods but are OK eating the cooked versions; I've mostly seen this with members of the onion family, but it can also apply to tomatoes and other fruits.

Angela Puccinelli said...

What about Filipino banana ketchup?Should be available in an Asian store.

Bethany Niazian said...

Thanks, Angela, I hadn't heard of Filipino Banana Ketchup before! As long as the other ingredients (e.g. vinegar) don't bother the person eating it, sounds like a great tomato-free substitute.

I googled Banana Ketchup because it was new to me and found the following interesting info:

Banana ketchup or banana sauce is a popular Philippine condiment made from mashed banana, sugar, vinegar, and spices. Its natural color is brownish, so it is often dyed red to resemble tomato ketchup. Banana ketchup was made when there was a shortage of tomato ketchup during World War II, due to lack of tomatoes and a comparatively high production of bananas.

Banana ketchup is sweeter than tomato ketchup and is similar in taste to Indonesian Kecap manis and Thai sweet chili sauce. In Filipino households this condiment is used on just about any dish - omelettes (torta), hot dogs, burgers, fries, fish and other meats. Banana ketchup is also a vital and distinct ingredient in Filipino-style spaghetti (sweeter than the traditional Italian spaghetti). There is also a "hot" version made by the same company (Jufran). It still has a hint of sweetness, couple with spicy-hot taste.

It is exported to countries where there is a considerable Filipino population (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Hong Kong, France, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand).

Filipino food technologist Maria Y. Orosa (1893–1945) is credited with inventing a banana ketchup recipe.