I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it. (Mae West)
A while back, I wrote a wee piece on Autoimmunity and the Removal of Nightshades from Your Diet. I’m still ‘officially’ off nightshades. I use the inverted commas because I’ve discovered that white potatoes – in moderation, at least – seem to be ok for me; and, because I’m pretty sure I’ve inadvertently had the odd nightshade when I’ve been out for a meal.
Nightshades are pretty ubiquitous and most people have no idea what they actually are.
I’m not game to ‘officially’ reintroduce nightshades for two reasons. The first is that Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) sufferers (that’s me!) tend to be particularly sensitive to them; and second, a fellow HS comrade-in-arms recently suggested to me that, when it comes to nightshades, “the dose makes the poison”. So, I’m limiting my nightshade consumption to when I’m not so in control of the ingredients in recipes.
But I miss them. Tomatoes, in particular.
In my past life, I was a lover of ratatouille. In my opinion, the perfect veggie accompaniment. But full of eggplant, capsicum and tomatoes… ALL nightshades.
And, my go-to BEST EVER Ragu Bolognese, like most good Italian meat sauces, has a generous helping of tomatoes. I used to always have a stash of portion-sized ragu in my freezer. The perfect last-minute meal stand-by… But, since going nightshade-free that is no longer an option.
At home, I make a large batch of tomato sauce and freeze it in meal-size portions in freezer bags. (Joe Bastianich)
Well, I’ve decided that I won’t be held prisoner to my tomato-free existence any more. I want to have ragu back in my freezer again – for those nights I just can’t face cooking.
So today, I bring you my tomato passata replacement. This is the jar of goodness that you use when a recipe calls for tinned tomatoes. It’s 100% AIP-friendly. It tastes good and it’s good for you.
This recipe makes a generous amount of passata replacement. One of the biggest challenges on the autoimmune protocol is the need to plan ahead – so, with this recipe, you’ll have extra left over that you can pop into your freezer for the next time a recipe calls for tomatoes, passata or otherwise.
And, it works beautifully with my revised AIP-Friendly, You Won’t Believe Its Tomato-Free Ragu Bolognese.
This baby is made with roasted beetroot and pumpkin. The roasting really brings out the flavour of the vegetables. And, then we add fresh herbs to make the whole thing sing…
- 500g x beetroot (about 3 generous-sized beets)
- 500g x pumpkin (about ⅓ medium-sized pumpkin)
- 1 x onion
- 2 x Tablespoons fat + extra for drizzling (I used coconut oil)
- 1 x generous handful flat leaf parsley
- 1 x generous handful fresh basil
- 2 x cloves garlic
- 500mls x water
- Heat your oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Slice off any beetroot leaves and give the beets a good scrub under water with a brush. Wrap them individually in foil. Pop into a roasting dish.
- Slice the pumpkin into two. Drizzle with a little fat. Add to the roasting dish.
- Roast until cooked – about 60 minutes. I check every 20 minutes and test with a sharp knife.
- Let the beetroot and pumpkin cool on the bench. Once cool enough to handle, peel the beets (I use plastic gloves to prevent my hands from staining) and remove the pumpkin skin.
- Peel and finely dice your onion. In a large-ish pot, heat your fat over a medium-low flame. Add the onion and sauté gently until translucent.
- While the onion is cooking, pop your beetroot, pumpkin, parsley, basil and garlic into the bowl of your food processor. Blend thoroughly until smooth.
- Add your pureed vegetables to the sautéed onions. Stir.
- Add water and stir until smooth. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Check for seasoning and salt to your taste.
E N J O Y !
This recipe features in the Phoenix Helix Recipe Roundtable