AIP-Friendly Paleo ‘No’mato Sauce

In celebration of me actually finding out what the hell AIP (Auto-Immune Protocol) is, I’ve gone AIP-crazy! Last week I posted an AIP-Friendly Paleo Steakhouse Baked ‘No’tato Soup that was out of this world. So, this week, I decided to create the mother of all nightshade-bombs… TOMATO SAUCE – without the tomatoes, of course. If you didn’t think it was possible, think again!

Beets & carrots take the stage in this ‘no’mato sauce, but, I promise all my beet-haters, you canNOT taste the beets. My boyfriend had some of this and just assumed it was spaghetti sauce… WIN! Anyone who knows of my boyfriend’s infantile & Americanized (sorry, BB) palate, knows that if he can’t tell a difference, it must taste okay.

To be honest, I’m not even a huge spaghetti/tomato sauce fan, but, after attending many-a-gathering at Stacy & Matt of Paleo Parents’ house, (and pretty much always bringing something NOT AIP-compliant) I always felt guilty because Stacy couldn’t eat the dishes I brought! I immediately researched AIP, found out what exactly nightshades were, what was considered “inflammatory” and what wasn’t (to be even more honest, the lists were quite exhausting), and took to the task of creating some alternatively-delicious dishes! Final thoughts? To all my AIP-ers:  M A D  R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Even if you don’t follow the auto-immune protocol and are simply looking for a way to use up some vegetables, this recipe is for you! Serve it to your family without telling them what it is and I promise they won’t even know. ;)




5.0 from 10 reviews
AIP-Friendly Paleo ‘No’mato Sauce
Nomato Sauce - 1st Cook (first 30 mins):
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups diced carrots (about 5 carrots)
  • 2 cups diced celery (about 4 stalks)
  • 1-1/2 cups diced roasted/cooked beets
  • 1-1/2 cups diced onion (about 1 large onion)
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms (about 4 oz. baby bella or button)
  • 2-1/4 cups water
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp lightly packed fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp dried basil
  • ¾ tsp each dried oregano & marjoram
  • 1-1/2 tsp + 1 tsp sea salt, divided
Nomato Sauce - 2nd Cook (last 30 mins):
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp honey
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (about 4 oz. baby bella or button)
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded
  • sea salt, to taste
  • beet powder (totally optional - just for deeper/richer color)
  1. Heat olive oil in dutch oven over med high heat. Saute carrots, celery, onion, and bay leaves with 1 tsp salt for 12 mins, stirring frequently until onions are translucent.
  2. Add beets, diced mushrooms, herbs, and garlic. Saute 1 min until fragrant, then, immediately add ¼ cup vinegar, 2-1/4 cups water, and 1-1/2 tsp salt.
  3. Once boiling, cover & reduce to med low. Simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
  4. After 30 mins, remove bay leaves & puree thoroughly with hand blender OR in food processor/blender to desired consistency.
  5. Place nomato puree, 2 cups water, 2-1/2 tbsp vinegar, ½ tsp honey, 1 bunch chiffonaded fresh basil, and 1 cup sliced mushrooms back over med low heat for another 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
  6. Season as needed and serve with fresh basil leaves over zucchini noodles. Feel free to add freshly grated pecorino or parmigianno if you tolerate it.
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Blogger at Merit + Fork
Chef de Cuisine of Merit + Fork, Nicole's posts are primarily food driven, with a dash of natural health and beauty tips for good measure.


  • Rose

    08.10.2019 at 02:21 Reply

    This sauce is rich and thick with a perfect combination of herbs. I sub’d beef and vegetable broth for the water, because I had them. I used a bit of white vinegar and apple cider vinegar instead of the rice wine vinegars because I don’t have those. No extra mushrooms for 2nd cooking, and the taste was still awesome. This recipe lends itself very well to adjustment and substitution. I added bits of cooked uncured bacon and browned ground beef in the second cooking. Had this over spaghetti squash and it satisfied my bolognese craving.
    Agree with another fan that the sauce itself doesn’t need a 2nd cooking; it’s perfect after pureeing. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

  • george basden

    15.08.2019 at 23:11 Reply

    What is the lifespan of your tomato less sauce?

  • Liz Campbell

    15.03.2019 at 01:08 Reply

    This is a delicious sauce. I use this as a base for all kinds of AIP recipes, as well as a pasta sauce and dipping sauce.
    Thank you so much for sharing it.

  • Michal Munkeby

    27.01.2019 at 16:02 Reply

    Do you cook the beets before adding them to the recipe?

  • Melissa

    06.01.2019 at 00:03 Reply

    I’m 3 mo pregnant and can’t have anything with cooked tomatoes so I’m majorly missing pasta dishes! I also can’t have any garlic or onions right now…will it taste totally off if I omit those?

    • Louise Gagne

      21.01.2019 at 11:33 Reply

      Do you tolerate kalamata or black olives? If so add a handful of them to your sauce before pureeing – that will give it a boost!

  • Uche Okoro

    30.09.2018 at 10:55 Reply

    This is the best sauce ever I have tasted! So full of flavour! Just couldn’t get past how delicious it was! Husband non Aip loved it! Thank you so much for sharing. I think I prefer the recipe on step one. It had more flavour than when I added more water to step two! But lovely all the same!

  • Mary ann

    08.04.2018 at 09:17 Reply

    Can u use apple cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar?

  • Marie-Josée

    21.01.2018 at 19:10 Reply

    Loved this recicpe! I didn’t twice back it and it turned out wonderful. Thank you for sharing this gem with the blogosphere!/

  • Bea

    18.01.2018 at 11:10 Reply

    I’ve just made my first ever batch of this and oh my gosh it’s incredible!! I cannot wait for dinner time!
    As someone who is just embarking on an AIP diet in order to soothe my severe and debilitating eczema after years of unsuccessful hospital treatments, this recipe has made me realise that my food doesn’t have to taste bad and I don’t have to completely avoid dishes I used to cook, I now just have a substitution!

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!!

    • Hazel

      22.12.2018 at 10:54 Reply

      How’s your eczema now? Embarking on AIP next week to hopefully help mine.

  • Susan

    09.11.2017 at 16:45 Reply

    Hi! This looks so amazing, but I can’t eat mushrooms. Another substitution…meat perhaps? Any suggestions would be appreciated, I want to try this soon! Thank you!

  • Hethyr

    25.10.2017 at 07:26 Reply

    This is amazing. I’m a personal chef and was totally skeptical about a “tomato” sauce with no tomatoes. However, this is so good, I managed to trick my Italian family. They had no idea there were no tomatoes. :)

  • Kristine

    25.09.2017 at 22:23 Reply

    What do you eat with this? It would be nice to save a little money and not have meat one night with AIP a week. But I would be afraid of low blood sugar. Thanks!

    • Karen

      17.10.2017 at 08:32 Reply

      We eat this on zucchini “noodles”. Zucchini cut with a spiralizer then quickly cooked in a little olive oil.. Or spaghetti squash.

  • Tina mitchell

    01.09.2017 at 21:06 Reply

    We just had this tonight. I was sooo pleased. THANK YOU FOR CREATING THIS RECIPE!

  • Christine Beichner

    16.08.2017 at 20:51 Reply

    I haven’t been able to eat anything tomato based since getting pregnant without feeling ill (and boy have I missed pizza, pasta sauce, and ketchup im the last four months!) However, this sauce has changed all that! It’s AMAZING! My husband couldn’t tell the difference! I used a bit less vinegar and chicken stock instead of water. But other than those two changes, I followed it exactly and it was perfect! I can’t wait to try it tomorrow as a pizza sauce base.

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  • Claire

    09.04.2017 at 22:27 Reply

    Just made this sauce and it’s really yum. I can definitely see this as a replacement for a bolognaise. I made it to freeze in portions so my fingers are crossed that it is fine to freeze. I might even use it to replace the tomato element in my Osso bucco. Now that would be awesome. Thanks for a fantastic recipe.

  • Jana

    09.03.2017 at 11:30 Reply

    I have a histamine intolerance and can’t have carrots or mushrooms. Do you have any substitution suggestions?

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  • Aubrey

    31.12.2016 at 02:08 Reply

    My husband is sensitive to nightshades, and I must admit that tomato is the toughest to cut out of our food. I am excited to give this a try!!!

  • Lindsey

    17.12.2016 at 14:20 Reply

    How long will this keep in the fridge? Could I freeze it?

  • Jessica

    14.09.2016 at 02:51 Reply

    Ohmygosh- why hasn’t anyone commented on how awesome this is?! This sauce is UH-MAZING. You can’t tell its nomato. It’s good with pasta stuffs and as pizza sauce. Total family favorite! Thank you!

  • Colleen

    20.02.2015 at 06:00 Reply

    I have been looking for a non-tomato pasta sauce for ages now. I have some questions – I can’t have beetroot or mushrooms are there any substitutions you could recommend? Also, will this recipe be ok to freeze? Many thanks :)

  • Melinda M

    17.02.2015 at 22:47 Reply

    How can there be no comments on this post? I just made the recipe and it is AMAZING! My non paleo husband merrily ate this and was like: wow what did you put in that tomato sauce. I was like: Nah, it’s no-mato!
    Seriously delicious. This will easily become a staple in our house. Thumbs up!

    • Nicole

      19.02.2015 at 11:49 Reply

      Oh my gosh, YAY! I’m not an AIP-er, but, some other nomato sauce recipes I’ve seen look very much not like tomato sauce, haha. I wanted to make something that looked & tasted as close to the original as possible, so, it’s really awesome to hear you guys enjoyed it!!

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