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Tomato Passata Replacement (AIP-Friendly)

Tomato Free Replacement

Tomato Free Replacement

My Tomato Passata Replacement is the perfect alternative to add to all those recipes that call for tinned tomatoes when tomatoes are off the table…

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 pre-AIP, go-to Ragu Bolognese recipe, 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.

Tomato Passata Replacement

“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…

Tomato Passata Replacement
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Sides & Sauces
Serves: Serves 2-4
  • 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
  • Salt
  1. Heat your oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. 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.
  3. Slice the pumpkin into two. Drizzle with a little fat. Add to the roasting dish.
  4. Roast until cooked – about 60 minutes. I check every 20 minutes and test with a sharp knife.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. While the onion is cooking, pop your beetroot, pumpkin, parsley, basil and garlic into the bowl of your food processor. Blend thoroughly until smooth.
  8. Add your pureed vegetables to the sautéed onions. Stir.
  9. Add water and stir until smooth. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
  10. Check for seasoning and salt to your taste.


E N J O Y !

This recipe features in the Phoenix Helix Recipe Roundtable

 *since penning this post, I have discovered the wonderful Sophie’s No Nightshade Ratatouille. It’s a REVELATION!

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Comments (16)

Hmmmm…would never have picked that as a replacement, was wondering how you would replace tomatoes the whole time I was reading the lead up to the recipe. Well done, I’m sure it tastes good and makes life a little easier when you’re too tired to cook something more complicated 🙂

TBD – the only thing more difficult to give up than tomatoes was coffee. Now that coffee is back on the menu, I REALLY miss tomatoes!

Once upon a time I gave up coffee but it didn’t hurt much because I only ever drank the instant stuff. Now I love a decent coffee and would hate to give it up even though it isn’t always kind to me. Same goes for tomatoes really, you don’t know how much you rely on and enjoy some foods until you have to give them up 🙁

I am going to give this a try. I made one similar that used carrots instead of pumpkin and it was way to sweet for me. I thought about trying pumpkin instead. Roasting the veggies is a great idea.

You are my hero!!! lol I can’t wait to try this!

I won’t be able to find fresh pumpkin this time of year though…do you think a less sweet type of squash might stand in well, or should I go for plain, canned pumpkin?

Hey Cindasana!

I quite fancy being someone’s hero… Bless your cotton socks 🙂

I actually think either option would work. We don’t have canned pumpkin around in this neck of the woods as prevalently (is that a word?) as in the States, and I would always try and go with fresh produce over canned. But that’s just a personal preference!

Good luck!

This was yummy, Joanna! I used this recipe as a base for a chicken bolognese. I was a bit short on time, so I steamed my beets and used canned pumpkin instead. Everyone slurped it up!

Thanks for the feedback, lovely Dora!

I’ve never tried chook bolognese… I may have to experiment!

I notice in all the recipes for a tomato sauce With Out Tomatoes use Beets….WHY? Is it only for the red color. They are soooo sweet, I would like a good TASTING savory sauce instead. Couldn’t you use Jicama or turnips or anything other than beets and just put some red food coloring in to make it Look like a tomato one? Of course, the red coloring is probably not good either for some but it sure seems like it would beat the beet sweet. No pun intended.

Hey Betty – I don’t have a definitive answer for you, I’m afraid. I would say there is definitely an element of ‘beets are red’. Have to say, I really love the earthy flavour they bring.

Of course, beets are the most natural of red food colouring, too.

We don’t have jicama here, but there’s nothing to stop you experimenting!

Hi, This was a good recipe. I think a little less beetroot would improve it for those wanting a more savoury taste (maybe 300g?). Thanks for your recipe.

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