10.29.2007

tomatoes are evil

actually, no, they're not, they just make me itch. But this site is hilarious.

On Saturday night I made pasta for me and my mom.

Though this may look like your average italian meal, the marinara sauce is tomato-free. It is delicious and although it takes a bit of time, it's super-easy. Don't be intimidated by the ingredients list - it's mostly spices.

Tomato-Free Marinara Sauce

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 or 1 1/2 lbs carrots (about 7 really big carrots), sliced
1 beet, chopped
3-4 cups water
1 Bay Leaf
2 Tbsp parsley
1-2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp each marjoram, thyme, rosemary (or a tsp of Italian Seasoning)
1/2 cup vinegar (a milder type like red wine or brown rice vinegar works best)
dash of sweetener, if desired
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft. Then add the carrots and the beet. Saute for another minute or two, then add the water and spices. Cook over high eat until it boils, then bring heat down to medium and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the beet and carrots are soft.

Note: The smaller you chop the carrots and beet, the shorter this will cook - if they're really small, boiling for 15 minutes will do, if they're chunkier, you might want to allow up to half an hour for the veggies to be tender.

Once the veggies are soft, remove from heat, and allow 15-20 minutes for it to cool. Pour it all into a blender or food processor (in half-batches, if your blender is small) and puree until it's sauce-y. Return to pan, stir in vinegar. Taste to see if you want a dash of sweetener, more of a certain spice, or salt and pepper (you WILL want the latter two). Reheat before serving, add more water to thin if necessary. Can be used anywhere you'd use normal marinara sauce: pasta, pizza, lasagna, or as a dipping sauce.

(makes enough sauce for 6 servings)

Because this sauce takes a while to make, I made it a couple weeks ago when I had time and froze it. It needed a bit of re-spicing and some more vinegar after it thawed, and since it's a very simple sauce, I add chopped zucchini and mushrooms when I reheated it. More garlic or fresh spices or red wine would jazz it up a bit, too. The sauce is a little different from tomato sauce, but an unsuspecting eater probably wouldn't notice until s/he realized it was staining the pasta pink!

Oh and by way of advice, do not make or eat this dish while wearing pale clothing. Then again, chances are you're a neater eater than me.

Other highlights of having Mom come: we wandered around Harvard Square, where we admired (and purchased) a few yummy-smelling lotions and soaps from Lush. Lush's items are all handmande and their website and catalogs (which are in all the stores) clearly label which products are vegan.

We also spent a lot of time in bookstores (there is a bookstore ENTIRELY DEVOTED TO POETRY there!) and the stationers' before heading over to Veggie Planet for brunch! I had waffles for the first time in YEARS and they were incredible. On the way home from Cambridge we went to the Super 88 Market down the road from me and bought many noodles, soy products and hot sauces, which I'm sure I'll feature here sometime.

a long entry. A good weekend.

22 comments:

bazu said... Best Blogger Tips

I love tomoatoes- in the summer I eat them like apples! But this pasta sauce looks awesome too.

I've been meeting so many people that used to live in Syracuse lately! It definitely is growing in its veg-friendliness, even in the 2-3 years I've been here.

dangerine said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you!!!! My husband and I are both allergic to the evil tomatoes in different ways, and I found your amazing sauce in a google search! Going to try it with canned veggies and the blender to see if I can cut the cooking time down to 5 minutes. Will let you know how it comes out!

Sarah P said... Best Blogger Tips

@dangerine@dangerine, welcome! Tomato-free cooking can be tricky, but it doesn't mean you HAVE to miss out on your favorites. Also check out my entry on how to replace tomatoes in cooking: http://vegetalion.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-to-replace-nightshades-part-4.html

eRiN said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi - do you have any suggestions for a replacement for the beets in this recipe, as well? They're on my no-no list, as well as nightshades. I have been DYING for marinara or red pizza!

Sarah P said... Best Blogger Tips

Erin, just leave out the beet (and maybe cut down the vinegar slightly), or add two to three more carrots. The beet helps the color more than the flavor; I've made this many times with only carrots and it's just as good.

eRiN said... Best Blogger Tips
This comment has been removed by the author.
eRiN said... Best Blogger Tips

Sarah, that is the best news of my life. Thank you!!!

Lora said... Best Blogger Tips

Are the herb measurements for dry or fresh herbs? I bought ingredients yesterday, including dried herbs I didn't already have, and plan to make today. Thanks!

Sarah P said... Best Blogger Tips

@Lora, the herbs in the recipe are dried. I hope it went well!

Sarah P said... Best Blogger Tips

@Lora, the herbs in the recipe are dried. I hope it went well!

Lora Kovaly said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks, Sarah! I didn't end making the marinara sauce until today and I just finished it. Wow, this is really good and tastes amazing like tomato marinara! I'm really surprised. Thanks so much for the recipe!

Tina Thorn said... Best Blogger Tips

I was so happy to find this recipe, until I got to the vinegar, it makes me break out in hives. Any substitution? is it essential to the end product?

Sarah P said... Best Blogger Tips

@Tina Thorn Because tomatoes are so acidic, this recipe needs some acid to avoid being bland. I bet you could use lemon juice instead, though. I'd start with 1/4 cup and then add to taste--otherwise it could get too lemony.

Leslie Lim said... Best Blogger Tips

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Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi, so excited to try this today but do I use raw beetroot or should I cooked it separately first to soften and remove skin? Thanks

Sarah P said... Best Blogger Tips

The beet is raw for this recipe--peel it first, though, as best you can.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

How many carbs are in this sauce?

Julie Burton said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi there
Im on a bit of an experiment to see if the nightshade family foods are the culprit for aggravating my excema really badly so im cutting it all out including dairy. You will understand how this could potentially rule out alot of foods including one of my favorites lasagna. So I would love to make this sauce and use it in a lasagna, OK my question is how big is the beet you used as they tend to vary in size.
Hope you can help
Julie.

Julie Burton said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi there
Im on a bit of an experiment to see if the nightshade family foods are the culprit for aggravating my excema really badly so im cutting it all out including dairy. You will understand how this could potentially rule out alot of foods including one of my favorites lasagna. So I would love to make this sauce and use it in a lasagna, OK my question is how big is the beet you used as they tend to vary in size.
Hope you can help
Julie.

Sarah P said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Julie,

The beet should be about the size of an adult's fist, but a little bigger or smaller won't hurt. If it's a lot bigger, you may need to add more liquid at the end.

Colleen Brand said... Best Blogger Tips

@Sarah P
Do you think that apple cider vinegar would work? I hear that apple cider vinegar is less acidic and one of the reasons that I cannot have tomatoes is due to the acidity. Or, do you have another suggestion?

Sarah P said... Best Blogger Tips

Absolutely! The flavor is a little stronger than the ones I list above, so start with 1/4 cup and then taste to see if you want any more.