I Can't Believe It's Nomato Sauce from He Won't Know It's Paleo

I can’t believe it’s Nomato Sauce

I’ve tried a few “Nomato” Sauces which were decent, but obvious impostors. I wanted a sauce I could serve to my family – and even guests – without anyone questioning whether it was a traditional marinara. None of the ones I tried delivered.

Since Nomato sauces are often based off of beets, and I was trying to hide the fact that this wasn’t a true tomato sauce, I couldn’t keep up the fake-out when I kept getting questions from my confused husband like, “Why are my noodles stained red?” And questions from my own head like, “Can they notice the strong beet taste like I can? Will they, at any minute, ask what the heck is in this?”

I came up with a few alternatives that separate this sauce from the ones I’ve found, but it’s the last one I’m most proud of:

1. The color will be perfectly matched to tomato sauce, and it won’t stain: Boiling the beet first releases much of the red dye, and the beet to carrot ratio make it a perfect orangy-red, and with no purple or maroon hues.
2. It won’t taste like beets: one small boiled beet won’t add a strong flavor – just a well-matched texture and color.
3. But most importantly:  It will have that great tomato zest: I’ve searched high and low on the internet, and no other recipes use this trick. This recipe uses a mix of lemon juice and capers blended directly into the sauce. The combination of these two things gives it a glorious zest that made me smile from ear to ear after sampling!

Whether you have issues with nightshade vegetables, want to get a greater variety of vegetables in your diet, or just want to experiment in the kitchen, this recipe is a great one to try!

Note: I made this the other night and Chris commented, “This is awesome!” To which I responded, “Thanks! I was super excited with how it came out. There aren’t even tomatoes in it!” He was seriously perplexed and (not being a lover of beets or really any non-traditional foods) said, “I don’t think I even want to know. Just let me enjoy it.” Ha!

I can't believe it's Nomato Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Unlike any "Nomato" sauce I've tried, this adds the perfect zest with the addition of lemon juice and blended capers at the end. The color is perfectly matched to traditional tomato sauce as well, so don't worry: you're secret is safe: He won't know it's nomato sauce!
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4-6
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 small-medium red beet, chopped into 1" chunks
  • 1 small-medium yellow onion, dinced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (approximately 16 leaves)
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped (about three large)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp capers
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Nutritional yeast (optional)
  1. Boil beet chunks for 10 minutes, or until just tender enough to push a fork all the way through.
  2. When done, strain beets and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, Saute bacon in large skillet over low-medium heat until cooked through. Set bacon aside on a plate while reserving bacon grease in the pan.
  4. To hot grease, add diced onion and saute for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut bacon into 1" pieces.
  5. Add garlic and saute another 3-4 minutes.
  6. Next, add strained beets, carrots, bacon and to the onion mixture. Saute 5 minutes.
  7. Add chicken stock,salt and oregano. Simmer 10 minutes, partially covered (crack the lid).
  8. Carefully pour entire mixture into food processor. (A Ninja blender works well for this. High speed blenders will work, but the result will be a very baby food-like texture, and not like a traditional marinara sauce.)
  9. Add lemon juice and capers to food processor. Process until smooth and color is red throughout.
  10. Return to skillet, add basil and simmer 5 minutes.
  11. Serve over spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.
  12. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast as a cheesy replacement for Parmesan cheese! (optional)
  13. Tip: Make it a meat sauce by adding a pound of crumbled ground beef and/or pork at the end with the basil. Simmer 10-12 minutes instead of five.

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