By Hayley Stobbs R.Ac, CNC
The term nightshade describes the alkaloid family of vegetables that contain a phytochemical solanine, within the subset called glycoalkaloids. These chemicals can be irritating and inflammatory to body tissues in certain individuals — ask your health care practitioner to find out more about your constitution and nightshades. Nightshade vegetables, fruits, and herbs, include: eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, goji berry (all), ground cherry aka gooseberry, ashwaganda, garden huckleberries, paprika, pepinos, pimentos, tamarillos, tomatillos.
I knew that beyond my own nightshade sensitivity which leaves me feeling wheezy and achey, others may ask me for a tomato-free sauce recipe. I experimented, over and over, with creating a delicious, nourishing substitute. At first the results were less than satisfying. Too beet-y tasting. Too much vinegar. Too many herbs. A few years later and after refining my skills as a real food cook, I have created a favourite meal prep recipe that I am happy with. For you low-fodmap foodies, this one’s for you too!
Benefits of beet and carrot:
1 cup of beetroot contains 4 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein. Beet is slightly high in sugars, totalling 9 grams per cup and 13 grams of carbohydrate. It is a good source of folate, manganese, vitamin C, iron, and other vitamins and minerals in small amounts.
Beetroot has a neutral thermal effect within the body. It’s sweet flavour enters the heart, liver, and intestine meridians. It tonifies blood and regulates qi circulation.
Carrot is a good source of fiber, vitamin A, C, K, and B vitamins.
According to Chinese medicine food therapy, carrot is warming and sweet, qi tonifying, and regulates qi circulation, heat, toxins, and damp heat. Carrot influences the liver, lung, and spleen meridians.
Ayurvedic medicine recognizes carrot as heating — pacifying kappa and stimulating pitta if eaten in excess. The rough and astringent properties of raw carrots disturb vata although cooked carrots calm data. Carrots soothe the digestive system and aid in detoxification.
According to Ayurveda, beet is sweet, cooling, and pungent. Its pungent property may aggravate pitta if consumed in large amounts — it’s suggested to balance beet with something pitta-pacifying such as cilantro. For both pitta and kapha dosas, consume occasionally.
Eastern nutrition believes that beets aid in building and tonifying blood.
NIGHTSHADE-FREE TOMATO SAUCE
I honestly prefer the taste of night-shade free tomato sauce over the latter. Let me know if you agree! I enjoy making large batches to freeze so that I can thaw a weekly portion for easy meals that include zucchini or cabbage noodles and meat sauce.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yields: 3 1/2 - 4 cups
2 cups carrots, diced
1/2 heaping cup beetroot, fine diced, *see note in directions
½ small red onion
1 celery stick, sliced
1 - 1 1/2 cups water, veggie stock, or bone broth
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1. Prepare vegetables. Keep in mind I occasionally use 3/4 cup beet if the carrot and/or beet (more often beet) look pale in colour, as noticed once cut through, which ensures the ‘tomato’ red colour. Simmer carrots, beet, and optional onion with the ½ cup of water or broth, covered, over medium-low heat for 15 – 20 minutes.
2. Transfer to a high-speed blender with all of the remaining sauce ingredients except for the dried basil and oregano and blend to desired consistency, chunky or smooth.
3. Mix in 1 tablespoon dried basil and oregano but do not blend – blending will alter the colour of the sauce.
4. If you have time, let the marinara refrigerate overnight to infuse the flavours.
5. Portion and freeze in a variety of small sized mason jars. Refrigerate a desired amount to be used within a week.
Use nightshade-free ketchup with protein squares, chicken or white fish, as a side for root vegetable fries, or as a sauce for steamed cabbage. Enjoy!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Yields: 2 – 2 1/2 cups
2 cups carrots, fine dice
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup beetroot, peeled and fine diced
4 – 5 tbsp water
2 tbsp garlic infused oil or avocado oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 – 1 ½ tbsp lemon or lime juice
½ tsp garlic, onion and ginger powder if not using infused oil
1/3 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1. Simmer diced carrots over medium low heat and with the lid slightly ajar for approximately 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has absorbed.
2. Transfer to a blender and blend on high speed with the remaining ingredients until smooth.
3. Pour into small mason jars, refrigerate what you need, and freeze the rest to take out and thaw when needed. Nightshade-free ketchup lasts approximately seven days refrigerated.
If you’re interested in acupuncture and diet therapy I’d be happy to guide you along. Please visit www.vcaspa.com to book online. To learn more about my acupuncture practice, follow @hayley_stobbs on Instagram.
In health & happiness,
Hayley Stobbs R.Ac, CNC
Leggett, Daverick. Helping Ourselves: A Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics. Totnes, England: Meridian Press, 2005.
Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Dietary Wellness, 2nd Ed. New York, NY: Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2003.
Lad, Usha, Dr. Vasant. Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing, 2nd Ed. Albuquerque, New Mexico: The Ayurvedic Press, 1997.