But I’m not going to spend a lot of time explaining my absence- life has been hectic and we’ve had a lot to contend with, but summer is here and I wanted to share a quick nomato sauce recipe with you all. I’m actually putting together a full lasagna with this beautiful creamy sauce and a healthy helping of my dairy free zucchini cheese (made with that club… er giant zucchini below). The whole lasagna won’t be nightshade free, but if you leave out the eggplant and bell peppers, you won’t be missing anything, so don’t write this one off on that account.
The nomato sauce was fast and easy and it’s so tasty so without further ado here’s a recipe for you!
- 4 medium beets (see note at the end of the recipe if you’re working on cutting carbs and don’t think you should use this many root veggies in one go)
- 3 large or 5 small carrots
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2-3 tsp mushroom powder (or substitute a few strong flavored mushrooms such as shitake or portobello)
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 small onion
- 4-5 cloves of garlic (more to taste
- 1 small bunch of basil
- 1-2 tsps Italian seasoning
- 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 oz dairy and nut free pesto (if you’re good with nuts and dairy, regular is fine too)
- nutritional yeast to taste
- salt to taste
I started with a small onion and a few cloves of garlic sauteed in some extra virgin olive oil. I wanted to really infuse the sauce with the flavors that we know and love in lasagna and all Italian style dishes. I added a small amount of basil, roughly 2 oz of dairy and nut free pesto (from a local farm, but this recipe looks to be a fair substitute) and stirred that all up over low heat. My husband was in love with just that (and so happy when I told him this meal was for us).
While that was sauteeing, I steamed the beets, carrots, and zucchini (and you would add mushrooms here if you’re using fresh) in the chicken broth until soft. The mushrooms add an umami flavor that is missing without the tomatoes and you’ll be happy you used them, even if you don’t normally like mushrooms. Once they’re done, I threw them all in the blender, added a bit of salt and the apple cider vinegar, and pureed til smooth. Once that was mixed well, I poured it into the sauteed onion and spice mixture and let it simmer over very low heat. I added nutritional yeast to taste along with salt and called it good. (And when I say to taste, I probably added 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast).
Once this was all done, I browned some ground beef with salt and pepper and mixed it all together for a meat sauce and let it simmer some more to blend all the flavors and cook it down a bit.
To complete my lasagna I layered 2 thinly sliced medium zucchini and 2 thinly sliced medium eggplants (could use 4 zucchini here and skip the eggplant if you’re nightshade free) in a casserole dish and alternated with veggie slice layers, sauce, and slices of my dairy free cheese. To dry the zucchini and eggplant out a bit prior to layering, I brined them in salt water for about 10 minutes and then sauteed them. Baking time should be shorter since you’re not cooking noodles and you’re precooking your zucchini. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes and then enjoy!
A few notes on beets. Different colors are more or less sweet. For a good balance, I often like to mix golden and red beets evenly when possible. For a sweeter sauce use all red like I did in this recipe. For a slightly more savory you can mix Chioggia and yellow. Adding in cauliflower in place of some of the beets can also cut the sweetness a bit if you’re watching your carbohydrate intake (and beets are definitely on the sweet side so if that’s a concern for you, using 2 beets and a cup or so of cauliflower florets plus the carrots and zucchini is definitely a good alternative).