A nightshade-free Bolognese Sauce made in one pot, Paleo, AIP and gluten-free! This meat sauce is made without tomatoes making it a great addition to an anti-inflammatory diet!
While I haven’t been on the AIP elimination diet in years, I still need to avoid large quantities of nightshades (especially tomatoes) to keep inflammation down.
Thankfully, you can still make a delicious, rich and comforting Bolognese Sauce without any tomatoes! I really loaded this sauce down with vegetables like carrots, onion and celery. In place of tomato, I use a can of pumpkin puree. Pumpkin makes an excellent substitute for tomato paste in recipes. Just be sure to add a bit of acid (like the balsamic vinegar in this recipe).
Ingredients for Nightshade-Free Bolognese Sauce:
Mirepoix: Yellow onion, celery and carrots to develop a base flavor
Grassfed ground beef: I would keep it at 85% to 90% lean – no leaner and no fattier
Canned pumpkin puree: To replace the tomato in traditional bolognese and thicken the sauce
Organic red wine: Add depth of flavor and is a traditional ingredient in bolognese. White white can also be used.
Bone broth: Provides richness and the liquid required to simmer for condensed flavor
Fresh and dried herbs like parsley, rosemary and thyme.
Of course you need to serve your Nightshade-Free Bolognese Sauce with a gluten-free pasta that really holds up to this heavier sauce. I prefer a gluten-free rice or quinoa spaghetti for this dish. If you’re grain-free, you can certainly go with spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles (tips below)!
Gluten-Free Pasta Options
Gluten-Free Spaghetti Pasta: my favorite brands are Jovial Foods and Ancient Harvest.
Zoodles: saute or roast at least 6 large spiralized zucchini and toss with olive oil and sea salt.
Spaghetti Squash: slice a large squash in half widthwise, scoop out the seeds, brush with olive oil and roast cut side down on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.
If you’re a lover of Italian and looking for more nightshade-free recipes, try the ones below.
Nightshade-Free Bolognese Sauce
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound carrots, peeled and diced
1 large yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
8 ounces celery, diced
¼ cup finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
3 teaspoons sea salt, divided
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 cup pre-cooked and chopped beets
1 teaspoon cracked pepper, divided
3 cups beef bone broth, divided
1 13.5-ounce can pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 pounds ground beef (85 to 90% lean)
½ cup red or white wine
for serving: zoodles, spaghetti squash or gluten-free pasta, fresh basil, parmesan cheese
- In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat.
- Add carrots, onion and celery to the pot and cook, stirring every few minutes, until tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.
- Add garlic, parsley, marjoram, and 1 teaspoon salt to the pot.
- In a high-speed blender, combine the beets with 1 cup beef broth, pumpkin, balsamic vinegar and 1 cup of the cooked vegetables. Blend until smooth and pureed.
- Add the blended sauce to the pot with the remaining veggies and bring to a simmer.
- As the veggies simmer in the sauce, brown the ground beef. In a large skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and season with the remaining 2 teaspoons salt, fresh thyme and rosemary and remaining ½ teaspoon cracked pepper.
- Brown the beef until cooked through, breaking up with a wooden spoon into small crumbles. Add the wine to the skillet and let simmer for 5 minutes to allow alcohol to evaporate.
- Transfer the beef and any liquid from the skillet to the pot with the remaining 2 cups broth and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 45 to 60 minutes. Keep a close eye on the sauce, stirring to prevent sticking and burning.
- Serve with your choice of zoodles, spaghetti squash or gluten-free pasta topped with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.