Pasta sauces with hidden vegetables, lasagne, chilli and casseroles, the list of dishes that include that cupboard staple, the tin of plum tomatoes, is endless. These are hearty, healthy family meals too and ones that kids will actually eat.
So what do you do when you can’t eat tomatoes?
If tomatoes form the base of the dish, you can’t simply leave them out. Instead, you either avoid these family favourites, or you find an alternative. This comes in the form of nomato sauce, the common name affectionately given to a sauce that looks like tomato puree, but is actually tomato free.
I hunted around for recipes for this sauce and experimented until I found a balance that I liked. This is my recipe. The result is the consistency of tomato puree, so thicker than a tin of tomatoes or carton of passata. I make a batch and freeze small amounts, knowing that I can double the volume of each portion with water, in order to get the correct consistency before use.
15 large or 20 small carrots
1 medium red onion
1 clove of garlic
1 medium or 2 small beetroot
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Vegetable stock – around 750ml or just covering the vegetables
Chop the vegetables and sweat them in a pan, with a little olive oil, for 5 minutes or until beginning to soften.
Add the vegetables stock, herbs and vinegar, then bring to the boil.
Turn down the heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft (around 30 minutes).
Blend until completely smooth. Then leave to cool before dividing into portions for storing or freezing.
This may seem like a lot of carrots, but I find that if you use too much beetroot, you end up with a deep purple, earthy tasting sauce. The carrots balance the beetroot and allow it to colour the sauce to make it look more authentic, without being overpowering to the taste or colour.
I can honestly say that this makes a very good base and no-one has ever noticed the difference.