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Nightshade-free Pasta Sauce

February 26, 2015 (Updated: October 8, 2018)
Lily Moran

Serves 4 cups

Total Time:

One common cause of joint pain is eating nightshades: tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers, etc. If you’re having problems with your joints, but spaghetti is a staple food for you, this is a great alternative. Beets, pumpkins, and carrots are all high in beta carotene and other antioxidants. In addition, making your own pasta sauce lets you avoid the added salt and sugar you’re likely to get from a jarred marinara sauce. This recipe is appropriate for pasta, pizza, as a base for meat sauce, or any other dish which calls for tomato sauce.

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  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 ½ cups carrots, sliced into rounds
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree*
  • 1 can (8 ounces) beets*

* If you have extra time, you can roast pumpkin and beets instead of using canned.


  1. In a large skillet, use olive oil to sauté onion and dried spices. Stir frequently seven to ten minutes, until onion browns slightly. Add garlic and sauté two more minutes.
  2. Add carrots, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, black pepper, and enough water to cover the carrots.
  3. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer. Simmer thirty minutes, until carrots are soft.
  4. Blend pumpkin, beets, carrots, and liquid until you have a sauce to the chunkiness that you prefer. This can be done in two batches if you prefer.
  5. This makes about four cups of sauce, which can be refrigerated for about two weeks or frozen for about ten months. Reheat quickly, because the beets will turn brown if they’re overcooked.

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