Tomato Free Marinara Sauce

If you literally can’t stomach tomatoes, this tomato free marinara sauce will have you jumping for joy!

tomato free marinara sauce

I over-indulged to such an extent this summer that I set-back my digestive system to where it was before I knew how to heal myself with food. Really… it is still quite unbelievable to me that I could possibly do this to myself after so many years of feeling great.

If you don’t know my story, I’ll back up a bit and give it to you in a nutshell here. I used to have terrible digestive issues. The doctors thought I had ulcerative colitis and I was on a ton of medications. I had to know where every bathroom was at all times and I lived in pain. Fast forward and I went to cooking school and then got my Master’s degree in Oriental medicine and I learned to heal myself — and all of you — with food and herbs. And I’ve been healthy now for at least 10 years.

Can you believe I was able to screw up so badly? I still can’t! But, now that I know what I’m doing, I am able to reverse all of the damage I have done fairly quickly. It’s been about 3 weeks so far and I am already feeling pretty awesome — not perfect yet but close.

One of the foreign symptoms I started experiencing is acid reflux. This was a new one for me, so I used it as a learning experience. I can now say that if someone asks me what to do for acid reflux, I can help. A lot.

As part of my experimentation on myself, I created a bunch of digestive and acid friendly recipes. This is one of the recipes I’ve been making. I wish I could take credit for the creation of this genius Tomato Free Marinara Sauce, but all of the credit goes to Bethany at Lil Sipper. It really is the most creative and genius recipe I’ve seen. And it’s only got a few ingredients. And the blender does all of the work.

I put this sauce on chickpea pasta and I loved it. It honestly tastes like traditional marinara sauce. Then came the test. I served it to Steve and watched for a reaction. He ate the whole bowl and had no idea it wasn’t a tomato-based sauce. That’s a win!

So, what’s in this magic Tomato Free Marinara Sauce you ask? Okay, I’ll tell you: the base is made of beets and canned pumpkin and bone broth. Just scroll down for the complete recipe. By the way, bone broth is great for so many things, so I’ve been replacing my traditional stocks and broths with bone broth in every recipe I can! And then we add the seasonings (and it’s the seasonings that give it the traditional marinara taste). But that’s it. Really… I can’t get over how magical this is.

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All of my rambling aside, you really can heal your digestive system by being creative with foods. This Tomato Free Marinara Sauce is a perfect example of the phenomenal rewards you can reap when you are willing to give some out-of-the-box ideas a try. So……. are you ready to try?

tomato free marinara sauce

Here are some of the great healing ingredients in this Tomato Free Marinara Sauce:

Beets are SO good for you. I try to find ways to fit them into my meals as much as possible. Really… many times a week. Beets nourish blood and tonify the heart. Athletes are starting to drink beet juice as a form of endurance therapy. They are anti-carcinogenic, good for anemia, and relieve constipation. I also think it’s a great idea to eat them raw sometimes because their amazing goodness is even more pumped up this way.

Pumpkin can help reduce pain and fever and can soothe stomach irritations. It’s a great food to treat constipation, allergies and asthma. It’s high in vitamin A and can help protect your lungs and intestines from cancer.

Bone broth heals your digestive system. It is filled with collagen and gelatin. Both of these substances, when slowly heated for an extended period of time, have been shown to actually heal your gut lining. The glucosamine in bone broth can reduce inflammation throughout your body and it can also strengthen your bones. When you add bone broth to your diet, you are able to reduce inflammation in your joints, so your knees, elbows, shoulders, hips, wrists, etc. will start to feel less stiff. You will even start to reduce the pain in your joints with this addition to your lifestyle. It’s also great for your skin!

tomato free marinara sauce

Tomato Free Marinara Sauce
Recipe type: pasta, paleo, digestive health, comfort food
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: Lil Sipper
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
If tomatoes don't work for your digestion, this tomato free marinara sauce recipe is a must for you! It's so delicious and so simple... and it tastes like the real thing!
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 baby beets (cooked) (I used store-bought pre-cooked beets)
  • ½ cup bone broth (I used chicken but you can use any flavor you like)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • generous amount of sea salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 lb pasta, cooked al dente (I usedgrain-free chickpea pasta by Banza)
  1. Put the pumpkin, beets, and bone broth into your blender.
  2. Whiz it up until it's smooth and creamy.
  3. Stir in the oregano, basil, and salt.
  4. Note: add in a little salt, stir, and taste. Then keep repeating until it tastes good to you. I found it needed more salt than I usually use.
  5. Toss your pasta with as much sauce as you like.
  6. Enjoy!

tomato free marinara sauce

Paleo Pasta Carbonara

I just had to have a big bowl of pasta today… so I made this awesome Paleo Pasta Carbonara. And I ate way too much of it…

paleo pasta carbonara

I really did eat way too much. But, if I’m being honest, I can’t remember the last time I was dainty and restrained when there was a big bowl of steaming pasta in front of me. Ever since I found some grain-free pastas that I love, that actually taste and feel like real pasta, I’ve been creating these awesome pasta dishes whenever I want something fast and delicious.

Pasta carbonara is Italian comfort food at its best. It’s pasta with bacon and eggs… sooooo good! I remember this dish from when I was a child — the creamy sauce, the crispy, salty bacon, and of course, the perfectly cooked al dente pasta. This recipe recreates all of those amazing tastes and has all of the feels of that traditional dish.

And, by the way, by using grain-free pasta and whole eggs you are really putting your body in peak healing mode. For example, here’s why everyone loves eggs and you should too.

It’s important to remember (and I really do have to keep reminding myself…) that these paleo pastas are often protein based so there’s no need to eat such a huge amount. In fact, it’s better not to eat so much. I mean, when you are eating a pasta made out of beans or chick peas, you really feel better not eating the entire package. If I would just give myself a chance to digest before I shoveled this whole beautiful bowl of mouth watering paleo pasta carbonara into my gaping mouth, then my brain and my stomach would realize that I am satisfied after eating only a normal size portion. Ugh… when will I learn?

One of my all-time favorite things to do is to take a traditional comfort food and tweak it so that it meets my nutritional needs and becomes a healing meal. Yeah, I know, this doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing to a lot of you, but this really is what floats my boat. This recipe is healing, it’s dairy-free, it’s grain-free, and it’s delicious. Oh, and you can easily make this vegetarian (I’ve done this many times when I’m in a veggie phase) by using mushrooms or coconut bacon or vegan sausage in place of the pancetta.

I’m on a really big customized-recipe-creation kick right now… let me customize a recipe for you that will work for whatever’s going on in your body now… I’m such a geek that I really do get excited about doing this. I’ve got a soup with your name on it…  So CLICK HEREto be taken directly into my calendar to sign up for your free phone consultation.

I also get tremendous joy from creating a healthy recipe that my family actually loves. Because, let’s face it, my son, who is a great cook, doesn’t always go for what he terms my “voodoo foods”. So, last week when he Face-Timed me and he made paleo pasta carbonara, I was so happy. And, if it’s good enough for a 20-something Taco Bell lover, then it’s good enough for everyone — even the picky eaters in your family.

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When you decide you love paleo pastas as much as I do, you should also try my recipe for Creamy Mint Avocado Pasta.

paleo pasta carbonara

paleo pasta carbonara

Here are some of the awesome healing ingredients in this recipe for paleo pasta carbonara:

Chickpeas actually help calm the spirit. They relieve anxiety and soothe irritability… it kind of makes you realize why hummus is so popular… I used a chickpea penne for this recipe and it was awesome!

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

I am a big proponent of eating the whole egg. So many of the nutrients and the taste are in the yolk; I’ll never understand separating nature’s perfect food. Eggs help with many types of dryness in the body. If you have a dry cough or a frog-in-your-throat, try eating some eggs. They have also been shown to help women with various conditions during and after pregnancy. Some people consider eggs to be a superfood. They contain a large amount of vitamins A and B and are a great source of protein. Eggs sometimes get a bad rap because of cholesterol, but it’s been shown that in 70% of people, eggs do not raise cholesterol, so don’t assume they are bad for you. Buy organic eggs and you are really doing the right thing.

Green peas are good for the digestion, especially if you are feeling constipated. In the olden days, people used to drink pea juice with their meals to avoid indigestion.

paleo pasta carbonara

Paleo Pasta Carbonara
Recipe type: paleo, comfort food, grain-free, dairy-free
Cuisine: pasta, Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
If you love pasta as much as I do, then you have to try this healing paleo pasta carbonara. This is so comforting, really easy to make, and it's so delicious that even picky eaters love it.
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. diced pancetta
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 8 oz grain-free pasta (I used this chickpea pasta)
  • ⅓ cup shredded vegan Parmesan cheese
  • ½ lb green peas
  • black pepper, to taste
  1. Cook the pasta, al dente. Save about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before you drain it.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet and add the pancetta.
  3. Stir in the shallot and garlic.
  4. Saute, stirring, until the pancetta starts to get a bit crispy.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and white wine.
  6. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the pancetta.
  7. Stir in the egg mixture, Parmesan, and green peas.
  8. Add as much of the reserved pasta cooking liquid as you need to make the sauce the consistency that you like.
  9. Season with black pepper.
  10. Enjoy!

paleo pasta carbonara

Creamy Vegan Baked Pumpkin Pasta

creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta

It’s pumpkin season! I know everyone gets so excited to go out and grab their pumpkin lattes, but not me. Don’t get me wrong — I love all things pumpkin too, but give me pumpkin comfort foods and I am the happiest ever. And this creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta blows your favorite pumpkin latte out of the water.

I never met a pasta I didn’t like. Especially a creamy pasta. Add in the fact that this is a hot and comfy baked pasta dish with a great crumb-topping, and you’ve got me drooling. So, when I saw a recipe for a baked pumpkin pasta by the amazing and inspiring Candice Kumai, I had to go for it.

What’s better than eating a delicious dinner with pumpkin in it while looking outside at the beautiful fall foliage? Nothing! Come on, look outside. Watch the leaves blowing around, smell the smells of fireplaces, open the windows and feel the slight chill in the air. Come on, do it. I live in the middle of the city, and I still open my windows and experience the wonder that is fall. Now, if I could figure out what kind of music to play while I’m cooking up all of this pumpkiny goodness… You know, winter is Christmas music in my kitchen. Summer is beachy music. But what’s fall? Hmmm… I’m open to suggestions…

I’ve made many pumpkin pasta dishes. Some of them end up looking like macaroni and cheese. Nothing wrong with that look… But, I’ve made the mistake of calling them something like pumpkin mac & cheese. This is a mistake, because it almost always disappoints the person I’m feeding, because while pumpkin pasta may look like mac and cheese, it doesn’t taste like it. But, pumpkin pasta is awesome. Especially this one… it’s creamy and pumpkiny and decadent tasting. I make mine with grain-free pasta and it is spectacular. I guess you get the point. I really think you should make this creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta.

For another delicious creamy vegan pasta dish, try my recipe for Creamy Mint Avocado Pasta.

creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta

creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta

Look at some of the healing ingredients in this awesome creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta dish:

Pumpkin can help reduce pain and fever and can soothe stomach irritations. It’s a great food to treat constipation, allergies and asthma. It’s high in vitamin A and can help protect your lungs and intestines from cancer.

n Asian medicine, we use coconut to strengthen the body, reduce swelling, and stop bleeding. Coconut kills viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It’s good for all types of infections and viruses in the body, including the flu, bronchitis, tapeworms, urinary tract infections, and herpes. And perhaps most importantly, it helps you keep your mind sharp and it makes it easier for you to focus. I like to use full-fat canned coconut milk for this pasta.

Kale is everywhere these days. It is extremely nutritious, and because it to so popular you can find it already washed and prepared in lots of markets. Make sure you clean the kale leaves thoroughly and remove the center thick stems if they bother you (I don’t like to eat these think stems). This dark leafy green is a great source of fiber and calcium. It’s also rich in many minerals, including magnesium, iron and potassium. One serving contains 200% of the daily requirements of Vitamin C and 180% of Vitamin A.

Turmeric is actually a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric. I only used a little bit of turmeric in this pasta, so you don’t really taste it… but feel free to use as much as you like!

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

Nutritional yeast gives things a cheese-y taste without using any dairy and it adds amino acids and Vitamin B, iron, zinc, and selenium to your diet. Nutritional yeast is a complete protein and also contains fiber, so it’s a really good thing!

creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta

Creamy Vegan Baked Pumpkin Pasta
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
This is comfort food at it's most delicious. This healing vegan baked pasta is warming, delicious, simple, gooey, and just plain awesome.
  • 1 lb pasta of your choice (I used a grain free pasta)
  • 1-1/4 cups full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 15 oz can pure pumpkin (I buy them by the case)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • leaves of 3 thyme sprigs
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil (for greasing the pan)
  • For crumb topping:
  • 1 cup crumbs of choice (I used chickpea crumbs)
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp dried minced onion flakes
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup chopped lacinto/dinosaur kale
  • ¼ cup vegan parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Grease a large square or rectangle baking pan with oil.
  3. Cook your pasta al dente, drain well, and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Place the coconut milk, pumpkin, turmeric, thyme, garlic, and salt and pepper into the blender. I used my Vitamix. You can make this in a regular blender, but it make take a little time -- make sure you blend until very creamy and smooth.
  5. Stir the sauce into the pasta, and pour the mixture into the greased baking dish.
  6. Bake 30 minutes, then remove the pasta and switch the oven to the Broil setting.
  7. Make the crumb topping: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  8. After 30 minutes in the oven, spread the crumb mixture all over the top of the pasta and broil for a few minutes, until the crumbs start to turn brown. Watch it carefully -- no burning allowed!
  9. Enjoy!

creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta

Creamy Mint Avocado Pasta

Avocados are good for hot flashes!
creamy mint avocado pasta

I’m going to be honest: most of my life I was not a big mint fan. I could never understand how people liked mint chocolate chip ice cream so much — to me, the mint ruined the deliciousness of the chocolate chip. Mint tea?… ewww…. And, I would always choose any other candy over the pretty red and white candy canes of winter. Funny how things change. And boy have they ever! Mint is awesome! And it’s recipes like this creamy mint avocado pasta that make me wonder what was wrong with me all of those years ago…

When I first started studying Chinese medicine and I fell so in love with all of the herbs, Mint (Bo He) quickly became a go-to healing herb for me. It is amazing in it’s abilities to fight colds, boost the immune system, and settle your stomach. But, it wasn’t until I started experimenting by adding mint to my recipes, that a true love affair bloomed.

A few weeks ago, one of my neighbors asked me if I wanted some fresh mint from her garden. Well, duh… of course I did. So I gratefully took a whole bag-full, and made tea and chocolate mint shakes, and this awesome pasta sauce. I probably should have shared the big bowl of it that I made but we ate it all before that ever happened. I guess there’s always next time…

So, when I tell you that this creamy mint avocado pasta sauce is amazing, I really mean it. The avocado makes it creamy. The flavor of the mint can be as strong as you like, or it can just peak through. And, if you make this dish with grain-free pasta, it’s one of the healthiest comfort foods around. It’s like happiness in a bowl — ugh, did I really just say that…?

If you are looking for another great pasta sauce, try my recipe for: Chickpea Penne With Arugula Pesto.

creamy mint avocado pasta

creamy mint avocado pasta

Here are some of the healing ingredients in this creamy mint avocado pasta:

Mint is a Chinese herb called Bo He. It’s one of the best things to fight a cold, sore throat, or fever. It’s also good for some abdominal issues too, like bloating, nausea, and some stomach pains. Mint also helps cool of the body in cases of heatstroke, so stock up in summer!

Avocados are one of my favorite foods, both for their health benefits and because they taste great. In Chinese medicine, some practitioners recommend avocados to raise the sperm count. I like them because they are good for anemia, dry skin, palpitations, constipation, and hot flashes due to menopause.

Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc…. In this recipe, the garlic is left raw, so it’s effect and taste is magnified… so don’t use as much as you would if you are making a recipe with cooked garlic.

Limes help to regenerate fluids, so they are great to combat any dehydration symptoms that sometimes can accompany alcohol consumption. They also contain a lot of vitamin C and they can actually help energize you.

creamy mint avocado pasta

Creamy Mint Avocado Pasta
Recipe type: pasta, simple, sauce, vegan, vegetarian, paleo
Cuisine: recipe inspired by: Always Order Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
This pasta sauce is amazing! It's so healthy, and it's raw -- just put the ingredients in your food processor or blender, cook your pasta, and you're ready to go!
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds (you can buy these)
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • 1 lge garlic clove, chopped
  • juice of 1-1/2 limes
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 12-oz pasta of your choice (here's a grain-free one)
  • Vegan parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top (optional)
  1. Cook your pasta according to the package directions, making sure it's al dente.
  2. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, make the sauce by putting all of the remaining ingredients (except Parmesan) into your food processor.
  4. Whiz it up until it's creamy.
  5. Toss the sauce with the pasta.
  6. Sprinkle with Parmesan if you like.
  7. Enjoy!

creamy mint avocado pasta

Roasted Red Pepper Fettuccine

If you are looking for a comforting bowl of pasta, this roasted red pepper fettuccine will really hit the spot!

roasted red pepper fettuccine

I would eat pasta every day if I could.  There’s just something about it that’s so comforting to me. The bite and texture of perfectly cooked home made fettuccine just takes me to an awesome place.  My favorite thing about visiting Italy is all of the amazing and simple pasta dishes… each time I go I dream about them for weeks to come. (And yes, I’m well aware that if this is what’s filling my dreams, I have a bit of a problem.)

For years, since I stopped eating most grains, I felt deprived (cue the sad-face emoji here). But now that I’ve found so many great grain-free pastas, I am doing the happy dance!

The fettuccine I used in this recipe is grain-free. It’s made from almonds (by Cappello’s) and it has the same texture and taste of homemade traditional fettuccine.

I’m a little out of control though. I’m making so many different sauces and condiments to put on my pasta dishes, that my freezer is overflowing and I’ve become a bit of a food pusher to anyone who comes near my kitchen. The sauce for this roasted red pepper fettuccine is so good that the leftover container didn’t even make it to the freezer; I ate it several days in a row. My intention was to use it as a sauce for vegetables during the week, but I ate it on pasta, again. And again.

I am not a big fan of jarred roasted red peppers for this recipe, but it’s so easy to roast your own that you really should do it this way. You can roast them in the oven, or if you have a gas stove, you can just plop the pepper right on the flame like I do.

roasted red pepper fettuccineroasted red pepper fettuccine

This pasta and sauce combination is amazing:

Bell peppers help with indigestion. If you are feeling bloated and full from over-eating a lot lately, consuming bell peppers will help reduce this feeling. They are also good for blood circulation and research has shown that they are good for people with a low appetite or anorexia.

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections. This recipe contains sun dried tomatoes, which have the same great capabilities and also taste amazing!

Basil has anti-viral and anti-bacterial capabilities. It also is good for settling your stomach, and it’s good at lessening the symptoms of the common cold and its accompanying cough. Basil is a spiritual herb — the scent actually calms you; you can boil some in a pot and let the aroma fill the air, you can just leave some around the house, you can toss a bunch in your bath water (I love to do this), or you can use an essential oil with basil to get some great calming effects.

In Asian medicine, nuts are known to be good for your brain, heart, skin and reproductive system. Almonds are particularly nutritious. They are a good source of protein and they give you energy. And, they are gluten-free. Almonds will help relieve a cough and asthma and are also good for constipation. So, if you use a grain-free pasta made from almonds, like I did, you get these amazing nutritional benefits too!

roasted red pepper fettuccine

Roasted Red Pepper Fettuccine
Recipe type: pasta, paleo, grain-free, sauce, vegan, vegetarian
Cuisine: Italian, vegan
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
I used grain-free pasta and tossed it with the most amazing vegan sauce! This is easy, it's delicious, it's healthy... and it makes for awesome leftovers!
  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted (you can do this in the oven or on top of a gas flame) and peeled
  • 10 sun dried tomatoes, not packed in oil (soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes and then drained)
  • 8 large basil leaves
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch of dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 pint multi-colored small tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • about ½ lb of your favorite pasta (try a grain-free one) (I used Cappello's fettuccine)
  • * Note: this recipe makes enough sauce for at least twice as much pasta as indicated, so if you have extra, be sure to store it in the fridge or freezer for another meal!
  1. Put the roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper, oil, and hot red pepper flakes into a blender. Whiz it up until smooth.
  2. Pour the sauce into a pot and place it over medium heat just until very warm.
  3. Cook the pasta al dente.
  4. Drain the pasta and toss it with sauce.
  5. Gently mix in fresh tomatoes and cilantro.
  6. Enjoy!

roasted red pepper fettuccine