Tomato-Free Pasta Sauce

Tomato-Free Pasta Sauce

Nightshade and Tomato-free pasta sauce topped with fresh basil

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Tomatoes are commonly known for causing heartburn, especially for those who deal with symptoms on a regular basis. Some reflux sufferers can tolerate tomatoes in small amounts, but there are a large number that avoid them like the plague, myself included. But it hasn’t always been this way… in fact, your girl is a recovering tomato addict.


Cherry tomatoes were my absolute favorite snack growing up. Some of my favorite memories from growing up are helping my grandma in her garden… both for the quality time that I got with her and the fact that she let me stuff my pockets full of baby tomatoes.


Years later after being diagnosed with GERD, I was faced with a number of decisions relating to my diet –  which meant having to part with one of the foods that I grew up loving (along with many others). But one thing that made the process of cutting ties with these foods a little easier was shifting my focus on the foods that don’t cause me pain– taking dishes that I love and replacing ingredients, or modifying them in a way that works for me and my body.


And so this delicious sauce was born.


Bowl of tomatoless sauce topped with fresh basil leaves



Tomato-less. Packed with nutrients. Bursting with flavor.


Hiatal Health for Heartburn and Acid Reflux Ad



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Bowl of tomatoless sauce topped with fresh basil leaves

Tomato-Free Pasta Sauce

  • Author: Chaunte Truelsen
  • Yield: 3 1/2 cups total; 7 servings 1x


A rich and delicious alternative to tomato sauce that’s packed with nutrients and flavor!



  • 3 medium celery stalks 
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled
  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1 medium beet
  • 1/2 a small-medium turnip, peeled
  • 2 cups of bone or vegetable broth (or more as needed)
  • 710 fresh basil leaves
  • 34 tbsp of grapeseed oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp each of garlic powder and onion powder (omit if unable to tolerate)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 tsp of salt to add to sauce, plus a little more to season vegetables while cooking
  • pepper to taste


  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2.  Prep vegetables: Peel the carrots and turnip. Cut the leafy tops close to the top of the beet, and trim the ends off of the zucchini, celery, carrots and turnip. Cut vegetables (except beet) into two-inch chunks. Since we will only be using half of the turnip in this recipe, you can either cook all of the turnip or set the raw half that won’t be used aside for use in other meals. Another option is doubling the recipe. Don’t bother peeling the beet, as the skin is very tough to peel when raw. Peel it once it is cooked and slightly cooled.
  3.  Spread the cut up zucchini, carrots, celery, turnip and out onto a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 2-3 tbsps of grapeseed or olive oil and sprinkle with desired amount of salt and pepper, then cover using parchment paper, tucking it snugly underneath.
  4.  Wash the beet using a vegetable brush, then pat dry. Place in a baking dish lined with parchment paper and drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Cover using parchment paper, tucking the ends underneath.
  5.  Place vegetables in preheated oven and cook until they are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Stir the carrots, zucchini, celery, and turnip occasionally while cooking.
  6.  Once the beet is done cooking, let it cool slightly. Once cool, submerge it in a bowl of cold water and peel off the outer layer. Cut it in half and place that half in a high-speed blender or food processor. Feel free to add more if you want a deeper red color (keep in mind this will add a more earthy flavor to the sauce). Save the leftover beet for salads or other meals.
  7.  Add the remaining cooked vegetables, broth, and fresh basil to the blender. Process until you have a smooth consistency. Add the blended liquid to a saucepan along with the oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium-low for 4-5 minutes while stirring. Add more broth as needed for a thinner consistency.
  8.  Remove from heat and serve with pasta or use as tomato/marinara sauce replacement.


 Approx. 4 FPs per servingFP stands for Fermentation Potential and is used to determine the symptom potential in foods for those using the Fast Tract Diet to heal/improve symptoms of GERD, LPR, SIBO, IBS, etc.

This recipe is freezer friendly! I like to freeze the sauce in containers, as well as ice cube trays. After freezing in an ice cube tray, I put the cubes in a resealable bag and use as needed for future meals.

Even though I only use half of the beet in this recipe, I cook it whole because it is a lot easier to cut and peel when it is cooked. You can double the recipe to use the whole beet or save the leftover cooked beet for salads or other meals.

  • Category: Soups & Purées

Keywords: nomato, tomato-free, nightshade-free

Tomato-free pasta sauce topped with fresh basil


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59 thoughts on “Tomato-Free Pasta Sauce”

  • About how big a beet? The ones I see in the store seem so small. (I’m not used to cooking with beets, nor turnips, so I’m not sure what’s an average size).

    • Hi, Rhonda! I roasted a medium sized beet and used half of it when blending the sauce. If all you can find are small beets, just add half of a cooked beet when blending the sauce and increase the amount you add if you want a stronger beet flavor. I mainly used beet it in this recipe to get the bright red color, so adjust the amount of beet you add to suit your preference. Hope you love it as much as I do!

  • I used ur recipe as inspiration to create a GIRD approved sweet potato based pizza sauce but I’m curious to know what GIRD Diet your following because I know garlic & onions aren’t allowed in MINE OR ANY of the GIRD diets I know about?

    • That sounds amazing, thanks so much for sharing! I have been able to manage 90% of my symptoms following the Fast Tract Diet. The diet involves limiting carbohydrates that ferment in the stomach. I don’t consume whole garlic or onion, but I (and many others with GERD that I know) can tolerate powdered garlic/onion since it is easier to digest. 🙂 I hope this helps!

  • Hi, Chaunte!
    My GERD is a bit different. I can have onions and garlic as long as they are cooked. Fresh tomatoes are fine, it’s canned tomatoes that get me because of the citric acid. I get around this by using sugar to cut the acidity (artificial sugar). There is a point where I know that I’ve gotten it right, and I’m able to cook and eat them with no problem. Products with citric acid like jams, jellies, and other packaged items that you’d be surprised at , as well as chocolate- you know the general list, I have had to let go. I have found that each is different and what we can tolerate is different. I have cousin who can still eat oranges , I can’t.

    I am glad to have found your site. Am always looking g to find new and healthy ways to deal, and still be able to enjoy through eating.


  • My boyfriend has terrible GERD and hadn’t been able to have spaghetti and meatballs in years. We made this recipe and it was delicious! Have no idea how it tastes so much like a tomato sauce, but no complaints. Thanks!

      • I’m going to make this tomorrow, fingers crossed I can do it right! Thank you SO MUCH for this recipe. Red sauce is one of my favorite things, ever but it aggravates my GERD so much. Thank you for posting this alternative! I’m going to check out your other recipes now.

    • Absolutely! You can freeze in ziplocks and lay flat in the freezer for easy storage, or I also like to freeze the sauce using an ice cube tray. That way if I only need a little bit for a recipe, it’s already frozen into smaller portions.

    • Roasting vegetables does yield in a richer flavor in general. I haven’t tried this recipe with canned or frozen beets before, but I would love to know how it turns out if you end up trying it that way!

  • I tried making this recipe and the texture and sauce taste great! The only thing for me was the sauce looks yellow, not the red in the picture. Any reason why that might be? Either way, tastes great.

      • I made this recipe. Am usually a pretty decent cook. Mine was tasty, but it tasted nothing like red sauce and, as a matter of fact, came out pea-soup-green. Any thoughts?

        • Oh my! I’m not sure what would have happened with the color. That lovely red color comes from the beet, so adding some more cooked beet as you’re blending may work.

  • How long does this save in the refrigerator? Can this be frozen?
    Made this tonight and absolutely LOVED IT! My husband has GERD so I’m always looking for new recipes to keep things interesting. We served it over spaghetti squash and added fresh grated Parmesan cheese. It was truly amazing and will be making it again!

  • I can’t thank you enough for this recipe, it is so good! Since being diagnosed with GERD and IBS a year ago, I’ve been longing for a way to eat spaghetti and lasagna, and now I can. I decided to try and use it as a base for salsa and it works for that too! I only added 4 basil leaves (and might leave them out entirely for the next salsa batch), left out the oregano, added 2 bunches of cilantro, a hefty amount of cumin (didn’t measure, just added to taste), and probably an extra 1/2 tsp each of the garlic and onion powders. After sitting in the fridge overnight, it tastes almost exactly like the salsa my husband used to make. Even my coworkers are in awe. So thank you again for quite literally changing my (food) life.

    • Hi Mary,

      This recipe makes 2 1/2 cups total. It makes 5 servings, at 1/2 a cup of sauce per serving.

      If you do need to cut the recipe down, here are the ingredient amounts halved for convenience:


      – 1 medium zucchini
      – 1 1/2 medium celery stalks
      – 1 1/2 medium carrots
      – 1/4 of a cooked beet (feel free to add more or less to deepen the red color)
      – 1/4 of a cooked turnip
      – 1/2 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
      – 2-3 fresh basil leave (or 3/4 tsp dried basil)
      – 1/4 tsp of dried oregano
      – 1/2 tsp each of garlic and onion powder
      – 2 tbsp of olive oil or avocado oil
      – salt and pepper to taste

  • Looking forward to making this recipe! The only ingredient I wasn’t able to find at the store was a beet, unfortunately. Can you recommend another vegetable that I could substitute in its place (or would adding more of another of the ingredients on the list also work)? It probably won’t have the nice red color without the 1/2 beet included, but I’m more concerned about taste this time around. Thanks in advance!

  • I dont know if red lentils are GERD appropriate, I just know my husband cant eat tomatoes. So I made this and added some red lentils, because i like them in my sauce! Turned out wonderful! Very tasty, nice colour. Thank you!

  • I just wanted to thank you for this recipe. I have an extremely picky 18 year old who has severe autism and is nonverbal. He is self-limited on the foods he eats and LOVES anything with tomatoes., but is currently being treated for H Pylori and GERD. I made your recipe today and mixed it with his jasmine rice (his favorite food) and he had two bowls. Listen, if your recipe can pass the “Noah test” then it’s a winner! He would self limit to rice and tomato sauce all day if I let him, and I’m so thankful that on a rushed day, I’ll be able pull out your pasta sauce, knowing that it’s loaded with healthy vegetables that he’d otherwise NEVER touch, mix it with his rice and know that he’s eating a healthy meal that won’t harm him. So excited to discover your website and can’t wait to try out more recipes. Thank you!!!

    • Crying reading this comment! I’m so happy to hear that this sauce passed the Noah test, I hold that compliment in such high regard! Thank you so much for taking the time to give my recipe a try and also for sharing your kind words. Much love to you and Noah!

    • In my opinion, it does have a slightly earthy flavor from the beet. It definitely doesn’t taste exactly like tomato sauce (just similar). I don’t care for beets either, but I enjoy this sauce. 🙂

  • I haven’t tried this yet but I’m hopeful from the reviews I’ve read. I just want to say thank you for… everything. My son is high functioning autistic and is manic depressive, anxiety, gerd, Barrett’s esophagus, and a hiatal hernia by age of 21. Most days he spends in a fetal position and refuses to eat. Spaghetti was his absolute favorite thing to eat and now it’s gone. If this recipe can give him that back, I wouldn’t even know where to begin with saying thank you. 🤞

  • I was disagnosed with GERD earlier this year and have been meaning to try this recipe. I finally did yesterday and was pleasantly surprised with not only how easy it is to prepare, but also with the taste and the consistency. I am not crazy about beets, but this recipe works! I am a pasta lover so now I can enjoy it with sauce again. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe!

  • Do you have any recommendations for a turnip substitute? I want to make this sauce but I went to two stores so far, no turnips! 🙁

  • This was so good! I ended up using probably 3/4 of a beet (forgot to reread the recipe, lol). I think the beet count balances the celery flavour. Tripled the oregano and added equal part of dried basil, plus a bit of rosemary and thyme and extra salt. Ate with penne, chicken sausage and mushrooms. Most bites tasted like a ‘normal’ recipe and didn’t miss the tomatoes. Plus it made me so happy/normal to see the beautiful tomato-coloured leftover sauce. Thanks so much – this will be a staple for us!

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    I have always dreamed of being a book writer but never dreamed I’d make a career of it. In college, though, I aided a fellow student who needed help. She could not stop complimenting me . Word got around and someone asked me for writing help just a week later. This time they would pay me for my work.
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  • I have not tried this recipe yet, but I am suffering from erosive esophagitis and just discovered that I have GERD. I have been pretty depressed, considering I pretty much live off of tomato, onion, peppers, and garlic. I happened on your website and after browsing for awhile, I am feeling a real sense of relief that I won’t be condemned to a lifetime of bland foods. I am still hoping that lifestyle changes will allow me to eat my favorite foods sometimes, but I can’t tell you what a relief it is to come across all of these delicious recipes. Thank you so much for the amazing effort you have put into developing them, and especially for sharing them! Do you have a cookbook?

  • I made this sauce apprehensively for my Sourdough Pizza I made and have to say it did not disappoint. It’s absolutely delicious and would highly recommend to anyone with a reflux diagnosis

  • Amazing! I couldn’t tell the difference between tomato and this sauce. Excellent! I love pasta and was so happy to find this recipe. Thank you, Chaunti.

  • Wow you saved me. I have been losing my mind without my sauce. I suffer from acid reflux and gastritis. Thank you so much for this recipe. It’s delicious!! I am in awe!! From an Italian girl in California!!

  • So excited to find this recipe, I can’t wait to try it. I have so many food intolerance’s it’s a wonder I can eat anything. I wanted to ask you can I substitute fennel for the celery & red cabbage for the beets?
    If so how much of each serving for 2
    I am on Low Fodmaps diet and celery & beets are allowed in small servings like 10g.

  • I have had “gastritis” for many years. Still not diagnosed specifically as to cause, but have eliminated many foods. I have made this recipe three times now and love it. It settles well and can’t tell the difference. I do know if you reheat the sauce a couple of times you lose the red color. My daughter loves it also. Thank you for figuring this out. Must have taken quite a few tests to get it right.

  • I made this, but I didn’t have a turnip, so I used a parsnip instead. It came out very sweet. I also didn’t have red beet but only a golden one. Do you that made it too sweet?

    • Hmm, that’s probably what I would suspect! I haven’t used golden beets before so I’m not really familiar.

  • Thank you so much for this delicious tomato-free pasta sauce recipe. It’s great to be able to enjoy pasta again, and the sauce is super healthy. For anyone unable to find a turnip, I substituted a half of a fennel bulb roasted along with the other veggies and it added a nice flavor to the sauce, plus it’s good for digestion.

  • Great recipe. Made this yesterday. Made a double batch. I did have to add a bit more salt. Next time I will add another beet for more color. I am so excited to have a spaghetti sauce alternative. Thank you.

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