Tomato-Free Bolognese Recipe paleo diet dinner lunch spaghetti-min

Tomato-Free Bolognese Recipe

As I wrote about yesterday, I'm currently trying to avoid tomatoes and undertake a low-salicylate Paleo diet. I usually use a lot of tomatoes in my cooking, as they are a great base for sauces and meals. My favourite dishes, ragu, bolognese and chilli all use lots of tomatoes, so I've been experimenting to find an alternative.

Since tomatoes are a nightshade, this recipe will be helpful to those avoiding nightshades too. I've also just realized that tomatoes have quadrupled in price in the last few months – so this is also good for the budget!

I used carrots and beetroot to make the “tomato” sauce, which I then used exactly as I would a real tomato sauce with the rest of the ingredients in this bolognese. I'm not that keen on beetroot on it’s own but in this dish with all of the other flavours, it was a great addition.

Tomato-Free Bolognese Recipe
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
If you avoid salicylates or just don't tollerate tomatoes very well, this tomato-free bolognese recipe will meet your needs for a tomato based sauce - but without the tomatoes! It tastes great, and LOOKS very tomatoey!
  • Carrots (I used about 9)
  • Beetroot (I used 4)
  • Leek, diced
  • 3 diced onions
  • Parsnip
  • 7 mushrooms, sliced
  • Pork mince (500g)
  • Beef mince (500g)
  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut aminos
  • Garlic powder
  • Oregano
  • Cinnamon
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ground chilli
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. I peeled and roughly chopped the carrots, beetroot & parsnip and added them to a large pan of boiling water
  2. Meanwhile, in another pan I sautéed the onions in some coconut oil until they turned translucent
  3. Next, I added the mince and a splash of coconut aminos
  4. Once the meat had all browned, I added the leek, mushrooms and a small amount of each of the herbs and spices (I don’t use very much, but adjust according to how hot you like it – and how little you like beetroot!)
  5. I allowed the meat mixture to simmer on a low heat, stirring regularly, and adding water from the carrot & beetroot pan as it dried out
  6. Once the carrots and beetroot's started to soften, I turned the heat off and puréed in the blender
  7. With the tomato-free “tomato sauce” ready, I added it to the meat pan and allowed it to simmer for a few minutes before serving

If you have any suggestions for alternatives to tomatoes, please share in the comments below…

Tomato-Free Bolognese Recipe paleo diet dinner lunch spaghetti-min

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20 replies
  1. Carole
    Carole says:

    Thanks, good to have alternatives to tomatoes. It’s strange its only in the last year I’ve realised tomatoes were causing my skin rash.

  2. Kira
    Kira says:

    I love this alternative I have a gluten, tomato, peanut, tuna, turkey free guy at home and he loves spaghetti and it is hard to find a way to make it without the tomato’s. I am glad I found this recipe I can smother this of Spaghetti Squash and he can eat it too.

  3. Janey
    Janey says:

    I’ve been trying to work out how manage a low-salicylate diet as I’ve only just worked out what I am allergic to. So good to get different ideas, as I’ve been a bit lost, trying to think how to replace some of my favorite choices.
    I am really pleased I now know what to avoid & I have choices.

  4. Christa
    Christa says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. My 10 year old son was diagnosed with Crohns disease in November last year. I spent days reading about what the best diet would be for him and decided to go Paleo. He can’t eat nightshades and I really struggled to find something to use as an alternative for tomatoes. Looking forward to try this 🙂

  5. Liz
    Liz says:

    This sounds great and on my list as I too am intolerant of salicylates. My mum used to make a tomato free bolognese sauce by browning onion, garlic and celery, then mince and two whole kidneys. Sounds yuk but they added great flavour and were removed at end of cooking so us kids never knew. She then added very rich homemade beef broth and herbs and chilli (coconut amines instead of soy would be good) and simmered away slowly to enhance flavour for 2 hours. Thickened with arrowroot. It wasn’t red but over spaghetti (we were not paleo then), or spaghetti squash, it was better than normal bolognese.

  6. chrissy
    chrissy says:

    Thank you for sharing! Sounds like a fab alternative to tomatoes. My daughter age 8 hates cooked tomatoes and is salicylate sensitive and I’m trying to build up her tolerance using probiotics to heal her gut. Seems to be working fine. Last night my little boy age 2 came up in a hives skin rash. I gave him bolognaise with tomatoes tonight and his skin flared up more than yesterday. Will try no tomatoes for him for a couple of weeks to see if he has become allergic. I’ve just subscribed and hoping for more fab recipes! x

    • Suz
      Suz says:

      Hi Sarah, I strain them (and keep the water back to use in a stock, if I’m making one), holding back just enough liquid for the blender to work.


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