I like to make a big batch of nomato paste at one time and freeze most of it for later. This is about half the amount this recipe makes.
As I mentioned in my previous post, my husband tries to avoid tomato products because of heartburn and acid reflux. In most cases we just work around this by using other kinds of sauces (white sauce on pizza, for instance) but sometimes you just want a real tomato substitute–to use in place of tomato paste in flavoring my favorite lentils recipe, or because I’m really in the mood for meatballs in a red sauce.
This particular combination of vegetables does decent job imitating the color and texture of tomato sauce. (Changing the ratio of vegetables may affect the color, changing it to an orangier or purplier red, but this exact ratio isn’t crucial to the general impression of nomato sauce.) Once you add in an acid, it’s close enough in flavor to trick your brain into accepting the substitute.
As written, this recipe makes a very thick nomato sauce which works well as a replacement for tomato paste. If you prefer, add a bit of water to thin it down to a normal sauce consistency.
I prefer lemon juice for the acid, but apple cider vinegar also works reasonably well if you need to substitute for any reason. Since I’m specifically trying to lower the acid compared to tomatoes, I use just enough lemon juice to give the impression of tomatoes. If your reasons for replacing tomatoes are different, you may want to increase the amount of lemon juice to taste. (If you’re using apple cider vinegar, the acidity will be stronger, so start with 1/2 to 2/3 the amount of lemon juice you would use.)
I generally prefer lard for roasting vegetables, but coconut oil, ghee and avocado oil are also good choices. I do not recommend roasting with olive oil as the high temperatures destroy most or all of the health benefits.
Healthiness Rating: Healthy
Being mostly made out of vegetables, I think this qualifies as healthy.
Yumminess Rating: Yummy
If you go expecting an exact tomato replica, this will, of course, be disappointing. If you go in with reasonable expectations of something in the neighborhood of tomato flavors, this should be satisfying.
Nomato Paste or Sauce
6 small zucchini (about two pounds)
3 medium onions
9 medium carrots (about two pounds)
3 medium beets
2-3 TBSP fat or oil of choice
1 cup lemon juice
salt to taste
water, if desired
Preheat the oven to 425.
Prepare the vegetables for roasting: slice (and peel, if desired) the zucchini into 2 inch thick rounds, peel and quarter the onions, remove the ends of the carrots and slice into 2-3 inch segments and peel and remove the ends of the beets, then slice them into halves or quarters.
Toss the vegetables in preferred oil and divide between two large baking sheets. Roast at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft enough to puree. (The carrots and beets may still retain some firmness–how soft they need to be exactly will depend on how well your food processor or blender works.) Let cool.
Puree vegetables with lemon juice and salt in a food processor or food mill. (This recipe makes a large batch of nomato sauce or paste and I had to puree it in two separate batches in my food processor.) If desired, thin down with water to your preferred consistency.
If not thinned down this recipe makes about 10 cups of nomato paste. I like to freeze it in quart bags, with 1 1/2 cups of nomato paste in each bag, as that’s roughly equal to 2 cans of tomato paste.