TomatoLess Meat Sauce


Everyday, I’m faced with the awful decision of Blog vs Book. I let my husband taste something and after finding out if it is good, ask “Save?” or “Post?” It is so frustrating having to chose! This is one of those recipes that is so special that it probably should be saved for the book, but you, my lovely readers, have taken precedence with this one.

I learned early on that too many tomatoes can really affect my stomach and leave me hanging out near the bathroom for the better part of the day, but I have been in denial for the past few years and continue to eat them. There’s been so much hype lately about the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol and nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant) being detrimental for those of us with autoimmune diseases; so I just can’t possibly keep this sauce to myself for the next 9 months. You can serve it over Zucchini Noodles or use it in my Lasagna Recipe.  It will probably end up in the book too, so promise me you’ll still buy it even though you already have access to the recipe?

If there’s two things I learned from my Italian Grandmother, it’s that pork and red wine belong with a meat sauce. Although, there’s quite the debate amongst my family members as to if that wine belongs in a glass in the cook’s hand or in the sauce. I personally do a little of both!  I will be including my Great-Grandmother’s original meat sauce recipe in my book, so stay tuned for that one. It’s the best sauce you’ll ever taste and has been perfected over many generations.

I chose to make a bolognese style sauce for this tomato-free meat sauce. I am partial to it because of the complicated flavor profiles that come out with the use of chopped vegetables, salty pork, and a touch of red wine. A traditional bolognese sauce uses a little cream at the end to reduce the acidity of the tomatoes, but since this sauce is sans tomato, we don’t need it. I actually throw in a little apple cider vinegar to add a little zing that you would miss otherwise.

*I can’t remember where I first saw the notion of using beets to make a sauce instead of tomatoes, but I’ve been wanting to make one for the past couple of years. Whoever the original creator was is a genius, but this sauce is like no other that I saw when searching the internet for recipes. I think you’re going to love it!  Oh and I hate beets. FYI.

Shared on Allergy Free Wednesdays


TomatoLess Meat Sauce

AUTHOR: Danielle Walker - AgainstAllGrain.com


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (bacon fat will work too, just reduce the salt slightly)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups beets, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 pieces of bacon, chopped
  • 2½ teaspoons sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • ¾ cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pound ground beef or pork (I used grassfed 85/15 beef)


  1. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a sauce pan set over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions and garlic for 3-4 minutes. Add the bacon and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the carrots, beets, and celery and cook until the vegetables have softened slightly, about 5-6 minutes.
  3. Pour in the wine and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Carefully pour the sauce into a blender and blend on low for 15 seconds, then increase the speed to high and continue to blend until you have a smooth sauce.
  5. *Be careful when blending hot liquids as they have the tendancy to splatter. You can also use an immersion blender in the pot.
  6. Return the sauce to the pan. Add the bay leaves, basil, oregano, thyme, and vinegar. Bring to a simmer then crumble the ground meat with your hands and add it to the sauce. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, until the meat is fully cooked.
  7. *The thickness of the sauce will depend on what the fat content of your meat is. If it is too thick, add a little more stock towards the end of the cooking process until it has reached your desired thickness.
  • Shannon Klein

    I have made this three times now. The times I follow the recipe exactly it comes out the best. I didn’t have any bacon once and it was not quite as good. Another time I didn’t do the finial cook once it goes back into the pan for the entire time and it had me up with gas all night from the undercooked vegetables… I won’t do that again. Even so it makes me SO HAPPY to have such a delicious tomato substitute. This recipe alone has convinced me that I can stick to the Autoimmune diet that my body so desperately needs. THANK YOU!! It also convinced me to purchase The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott. Thank you for that as well! There are so many more awesome ideas in there that make Autoimmune Paleo a lifestyle worth living and not just a confinement to survive. I can not wait until Sarah Ballantyne’s Paleo Approach Cookbook is available in August! I am so hooked… and it’s all because you posted this recipe and I realized I can live this way after all!

  • Shannon Klein

    Oh yeah and my DH who really dug his heels in when we first started cleaning up our diet actually said it was really good! “Like I am not just saying it to be nice, it is really good!” LOL!

  • Breanna Hendricks

    This was hands-down the best meat sauce I have ever eaten by far!! Perfect recipe for everyday meals or special occasions :) I have missed eating meat sauce bc of nightshade sensitivities but thanks to u I no longer have to miss out! This was delicious! This recipe is a keeper :) love your first cookbook and have already preordered meals made simple! Thank you Danielle!

  • Sassyfras

    This was wonderful. Even my picky 6 year old didn’t realize this wasn’t tomato sauce and gobbled it up! Think I will make extra and try freezing it next time! Delicious!

  • Kathleen

    Wow! I just made this meat sauce and I am blown away by how well it turned out! My fiancé has all kinds of digestive issues and we haven’t been able to figure out what the problem is yet, but he’s basically given up everything, so this meal was perfect! Thank you Danielle :) Also I just ordered your cookbook so I can’t wait for it to arrive!