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This is one of those casual meals that makes everyone full and happy. The no-tomato (aka nomato) sauce is something I decided to try recently, while taking a break from nightshades. Nightshades, as you may already know, are a category of produce than can exacerbate inflammation. So often times, those of us with autoimmune conditions, especially those following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP diet), will forgo this whole group of vegetables and fruits to find added relief from inflammatory symptoms.
A comprehensive list and more details about nightshades can be found here. The most common include the following: peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, tomatillos, goji berries, potatoes, paprika, all spicy and smoky peppers, including dried spices such as chipotle, curry and cayenne.
We all loved this sauce and were amazed, really, how similar to tomato sauce it is! I didn’t set out to make it taste JUST like tomato sauce, but more to create a yummy red sauce. But the lime juice and other flavors really marry so beautifully and you do get a very tomato-y, delicious flavor and texture.
If you’re not avoiding nightshades, I still recommend this sauce. Served over cabbage, with meatballs, it’s one yummy meal! If you’ve got summer produce to process- beets, carrots and turnips- this is a great way to use them! And this sauce freezes beautifully. So you can even make a big batch for convenient, healthful, future meals.
(We enjoyed the leftover sauce with chicken.)
I’ve mentioned before that I always have bone broth simmering in a crock pot. I use this simmering savory goodness to make my life easier. On the days or nights when I have little time to cook, I use the broth to cook my veggies or meat. This is like the Chinese hot pot. Nothing could be simpler and it makes meat moist, veggies EASY, and the broth, well, it makes the broth taste like whatever you’ve cooked in it, which is fine.
I give alternatives in the recipe below if you don’t have a slow-cooker of broth. But if you do, eureka! (Another reason to make perpetual bone broth?)
Regarding braised cabbage, have you had it? It is one of life’s pleasures. Economical yet gourmet, the pan juices and wilted goodness of the cabbage are comfort food with an elegant finish. De-glazing the pan with scant vinegar, starting with bacon fat and sea salt, you get a silky bit of caramelized goodness.
And meatballs, the topping! They’re easy, affordable, and everyone loves them. Again, I poach these babies in the simmering bone broth- no work. (I give two alternatives, if needed.)
Enjoy this meal. If you do use your crock pot, you will use very little energy and heat to cook this meal, an added bonus, especially during the summer months.
No-Tomato Sauce served with Braised Cabbage Noodles & Meatballs~ nightshade-free
- 2 lbs. ground turkey thigh or other ground meat of choice; pork is good or a combination of two meats works well
- 2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1.5-2 tsp. sea salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- Vegetables can be steamed, or boiled in bone broth. I always have a crock pot of bone broth going; so for me, it's easy to pop veggies into the simmering broth and have them cook without any effort on my part. Either way, cook veggies until they're very tender: carrots, turnip and beets.
- Place the 2/3 cup bone broth in blender. Add slightly cooled, cooked veggies. Add remaining ingredients as well: lime juice, ginger, turmeric, garlic, oregano and sea salt.
- Puree until smooth, 30-50 seconds. You will have a thick, beautiful sauce.
- Sprinkle salt, pepper and thyme over turkey. Mix it into the meat; but don't over-mix. Form meatballs, whatever size you like. I prefer large meatballs because they remain moist inside and they're faster to produce. My kids like making little ones.
- Poach these in simmering bone broth until they float and are cooked through when cut open in the middle, about 15-20 minutes if the broth is simmering, depending on their size. (If you don't have bone broth available, you may also cook them in a large skillet or bake them on a cookie sheet, at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, until cooked through, about 25 minutes, depending on their size.)
Braised Cabbage Noodles
- Heat fat in a large saute pan. Add onion and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add cabbage and sea salt. Saute over medium-high heat for 5 minutes; then turn heat to low and cover for 35 minutes, opening and stirring every 10 minutes or so to prevent burning.
- Add the broth and vinegar to deglaze the pan, scraping up any bits that are stuck and folding the noodles to distribute the pan sauces. Serve. Top with No-Tomato Sauce and Meatballs.