This nomato sauce, or pasta sauce without tomatoes is the perfect option for those that cannot consume tomatoes or must limit them. While this seems like an uncommon allergen, it is common within the mast cell activation syndrome community as it is high in histamine. This nomato sauce recipe will be a new favorite! If you’d like to pair this sauce with gluten-free & dairy-free meatballs, you’ll love my Italian meatball recipe!
Histamine is a compound released by mast cells (immune cells) in response to allergens. This causes those of us with MCAS to have symptoms due to its excessive release of these mast cells. If you dont have mast cell issues, please scroll through to the recipe!
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Nomato Sauce: A No Tomato Pasta Sauce
In this no tomato pasta sauce, you’ll love the use of roasted red peppers as a substitute for tomato pasta sauce! While peppers may bother some of those on a low histamine diet, peppers may not be of an issue for others. Both tomatoes and bell peppers contain histamine, however may not contribute to the same resulting issues. Both of these ingredients contain high levels of vitamin C & quercetin which are natural antihistamines, meaning they may reduce the individual’s unique response. Each patient with mast cell issues may react differently to dietary restrictions and that is important to keep in mind when choosing your meals ingredients! If you are sensitive to lectins, this may not be a recipe for you!
How to make homemade pasta sauce without tomatoes:
When we think about pasta sauce recipes we think about ones with tomato sauce or a garlic sauce of some kind. Typically if we refer to “pasta sauce” it’s a signal for those with histamine intolerance that we should avoid it at all costs as tomatoes are often a trigger for many. In this easy nomato pasta sauce recipe, we’ll replace the tomatoes with roasted red peppers to create a deliciously similar pasta sauce alternative that you’ll love! Keep in mind we add additional & FLAVORFUL ingredients that are not as common in traditional sauce to help balance this pasta sauce alternative. Below is a list of ingredients that create this delicious tomato-free sauce:
- Roasted Red Bell Peppers: I enjoy using jarred bell peppers as they are sweeter than other peppers and make for a great sauce when cooked & blended.
- Fennel & Fennel Seeds: Using fennel seeds makes for a beautiful sauce addition as it reminds us of traditional Italian sausage where fennel seeds are a common addition. Fennel & fennel seeds have a star anise-like flavor that is delicious in this recipe. I highly recommend not missing this ingredient!
- Garlic: This is a must in any pasta sauce in my opinion. Offering an array of benefits beyond just flavor, garlic provides us with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and even antimicrobial properties.
- Light Brown Sugar: Sugar while seeming unnecessary at times, helps to balance the bitterness of the pepper. If we do not add this ingredient it will make for a bitter sauce.
- Butter and olive Oil: These are commonly used in traditional Italian sauces for some families. In mine, we add butter to help with balancing acidity, and creaminess, offering us a more savory nomato sauce.
A Personal Journey With A Low Histamine Diet & Anti-Histamines:
I want to share my own story when it comes to struggling with mast cell activation syndrome and why it may be beneficial to look at the full picture when it comes to diet & lifestyle. This nomato sauce recipe is one I still consume with MCAS even if it still contains histamine. While this syndrome can be excruciatingly painful, there is hope in controlling your reactions. However, it comes with much trial and error. To find what works best for you, one must test a number of factors. Below I’ve outlined what worked best for me.
- Don’t believe everything you read online. There will be many articles that state there is a scale of what foods contain histamine. Much of this is still unknown and it’s in the individual’s best interest to find what works best for you. Unfortunately, MCAS attacks/flares can occur moments after consuming an allergen or days later when your histamine bucket becomes full. What’s difficult about our understanding of the MCAS diet is that it will rarely look the same even for the same individual. It is all about the “histamine bucket” levels.
- Practice intuitive learning & listening. What this means is we must educate ourselves on this syndrome in depth in order to improve. This means thinking about the syndrome holistically or at many angles. It means listening to our bodies in tandem with what we have learned *and tried.*
- It’s more than just histamine. When we hear about MCAS, our immediate awareness of how to control symptoms is to control histamine. While helpful, this is not the only thing we need to be aware of. Keep in mind that histamine is only one of the mediators involved in MCAS. Mediators involved in MCAS are histamine, prostaglandins, cytokines, tryptase, leukotrienes, interleukins, serotonin, and platelet-activating factor. This makes for an incredibly individually complex syndrome. For example, if you are sick it is likely that the mediators above will change due to this. This also changes our MCAS reactions or contributes to what we know as the bucket theory.
- It’s not just mediators: Mediators are what we discussed above or molecules/substances that control signaling in our cells. What’s rarely discussed is that mediators can be activated by things like environment, stress, illnesses, hormones, exercise, and other triggers. Each individual is different so we must remember intuitive learning & listening to ourselves is vital to healing! I find it is helpful to learn about each mediator to better educate myself on my MCAS episodes. While everything comes down to the involved mediators, many things play a role in how they behave.
- The environment is Important: Mast cells are activated by much of what we come across in our everyday lives. Knowing that things like artificial and natural smells, MOLD, pollen, chemicals, dust, smoke, and more activate these mast cells (beyond just histamine) we know that our environment is one of the largest areas we can work on for better body equilibrium. Diet and environment go hand in hand in controlling MCAS.
- Nervous system regulation: Our nervous system being in a healthy & happy state is important for our mast cells as it helps mitigate symptom severity due to things like stress response, inflammation, pain perception, gastrointestinal behavior, mood & cognitive function, sleep, and even immune function. As previously discussed, things like stress can cause mast cells to behave differently. Focusing on things to improve your nervous system function can help aid in MCAS response.
- Reaction Uncertainty. When we have an anaphylaxic reaction, it will RARELY be the same. The reason for this is MCAS is a stacking allergy. When we deal with stacking allergies our resulting reactions are based on how we fill up our bucket. It is often called a “histamine bucket” however based on the above notes MCAS reactions can result from all the mediators & triggers that contribute to an episode. When we understand this, we have better success in getting our individual reactions under control! Be gentle with yourself as reactions may take years to fully understand. MCAS is not a cookie-cutter syndrome in its presentation or management.
- Supplements and avoidance can help. I like to discuss supplements as they are often overlooked in early MCAS management and disorders that are often paired with having MCAS. Supplements like quercetin, magnesium, vitamin C, diamine oxidase, vitamin D, iron, amino acids, b vitamins, zinc, and many more may help improve these episodes to help regulate mast cell behaviors. While much of this can be achieved through a healthy diet, we may need more than the average person to help “play nice” with our mast cells. I also discuss avoidance of MCAS triggers because if avoiding these triggers, our mast cells behave more as intended. In order to feel better with MCAS, we have to get our inflammation levels under control. By utilizing certain supplements, practicing MCAS lifestyle changes, and avoiding dietary and environmental triggers, we step closer to that goal.
- Be thoughtful to your body: Knowing all of what we’ve discussed above, it’s important to remember that you must be kind to your body. This means feeding it well, treating it with kindness, intuitively listening to your thoughts and feelings, as well as surrounding it with those who support you. It should be understood that this is a difficult syndrome that results in undesirable emotions. It’s helpful to know that these feelings are valid and have a place in our healing. Do not bury your emotions. Instead, use them as a catalyst to do right by your body & mind.
Nomato Sauce: A No Tomato Pasta Sauce
- 1 tbsp garlic oil or olive oil for caramelizing onions
- 1/2 large yellow onion about 1.5 cups – small-medium diced
- 1/2 cup chopped fennel (optional)
- 3 12 oz jars roasted red peppers with liquid
- 1-3 + tbsp organic light brown sugar optional & this will depend on how bitter your peppers are
- 2 cups water or veggie stock
- 5 large garlic cloves
- ½ tsp crushed fennel seeds using a mortar and pistil
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or basil as desired
- 2 tsp salt taste prior to salting
- 1-2 tbsp butter vegan or traditional
- 1/2 tbsp quality italian olive oil
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast I prefer it!
- 1 tbsp curly parsley
- Finely chop your onions and fennel and crush your fennel seeds along with mincing your garlic, fresh basil, oregano, and/or parsley (once ready to use.)
- Add your onion to a hot oiled pan and caramelize. During this time, blend your peppers into a fully incorporated liquid.
- Next, Add in your minced garlic and let cook just until fragrant and proceed with your blended pepper liquid.
- Follow by adding in your remaining ingredients and cooking on low.
- Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
More Recipes To Try:
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