AIP Spaghetti Sauce

This AIP Spaghetti Sauce has NO TOMATOES in it – or peppers, or nightshades of any kind – but it is rich and tastes just like the original!

Spaghetti Sauce (AIP, Paleo)
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It’s slurpy, it’s messy and I’ve missed it.  I never knew that nightshades were an issue for me until going AIP, and when I discovered it, I was crushed.  I LOVE tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, tomatillos and eggplant.  I’ve grown gobs of the aforementioned, and canned some, too.  And the sauces!  Oh, the sauces… Drool.

Well, let us be deprived of spaghetti sauce NO MORE.  (Yeah, I know.  Nobody’s invented an AIP spaghetti yet.  Give me time, and I will.  Ha! 🤔)  This sauce has zero nightshades in it, and is chock full of nutrient dense goodness.

Before we go any further…

We need to talk about one ingredient: red wine.  You read that right.  Red wine.  So let’s chat about it.  If you or someone in your house suffers from alcoholism, or you feel twitchy about using alcohol in your cooking, really just avoid that ingredient and the step that goes with it.  The taste will not be the same, but the AIP is a journey that is unique to each person.  You do you.  From an AIP perspective, however, wine is allowed in cooking if it is cooked off, which it is in this case.  For the full explanation and the science behind it, please read this article by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne.  The red wine in this recipe adds a dimension to the flavor that is really wonderful.  The red wine vinegar that goes in at the end is already totes AIP.

AIP Spaghetti Sauce smeared on a plate, slopped on a table, in a bowl and on a spoon.
AIP Spaghetti Sauce

So now, how will you use this sauce?  You can put it on zoodles (spiralized zucchini), any other vegetable spirals, or spaghetti squash.  You can try it on sweet potato glass noodles (but it will look weird).  If you are brave and slightly devious, you might even put it on the actual spaghetti that your family is eating and not tell them.  Heh heh heh… 😏

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  Mangiamo!



AIP Spaghetti Sauce

Recipe by Wendi’s AIP Kitchen – Course: MainCuisine: AIP, Paleo, ItalianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef

  • 1/2 C. chopped onion

  • 6 large cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1/2 C. red wine 

  • 1 15-oz. can of organic pumpkin purée

  • 1/2 C. grated beet

  • 1/2 C. beef bone broth (Homemade is best.  Check labels.)

  • 1/4 C. finely grated carrot

  • 2 T. dried oregano

  • 1 T. dried basil

  • 2 T. red wine vinegar

  • sea salt to taste, roughly 1½ teaspoons


  • In a large saucepan or pot over medium high heat, brown the meat with the onions.  Add garlic, and sauté for about half a minute.
  • Turn heat to high and add the wine.  Stir until all the liquid has evaporated.  Persevere.  This may take a while.  You may be left with some melted fat from the meat, but make sure the wine has cooked off.
  • When the liquid has evaporated, turn heat to medium low.  Add pumpkin, beets, broth, carrots, oregano, basil and vinegar.  Stir to combine.
  • TASTE.  Add salt, about a half teaspoonful at a time, until you are pleased with the saltiness.  The amount you need will depend on the saltiness of your broth, and your unique tastebuds.
  • Now, put it down for a nap.  Cover and simmer, making sure it is just simmering and not briskly bubbling away, for one hour.
  • Enjoy your nightshade-free spaghetti feed!  🍝 😋🍝

Recipe Video


  • From an AIP perspective, wine is allowed in cooking if it is cooked off, which it is in this case.  For the full explanation and the science behind it, please read this article by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne.
  • If you or someone in your house suffers from alcoholism, or you feel twitchy about using alcohol in your cooking, really just avoid that ingredient and the step that goes with it.

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  1. Can this be made without the ground beef, using some coconut oil or bacon grease? And chicken broth instead of beef broth?

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  3. Flora Mondecar

    I haven’t played with beets yet. Peeled and raw I’m presuming?

  4. This is an amazing sauce! We couldn’t taste the beets or carrots and it’s so Italian tasting! I followed the recipe but also added mushrooms and Italian seasoning. So yummy!! Thank you for all your recipes.

  5. Lori Terrones

    Just made this sauce this afternoon and the taste is awesome! You seriously wouldn’t know that there are no tomatoes and the color is is fantastic. It really looks like regular spaghetti sauce. Great recipe! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

  6. Our future daughter in law made this for us last night and we were all amazed at all the wonderful flavors! It was better than my spaghetti sauces! She has been teaching me quite a bit a out alternative recipes as she is gluten free also.
    So glad she shared your recipe with our family.

  7. Hi Wendi! I was wondering if this could be made without garlic and if so, what do you think would be a good substitute? I love garlic but I’ve developed a pretty serious intolerance to it. 😞 I’ve been looking for a good spaghetti sauce though because I truly miss it! Not being able to eat garlic makes AIP difficult sometimes.

    • Hi, Christine! I’m so sorry about your garlic intolerance! I don’t know what you could sub for garlic. You could just leave it out. Of course, it wouldn’t taste the same, but maybe it would be a decent spaghetti sauce..? Only one way to find out! 😉

    • There is an Indian spice called Hing. You can order it online. It is used to substitute for an onion/garlic flavor. Just be careful, a little pinch goes a long way.

  8. Lindsey R

    What is this sorcery!? I made this today a bit skeptical that it would actually taste as good as the comments say, given there isn’t a tomato in sight. I was dead wrong. It is absolutely delicious. I actually had to ask my husband if I accidentally put tomato in it, as he was just as shocked. Excellent recipe! Served over garlic zoodles.

    • Lindsey, your comments just made me SO HAPPY!!! We love the spaghetti sauce, too. In fact, my family now requests it over the regular bottled stuff. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a lovely comment. 💗😊💗

  9. LisaMarie Takacs

    Love the recipe, thank you! The flavor, yummmmm. But, not sure what I did wrong. I had to add about 2 C beef broth to be able to simmer for any length 9f time. If not, before simmer, the result was very, very thick. My version is also not as red as yours. Any thoughts? I did cook the wine all the way off, as directed. Which leaves very little additional liquid.

    • Hey there! It sounds like you were fine up to just after cooking off the wine. My guess is that something was amiss after that point. It’s fine that you have not much liquid after cooking off the wine. That part is right. I wish I could be in your kitchen with you to see what’s happening, but I can ask you questions to help trouble shoot. 1.) Is your can of pumpkin purée 15 oz? Much of the liquid comes from there. 2.) Maybe try going through the list to see if there is anything at all that was left out. If you’ve included everything, and your pumpkin purée is 15 oz., I don’t know!
      As for the color (you did add the beets?), I learned something interesting: If the sauce cooks longer than an hour, the color of the beets changes. The sauce becomes sort of brown and unappetizing. One hour is long enough to meld the flavors, but not long enough to cause discoloration.
      If you are on Instagram, you can see a video in my feed of the sauce just before the hour-long simmer.
      I really wish I could see what you’re doing! This is only my best guess of what’s going on. I hope you’ll try again and let me know what happens. I want you to have yummy spaghetti sauce! 😀

  10. Wendi! You are so awesome! This recipe made my day. I have tried so many “nomato” sauce recipes that do not taste like what I remember, but this is sooo good. I love how you have hidden that beet flavor. (Let’s just say I’m not in the beets cheering section!) Thanks so much!

  11. Diana Gulley

    Wendi, you are a genius or a mad scientist. This sauce was phenomenal! My non-AIP husband couldn’t believe there were no tomatoes and he liked it as much (if not more) than my old ‘simmer all day’ sauce. It was a huge hit and I am so thankful for all the time you invested in this awesome recipe.

    Thank you!
    Diana Gulley

    • Oh, Diana, I’m so glad! I always kind of hold my breath when I present an alternative recipe to an old standard, either here on the blog, or to my own non-AIP family. How HAPPY it makes me when it works for someone! YAY! 🥰

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  16. Hi Wendy! This recipe looks great, however my little one can’t tolerate Pumpkin so I wondered if purées canned sweet potato would work?

    • Hi, Becky! That’s a good question. I think it might, though it might throw the taste a bit because of the sweetness. You might also try pureed butternut squash, if tolerated. I see it in my grocery store right next to the pumpkin. There’s only one way to find out. Give it a try! I always encourage experimentation in the kitchen.

  17. Hi there…I don’t know much about wine, but have read that some are ‘safer’ than others with respect to sulphites and other harmful things. Can you direct me to a safe one? Would love to try this recipe.

    • Hi, Sara! A cursory search of Dr. Sarah Ballantyne’s (aka The Paleo Mom) website suggests searching for organic, since many grapes are treated heavily with pesticides. Beyond that, I’m not qualified to speak on the subject, and so I leave that to the experts! I just make the food. I hope you love this sauce! 😀

  18. Wendi – thank you so much for this recipe! It’s super delish and a great non-nightshade option. Making a fun lasagna tonight using your sauce and palmini heart of palm noodles. So nightshade AND gluten-free. Thanks!

  19. Hi Wendi, after 3 months on AIP and still no end in sight I have FINALLY found an AIP recipe that has been just as good – or better even! – than the regular version of the meal. I am so grateful to you for developing this amazing recipe, I was almost in tears eating my pasts with this sauce. Absolutely delicious! Thank you so much!

    • Hi, Monica! Comments like these are the wind in my sails. Thank you so much! My family enjoys it, too – even better than the regular stuff! Funny how things change. 🙂 Thank you so much for writing.

  20. Delicious!!! No beet taste and it hit the spot!

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