A tomato-free sauce is served with vegan meatballs to create a delicious Italian feast! Serve over capellini or your favorite pasta. The secrets of this recipe are using fresh lemon juice to create the tangy tomato taste and fresh cooked beet puree for color. In studying macrobiotics, I have learned that nightshade vegetables (such as tomatoes) can cause inflammation in the body and aggravate conditions such as arthritis and IBS. This recipe is perfect for those trying to avoid nightshades that really miss eating Italian food!
My macrobiotic teacher and friend David Briscoe comes to Austin to teach at The Natural Epicurean for the macrobiotic unit I teach there four times a year. He treats us to this Macro-Vegan Italian Feast each time he comes, and it is always super delicious and packed with nourishment. These dishes are complex in flavor and nutrient-dense. I hope you’ll make the effort to try these recipes as they are truly special!
The sauce starts with a saute of onions, carrots, olive oil, herbs, spices, and garlic.
After the vegetables are soft, they are pureed and returned to the pot for additional seasoning.
Finally, a puree of steamed beets is added to create a beautiful tomato-like color.
- 1 cup beets, sliced into rounds
- 1 medium onion, sliced into thin half moons
- 1 clove minced garlic (optional to add more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cups carrots, cut into thin diagonal slices
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1½ teaspoons dry basil
- 1 teaspoon onion granules or powder
- spring or filtered water
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 - 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 -2 tablespoons kuzu, dissolved in ¼ cup water
- Steam beets until tender. Puree until smooth and set aside in a bowl.
- Saute the onions and garlic together in olive oil for 3 minutes. Add carrots, basil, oregano, and onion granules/powder. Continue to saute a few minutes.
- Add enough water to almost cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Cook covered until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Do not allow the water to cook completely away.
- Put the cooked vegetables into a blender, and then add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT THE BEETS. Blend until smooth. Add more water to the ingredients in the blender so they will blend into a thick sauce.
- Place the blended ingredients in a pot. Slowly bring to a boil on a medium-low heat. Careful to avoid bubbling and splattering of the thick sauce. Reduce the heat. Slowly whisk in some of the pureed beets, until you create a reddish color like tomato sauce.
- Taste for seasonings and add more salt and/or lemon juice if needed.
These mushroom and brown rice meatballs are the perfect complement to the no-tomato sauce
- 3 cups pressure-cooked brown rice
- ½ cup walnuts or pecans, toasted
- ½ cup bread crumbs (Italian) or puffed brown rice
- 2 cups sauteed, chopped portabella mushrooms, measured after sautéing
- ½ cup chopped scallion, roots, white and green parts
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons barley miso or red miso
- ⅓ cup chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Break the walnuts into pieces. Warm the oil in a frying pan, and then add the walnuts. Saute briefly.
- Add the scallion. Saute briefly until the color turns a brighter green.
- Add the miso and saute it with the scallions until the miso is evenly distributed throughout the scallion. Remove from heat.
- Place the cooked rice, sauteed scallions, miso, walnuts, portabellas, parsely in a bowl. Mix well. Form the mixture into 1½ inch balls, cupping the mixture with your hands firmly like making a snowball.
- Test to make sure the balls hold their shape. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.
- This recipe can be made gluten-free by using a gluten-free red miso (instead of barley miso) and puffed brown rice (instead of bread crumbs).
Add some fresh cooked pasta and a crisp salad and voila! An Italian Feast is born!