Friday, October 18, 2013

Paleo Creamy Tomato Sauce (Recipe Revisit)

I kind of overdid it on tomatoes toward the end of summer, and have gotten so fixated on apples and pumpkins since that I've now totally neglected them. A good friend brought me elephant garlic from a local garlic festival, and the first thing that popped in my mind was a creamy, garlicky tomato sauce.

Sometimes when I revisit a recipe I don't totally reinvent the dish, but rather tweak it. This is one of those occasions, and I think my little edits really improved on the complexity of the finished product.

My original tomato sauce recipe didn't have a ton of oomph on its own, which is why I topped it with pesto. By increasing the seasoning and incorporating some onion this time, though, I found the flavor of the sauce itself much more robust.

I did thin the sauce out with a little water and wine this time; if you prefer a chunkier texture, though, you can skip this step.

For added protein I cooked and crumbled up some fresh mushroom chicken sausage from Whole Foods. You could skip it, or go with paleo-compliant meatballs, chicken, etc. if you're serving this as a main meal. Due to the cashews, though, this is quite filling as a vegetarian meal as well.

Paleo Creamy Tomato Sauce

1 cup raw cashew pieces
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tbs. tomato paste
1/2 cup water
2 medium zucchini, julienned
3-4 tbs. olive oil, divided
6 minced garlic cloves
1/2 medium onion, diced
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
water or white wine, as desired to thin out sauce
fresh basil leaves, chopped

Place zucchini "noodles" in a colander over the sink and season lightly with salt. Allow to sit for about 15 minutes to sweat and release extra moisture.

Combine cashews, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and water in a high-speed blender. Process until smooth and set aside.

Heat 1 tbs. of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook, stirring constantly, until just starting to soften. Add tomato mixture from blender to skillet and stir to combine. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes. Lower heat and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes.

While tomato sauce is simmering, heat another 1-2 tbs. (depending on size of zucchini) oil in a separate skillet. Add zucchini noodles and saute just for 1-2 minutes or until soft. Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.

If the tomato sauce is too thick for your liking, thin out with a few tbs. of water or white wine (I used 2 tbs. white wine and about the same amount of water). Taste for seasoning.

To serve, top zucchini noodles with tomato sauce, and garnish with chopped basil leaves.


  1. Am I being dense or are there no tomatoes in this recipe?

    1. Hi Andy! No, you're not... I forgot to put them in! Fixed it and thanks for the catch!