This is of course Paleo friendly and the sweetener is optional. Nightshade-free means there are no tomatoes in this version. Even though there are no tomatoes and mine is always orange, it has a nice flavor and consistency. My kids will put this on almost everything.

Interestingly, ketchup originally did not even contain tomatoes and was a fermented fish based sauce of Chinese origin.  More info on that subject here.

Nightshades are comprised of many fruits and vegetables and other plants like tobacco. Some are deadly and some are just mildly toxic. The lectins found in tomatoes are a common toxic protein found in many plants and can cause intestinal permeability and therefore may trigger an autoimmune response.

In case you are wondering more about why no tomatoes, here is everything you need to know about nightshades.

This recipe is adapted from Diane Sanfilippo’s book “Practical Paleo”.

Homemade Ketchup (Nightshade-free)

Easy nightshade free, gluten free, sugar free version of ketchup that some kids will actually like. Yields 2 cups.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Sauces
Cuisine Worldly


  • 2 c carrots chopped
  • ½ c beets chopped (or sliced ¼- to no more than ½-inch thick for the Instant Pot method above)
  • 1 tbsp Oil for sauteeing the onion
  • ½ c onion chopped
  • ½ c fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp local honey
  • ½ tsp salt or to taste
  • ½ tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 pinch of cloves


  • Steam the carrots and beets in a steamer basket until very soft. Drain and set aside.
  • Saute the chopped onion in a small amount of oil until translucent. This usually takes about 7-10 minutes over medium heat.
  • Don't skip this step! Transfer the carrots to a dry medium sized saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes while stirring often. Add the beets and continue to stir for another 5 minutes. This step releases moisture and allows the flavors to concentrate and create the proper consistency.
  • Place carrots, beets, onion, and all other ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender or use an immersion blender and mix until smooth. If you prefer a thinner ketchup, you can add a tablespoon of water at a time until you have your desired consistency.
  • This recipe makes about 2 cups.


You can buy pre-cooked jarred or canned beets and skip the step of initially cooking the beets.