Tomato Free Ketchup

There are some rules that I strictly adhere to:

1) White pants are always appropriate, even for dudes.

2) When it is raining, flip flops are a fine choice.

3) And ketchup is good on anything. Even pancakes. I’ll understand, though, if you use syrup.

Now ketchup can cost you a few hundred mg of sodium depending on how much you squeeze. The brand I looked at today had 190mg of sodium in it. Per tablespoon. And I’m pretty sure neither you nor I are only going to use a tablespoon. That’s plain ridiculousness.

Which is why I am so, so, so very thrilled to be including a homemade ketchup in my cookbook. It is crazy easy to make and if you beg and plead enough, I’ll probably break down and give you the recipe.

But what if you can’t eat tomatoes?

While I was recently speaking at the Bay Area Association for Kidney Patients this past weekend, I asked the room of my new friends if there was anything they missed eating. And one darling woman raised her hand and said red sauce and all the wonderful foods that go with it.

I excitedly told her (whose name I never got, so we’ll call her Margaret) that this sodium challenge was easily overcome. That salt-free tomato sauce is easy to make at home and that there are many salt-free tomato products already on the market.

But Margaret answered back that because of her kidneys, she had been advised to cut out vegetables that were high in potassium. It wasn’t just the salt that was a problem. Things like phosphorous, protein, and potassium had to be watched too. And so tomatoes were out.

Putting on my salt-free thinking cap though, I started throwing out ideas for a thick, easily creamed substitute.

Pumpkin? No, too much potassium. Cauliflower? Potassium. Sqaush? Potassium. Bell peppers? Finally, a winner. And if you ask me, the perfect low sodium and low potassium swap out.

So Margaret and everyone that loves ketchup and red sauce as much as I do, here is a salt-free, low potassium ketchup (spread over a quinoa “meat” loaf) that I made just for you.

Happy long weekend and chow on.


3 cups pureed red bell peppers (about 3 large bell peppers + food processor or blender)

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon black pepper


In a small pot, bring all the ingredients to a rolling simmer over medium heat. Cover with a lid and cook until reduced by 1/3, about 15 minutes. If using right away, keep the ketchup warm on low flame with pot covered. Or, if it is being saved for later use, place in an airtight container and refrigerate. Ketchup will stay good for one week.


Filed under improbable eats, recipe box

7 responses to “Tomato Free Ketchup

  1. Paulissa

    Interesting indeed. . .I’m going to have to give that a try. Thanks!!

  2. what an amazing recipe!! what a fun challenge, you are so innovatie and inspiring! can’t wait to try this.

  3. Molly Sokolowski

    Can’t wait to try this…I, too, have to watch my potassium and can’t wait to add this to my meatloaf!

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  5. Pingback: Tomato free ketchup??? « I can have that!

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