This is a version of a macrobiotic sauce for people who avoid the nightshade veggies (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers). Use as for a tomato sauce, on steamed or roasted veggies, on grains…it’s quite delicious in its own right, not simply as a substitute sauce. It also freezes well.

1 butternut or other winter squash (or 2 lbs carrots)
2 small beets, scrubbed
vegetable broth (or other broth or water)
3 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1-1/2 t honey, or to taste
2 T red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf, broken in half
1 to 2 t dried basil
1 to 2 t dried oregano
1/4 t dried rosemary
1/4 t dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Place squash (pierced in a couple of places) and beets on a baking sheet. Roast at 350 degrees until both are tender–about an hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool. (If using carrots, scrub, then chop and steam until tender.)

2. When cool enough to handle cut squash open, remove seeds and then the flesh. Put in the bowl of a food processor. Peel beets (or not), quarter and add to food processor. Purée until smooth, adding enough vegetable broth or water to achieve the consistency of a tomato purée. This may have to be done in batches. Set aside.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook, stirring now and then, until limp and translucent and just starting to brown around the edges, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the squash and beet purée, the honey, and vinegar. Reduce the heat to a low simmer.

4. Add the split bay leaf, and the rest of the herbs. Add plenty of black pepper, too. Let simmer until the mixture is thick and has the consistency of a sauce, maybe half an hour.

5. Taste for seasonings. You may want to add some more vinegar, or not. Now is the time to add some salt. If possible let this sauce age, refrigerated, for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Reheat and remove bay leaf pieces before serving.