My Nightshade Alternatives

I’ve talked about nightshades before – what they are and why I don’t eat them.  The response received was great but most were curious about what I used in place of nightshades.  For someone just starting out on a nightshade free journey, it’s useful to have a few tricks up your sleeve.  There are some great nightshade replacement/alternatives that I now use most days and have become so used to, I forget about nightshades altogether.

Nightshade – potato
What I miss – something starchy, soft, comforting and with many cooking variables.
What I use instead – sweet potatoes, white sweet potato, parsnip, celeriac, cassava/yucca.
How I use – in any way I’d use a regular potato – mashed, roasted, chipped, steamed, boiled.  If you’re after something less sweet, use the white sweet potato or yucca.

Nightshade – tomato
What I miss – something sweet but sharp, fresh, juicy and a good tomato sauce.
What I use instead – pomegranate, apricot, peach, nectarine, blueberries, peach, plum, mango, capers, lemon juice & zest, lime juice & zest, butternut squash, sumac.
How I use – in salads (warm or cold) a tart fruit is perfect, such as slightly under ripe blueberries, pomegranate, firm mango, nectarine, lemon and lime for sharpness, or capers for a slightly saltier kick.  For a tomato-esque sauce, pureed butternut squash and courgette works very well.  Sumac is great in dry rubs that need a sweet sharpness.

Nightshade – aubergine/eggplant
What I miss – nothing really as courgette is the perfect replacement and can be used in exactly the same ways.
Alternative – courgette/zuchinni.
How I use – In any way I’d use an aubergine.

Nightshade – sweet peppers
What I miss – the soft, sweetness of a roasted pepper.
Alternatives – courgette/zuchinni, butternut squash, cucumber, celery.
How I use – roasted courgette and butternut squash provide the texture and sweet element.  Cucumber and celery are great in place of raw pepper, in a salad or as a crudité.

Nightshade – chili pepper
What I miss – heat!
Alternatives – black/white/pink pepper, Szechuan pepper, ginger, garlic, mustard, horseradish, wasabi.
How I use – In curries I up the ginger and garlic content, adding a little black or white pepper as well and perhaps some mustard, depending on the flavour of the curry.  For ‘chili’ roasted nuts or similar, wasabi works very well.

Nightshade – paprika/cayenne pepper
What I miss – a sweet, smoky, intense flavour.
Alternative – sumac, cumin, dried ginger, dried mustard powder, dried garlic, smoked garlic, cloves, cinnamon.
How I use – I used to use paprika/cayenne a lot in dry rubs and sauces.  Any of the above can be used in place of them – try out different combinations and see what works best for you.

What are your go-to nightshade alternatives?


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