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20 Simple Nightshade-Free Recipes

Written by Sara Nelson on March 17, 2021


If you are considering eating a diet free from nightshades, you may be unsure of what to include in your meal plan. First, it's important to dig into the background of nightshades, the AIP diet, and what ingredient substitutions are available to you.

What are nightshades?

Nightshade vegetables refer to the edible parts of flowering plants. These plants belong to the Solanaceae family and are high in solanine, a naturally-occurring toxic compound, and contain alkaloids, which can cause inflammation in some people. Alkaloids are often found in the leaves and stems of nightshade plants. They taste bitter and can function as a natural insect repellent.

The nightshade family consists of more than 2,000 varieties of plants, but most of those aren't eaten as food, and some are even poisonous. The ones that are most commonly eaten are peppers, eggplant, white potatoes, and tomatoes.

Overview of AIP

The autoimmune protocol diet is a short-term elimination diet that is an extension of the paleo diet. Those who follow an AIP diet follow the guidelines of paleo by omitting sugar, dairy, gluten, grains, legumes, as well as omitting nightshades, eggs, nuts, seeds, and natural sweeteners, like stevia, to avoid triggering an autoimmune response.

Those who follow AIP typically adhere to the diet's guidelines for several weeks up to a few months before carefully reintroducing foods that the person had previously eliminated. During the reintroduction phase, they will note any new or worsening symptoms as it can mean the need to remove that food from their diet for the foreseeable future.

Common nightshade ingredient substitutions

If you need substitutions for common nightshade vegetables, try out these suggestions:

  • Sweet potatoes are technically yams and can be substituted for any potato.
  • Pesto or olive oil on pasta or pizza rather than marinara sauce.
  • Zucchini instead of eggplant.
  • Black pepper in place of red pepper flakes.

Now that you understand nightshades and why you may need to eliminate them from your diet, browse through these 20 nightshade-free recipes.

1. Tomato-less Marinara Sauce

Made with a combination of beets, carrots, onions, lemon, garlic, this marinara sauce is free from tomatoes, a nightshade, and would make for a perfect alternative for your spaghetti night!

To make it, you will need to soften the vegetables on the stovetop before blending them all with salt and lemon juice. It is one of our favorite no nightshade recipes!

Get the recipe from Detoxinista.

2. Creamy Skillet Chicken With Garlic & Basil

This Creamy Skillet Chicken with Garlic and Basil is a one-pan dish that can be prepared and served in just 30 minutes. It's a Whole30-compliant recipe that is also keto-friendly.

Be sure to review the list of ingredients for the proper ingredient omissions to make this a nightshade-free recipe.

Get the recipe from What Great Grandma Ate.

3. AIP Coconut Milk Curry Soup

This curry soup is made with coconut milk and would make for a warming and comforting dish. The key here is to prepare homemade nightshade-free yellow curry paste, linked in the list of ingredients, to use in the soup.

Traditional curry paste is not nightshade-free, so it's important to allow enough time to make the paste before starting to cook the soup.

Get the recipe from Bon Aippetit.

4. Basil Pesto Chicken and Roasted Veggies

If you have fresh basil on-hand, use it up in this delicious pesto chicken with roasted vegetables recipe! Packed with nutrients, this dish includes vegetables like carrots, zucchini, and squash.

Between preparing the ingredients, baking, and serving, be sure to set aside about an hour to have the dish ready for dinner.

Get the full recipe from A Clean Plate.

5. AIP Pad Thai

This Pad Thai recipe is a low-carb alternative to the traditional recipe and can be made nightshade-free by omitting red pepper flakes.

Further, if you follow an AIP diet, this is one of those nightshade-free paleo recipes that you can also easily make AIP-friendly by following the substitution suggestions listed in the Ingredients section.

Get the recipe from Eat Beautiful.

6. Chicken Salad With Lemon and Blueberry

If you need a quick and healthy lunch recipe that doesn't contain nightshades, try this one! This salad contains simple ingredients and the ability to customize based on what you have in your refrigerator and pantry.

The chicken adds a dose of protein to keep you full and focused, the greens are nutrient-dense, the dressing is oil-based, which will keep you satiated, and the berries add a perfect amount of sweetness and flavor.

Get the recipe from Keto Summit.

7. Crispy Baked Chicken Wings With Ginger Lime Sauce

If you are looking for a recipe to serve at an upcoming party or gathering and want to be sure you have a nightshade-free option for yourself, you need to make these! This recipe, as written, does not include any nightshades, so you don't need to reference any substitution guides.

The wings are baked at a lower temperature before being cooked at a much higher temperature to ensure the chicken is cooked through and the skin is extra crispy.

Once they are coated in the Ginger Lime Sauce, they are tangy, flavorful, and absolutely mouthwatering!

Get the recipe from The Castaway Kitchen.

8. Mint Chimichurri Lamb Chops

This show-stopping dinner dish is a winner for evenings you want to impress your guests! The marinated lamb chops are tender and the homemade mint chimichurri sauce is a game-changing topping for your favorite cooked proteins.

You will likely have leftover chimichurri, so be sure to store it to enjoy on other dishes throughout the week!

Get the recipe from What Great Grandma Ate.

9. AIP One Pot Lasagna Skillet

This simple one-pot lasagna recipe is free from nightshades, as well as being grain-free and dairy-free. It is a favorite for many in the AIP diet community.

Made with homemade nightshade-free sauce, this is a weeknight dinner that your family is sure to love!

Get the recipe from Unbound Wellness.

10. Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

It doesn't get more delicious than this Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole! Made with ingredients like ground beef, bacon, and green onion, the dish is brought together by a dairy-free and vegan cheese sauce that may be your new favorite thing!

The cheese sauce is made with sweet potatoes, coconut cream, and gets its cheesy flavor from nutritional yeast. This nightshade-free diet dinner recipe is a total winner!

Get the recipe from Grass Fed Salsa.

11. Instant Pot AIP BBQ Ribs

There are few things better than ribs that are so tender that they fall right off the bone. This particular recipe for BBQ ribs is made without any nightshade-containing ingredients and is also AIP-friendly.

Instead of needing to cook the rack of ribs over the course of a day, these are made much quicker in an Instant Pot by pressure cooking them before broiling them in the oven for a short time.

Get the recipe from Bon Aippetit.

12. Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Soup

This flavorful soup is one of our favorite recipes without nightshades as it contains a healthy dose of protein and is full of nutrients with a variety of vegetables used.

To make it, you'll use one sheet pan for baking both the chicken and the vegetables before blending the baked garlic and onions. You'll then finish off the cooking process by adding the cooked chicken and vegetables along with the remaining ingredients to a pot to meld the flavors together.

Get the recipe from A Clean Plate.

13. Instant Pot Arroz Con Pollo

A dish perfect for meal prep, this Arroz Con Pollo is made in an Instant Pot and yields a total of 6 hearty servings and is an excellent fit for a no nightshade diet.

Rather than white rice, cauliflower rice is used and, to add an extra note of flavor, red wine vinegar is added, which gives the meal a depth of flavor and acidity that will have you coming back for seconds!

Get the recipe from The Castaway Kitchen.

14. AIP Avocado Tuna Salad

If you need an easy-to-make lunch, try one of our favorite gluten-free nightshade-free recipes!

It is made with store-bought tuna and is extra creamy from the use of avocado. This is an AIP-compliant recipe, which is why mayonnaise is not included as mayo contains eggs.

Depending on your personal diet preferences, you can serve the tuna salad on its own in a bowl or atop a slice of bread or bagel.

Get the recipe from Real Balanced.

15. Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza

For an impressive yet simple meal to prepare for a casual date night, try this Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza.

The homemade crust is tigernut flour-based and the ranch is made without any nightshade ingredients.

Atop the crust and ranch, you'll add shredded chicken, bacon, and green onion before slicing and serving! So delicious and filling!

Get the recipe Unbound Wellness.

16. Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse

You can't go wrong with this Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse! Creamy, decadent, and compliant with a diet free from nightshades.

If you follow the autoimmune protocol diet, you can absolutely enjoy this dessert. You'll need to sub in carob powder with cocoa powder at a 1:1 ratio.

After mixing all of the ingredients in a food processor, refrigerate the mousse for an hour and then serve and enjoy!

Get the recipe from Whole New Mom.

17. AIP "Chocolate" Ganache

If you need a ganache recipe for topping your favorite dessert, look no further than this AIP-friendly chocolate ganache. The chocolate flavor stems from the carob powder, a common cocoa powder alternative in AIP recipes.

Get the recipe from Eat Beautiful.

18. Persimmon Latte

This creamy latte is made with persimmons, a fruit that is native to Asia. In the recipe, you'll find options to enjoy it hot or cold.

To make it, you'll need to peel the persimmon and then blend it with coconut milk and cinnamon. It's a fruity and frothy drink that is a great addition to your mornings!

Get the recipe from What Great Grandma Ate.

19. AIP Coconut Milk Matcha Latte

Matcha lattes have increased in popularity in recent years as a morning drink that provides a boost of energy similar to coffee for those who don't enjoy coffee-based beverages.

This particular recipe requires minimal ingredients and, instead of dairy, is made with coconut milk.

Get the full recipe from Bon Aippetit.

20. Easy Cantaloupe Sorbet

This refreshing dessert can be made with minimal ingredients and doesn't require an ice cream maker. With the use of frozen cantaloupe, lemon juice, and sweetener, the resulting sorbet is creamy, smooth, and delicious.

Get the recipe from What Great Grandma Ate.

Final thoughts

It can feel challenging to remove nightshade vegetables from your diet, especially if you cook foods that often contain peppers or tomato-based products.

Our first suggestion is to stick with recipes written to be nightshade-free, like the ones in this list, or review our recommendations in this post about how to substitute nightshade ingredients with safe alternatives.

It is absolutely possible to enjoy a wide variety of foods on this diet and, if you have an autoimmune condition or are sensitive to nightshades, you may be able to reduce or altogether eliminate some or all of your symptoms.

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Sara Nelson

Sara Nelson

Sara Nelson is the food blogger behind, a site dedicated to sharing low-carb, keto, paleo, and primal recipes. Since 2017, Sara has shared delicious, nutritious, and allergy-friendly recipes with her thousands of blog readers and social media followers. Sara lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband, Ryan, and their Boston Terrier, Rowsdower.