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Some of the most challenging aspects of following Dr. David Bucholz’s Heal Your Headache guidelines are trying to avoid vinegar, tomatoes, MSG, and citrus. At least one of those three ingredients are found in almost all sauces, particularly commercially made ones. How do you eat flavorful foods without getting a migraine if you can’t eat any of the foods that provide flavor? This Tomato and Vinegar-Free Chili will add plenty of flavor and spice without the migraine-inducing ingredients.
Commercial chili sauce includes tomato puree, vinegar, spice and natural flavorings (both are pseudonyms for MSG), and onions. Between those four ingredients, the sauce contains histamines, tyramines, sulfites, and nitrites – all of which are responsible for triggering migraines. I’ve been working on a safe sauce for over a year now but struggled to find an acceptable base. I finally stumbled across this tamale sauce recipe and realized it would be the perfect base for a migraine-free sauce.
I have to warn you though, this sauce is hot. The base comes from dried red peppers, which you can find in the Hispanic section of many grocery stores. Start by roasting the peppers for about two minutes, until they just start to brown. Soak the peppers in hot water for 30 minutes, then blend all remaining ingredients together. To cut down on the spice, and to create a smoother sauce, you can strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
I do, however, recommend using a high-powered blender. If you’re special enough to own a Vitamix, I’m sure that would work wonderfully. I use the Ninja blender, which does a pretty good job. I frequently find that the blender blade makes smoother sauces and hummus than the food processor blade. But I digress…
The (admittedly strange) secret ingredient to this sauce is the addition of navy beans. You can’t taste the beans, but they help create a smooth, thick texture that is similar to the commercial version. And, of course, beans add a teensy bit of protein that doesn’t exist otherwise.
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