This past weekend was 4th of July. I think it is totally clear to EVERYONE that that means BBQ time. For someone like me… well, that is challenging. See, after a few years of Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP) I have come to the sad conclusion that nightshades are not my friend. In fact, I think I have concluded that nightshades do, in fact, hate me with every fiber of their lectin. So rather than suffer the days on end of joint pain and skin flares, I try to steer clear of these hateful (and horribly delicious) vegetables.

What is a nightshade? Nightshades are a grouping of over 200 plants that share similar characteristics, like the shape of the bloom and such. The Paleo Mom has a great and pretty concise list of edible nightshades:

  • Ashwagandha
  • Bell peppers (a.k.a. sweet peppers)
  • Bush tomato
  • Cape gooseberry (also known as ground cherries—not to be confused with regular cherries)
  • Cocona
  • Eggplant
  • Garden huckleberry (not to be confused with regular huckleberries)
  • Goji berries (a.k.a. wolfberry)
  • Hot peppers (such as chili peppers, jalapenos, habaneros, chili-based spices, red pepper, cayenne)
  • Kutjera
  • Naranjillas
  • Paprika
  • Pepinos
  • Pimentos
  • Potatoes (but not sweet potatoes)
  • Tamarillos
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomatoes

The Paleo Mom also has a wonderful write-up about WHY nightshades can be so problematic to people with autoimmune issues and why they are eliminated from AIP here

As  you can probably imagine, this makes things (especially those 4th of July BBQs) a little more difficult. Many people are understanding of gluten issues, but nightshades? Well, now you are just making things up. *Sigh* Oh, I wish I were. The thing that makes nightshade avoidance so difficult is that you are not only avoiding the actual fruit or vegetable, but ALL the spice components associated to them as well. I still grieve the loss of paprika, seriously.                                

Over the last few years I have worked on a number of BBQ sauce recipes that are totally night shade free. Some better than others and of course I NEVER write down what I am doing. This past weekend, I solved that problem, recreating and perfecting a recipe I have been working on.

This recipe’s base is mango, but if you hate mango- no worries, it does not taste overly mango-y. It also contains kalamata olives, but much like my popular AIP Chilli recipe, it does not taste olive-y either. The combination of all the ingredients really come together to make a sweet, but not sickeningly sweet, tangy bbq sauce that can be used for many things. We used it this weekend on some local chicken on the grill while we watched the USA dominate the Women’s World Cup. If you can tolerate seeds (not AIP compliant) a teaspoon of cumin and ½ teaspoon of coriander really add to the flavor profile of the sauce, but we liked it just the way it is as well.

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July and here’s to many more AIP friendly BBQs for the rest of the summer!