18 Tomato Paste Substitutes Revealed
You may be the most cautious foodie out there. But from time to time, you’ll find yourself out of something crucial. Odds are your pantry isn’t well-stocked all the time, and, more often than not, you find yourself with no tomato paste.
What can you do? You can learn the hard way to find a fast solution to finish your meal. Or, you can change the menu, right? How about you keeping to it and using one of these 18 substitutes for tomato paste!
1. Tomato sauce or tomato puree can be the next best thing
Do you have tomato sauce or puree in the fridge or the pantry? You can definitely sub tomato paste for tomato sauce or purée. You will add the flavor of tomatoes in a jiffy.
The only thing is you have to add twice the amount of sauce or purée to obtain the same flavor. In such cases, you have to adjust the recipe as well, since you may make it a runnier, thinner consistency.
2. What can you replace tomato paste with? Try canned tomatoes!
Do you have canned tomatoes? You can use them instead of tomato paste. Don’t sweat it! You just have to add a thickening agent or maybe strain out the liquid and only use the solids.
Canned tomatoes will not be as concentrated as the paste, so you have to use twice the amount the recipe asks for. You can dice them, pulverize them, even make them into a sauce.
3. Fresh tomatoes can be good substitutes for tomato paste
Raid the fridge! Do you have some fresh tomatoes around? Well, then you’ve got this! Peeling and mashing fresh tomatoes can add the flavor you want to your food.
If you simply dice them, expect a bite when it comes to texture. Also, the appropriate amount is 3:1 when using fresh tomatoes in place of paste.
4. Tomato soup will do
Canned tomato soup is one way to go if you don’t have the paste around. It’s thinner in consistency and can make your recipe a little more liquid, but it will do. It will also be sweeter, but who hates that, right?
We recommend that when using it as a substitute tomato paste in beef or any other stew, add the soup, let the liquid simmer out, and only keep the amazing flavor.
OK, so this is happening! Yes, ketchup can be a good alternative. Ketchup is already concentrated, so it will add both flavor and that thickening you are looking for. When using ketchup as a tomato paste substitute, take the amount of sweetness into consideration.
Ketchup contains other ingredients, such as sugar, salt, even vinegar or onion, and garlic. So, make sure to adjust your recipe.
6. Tomato passata
Passata is tomato paste that hasn’t been concentrated. It contains more moisture, but other than that, if you’ve got it around, use it. You can cook it a little beforehand to reduce the liquid. And if the recipe won’t get ruined by simply adding it to your ingredients, simply pour it in.
You need to use it in a ratio of 3:1.
7. Diced tomatoes will work
You can substitute tomato sauce for diced tomatoes. And the paste too! If you have a can of diced tomatoes, they will add the flavor you want. In terms of consistency, best to pre-cook them to reduce the amount of liquid.
8. Marinara sauce
Marinara sauce, a delicious Italian sauce, will usually have extra flavors such as onion, garlic, or basil, but you’ll get yours! You should use about 2:1 as a ratio.
9. How about some pizza sauce?
One of the best substitutes for tomato paste you can use in case of emergency is pizza sauce! The thing with pizza sauce is that it usually contains spices and other flavorings.
You can expect some garlic, onion, oregano, pepper, or basil, but in most cases, these aromas will not ruin your dish. A 1:1 ratio will do.
10. Roasted tomatoes for extra flavor
So you don’t have any tomato paste around. But you do have some fresh tomatoes, right? If you want some extra flavor, throw the red veggies (yes, yes, we know they’re fruit!) in the oven and roast them.
Roasted tomatoes will make a mean purée with an intense, rich flavor. Not only will they add depth of flavor, but you will peel them easier too. Add some olive oil to intensify the taste!
11. Red pepper purée can be a good sub for tomato paste
Not only ketchup makes a good alternative in chili! Red pepper purée can also be a good substitute for tomato paste. In fact, this mixture will work in any recipe that requires a red sauce.
Red pepper purée also packs some smokiness since the veggies are previously roasted and they will add a glossy, rich finish. This ingredient will not offer that tomato tanginess and aroma. Nor that thick consistency. But it will give a deep, amazing taste. Use one dollop of red pepper purée for every dollop of tomato paste.
12. Olive tapenade, if you can handle the change in flavor profile
This ingredient will add some consistency. And a lot of flavor. It will be a different type of flavor, but nevertheless, if the recipe can tolerate it, go for it.
13. Salsa verde for the taste, if you don’t need the coloring
If your recipe stands without the coloring from tomatoes, salsa verde, aka green salsa is a good option. Tomatillos (green tomatoes) will give you the aroma you’re seeking.
This mixture will, however, be thinner in terms of consistency, but you can let it simmer or adjust your liquid intake. For the redness, add some paprika or maybe even the next combination coming up!
14. Red wine and cornstarch, in case of emergency
OK, so this is an eccentric combo! But red wine mixed with a little cornstarch makes a great tomato paste replacement. Such an option is also great if you have a tomato allergy.
Basically, the red wine brings the color and the starch brings the thickness. And it pretty much works in everything.
15. Nomato sauce: a good substitute for tomato sauce allergy
What is nomato sauce? This kind of sauce is ideal for people with tomato allergies. A sauce containing no tomatoes usually has beets, onion, garlic, balsamic, another type of vinegar, oil.
The ingredients are simmered, puréed in a food processor, and then used in various recipes. The flavor resembles tomato paste and the color too.
16. Just for the color, raid the sauces: these can make good substitutes for tomato paste
The following sauces and pastes bring umami to the table and add some color. Any of them will change the flavor profile of the dish and they are also extra salty, so take that into consideration.
- Oyster sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- Soy sauce
17. If you want tomato paste as a thickening agent, try this
Many of us reach for the tomato paste to thicken our sauces, soups, stews. Tomato sauce is very concentrated and will add flavor while absorbing the liquid and making it creamier. But if you don’t have tomato paste, you can still thicken your liquid-based foods. A couple of ways to replace tomato paste in stews, soups, sauces are:
- Flour-based roux
- Cornstarch slurry
- Simply reduce the heat and let the excess liquid evaporate.
18. Extra seasoning: how about some paprika?
So, if there are no other ways around it and you have none of the ingredients we’ve mentioned here, you can go for a ballsy move! While you won’t get the same glossy, shiny, thick consistency with paprika, you will get the change in color. And a boost of flavor. Well, not the tomato taste, but the red pepper taste, which is also great.
You would have thought there’d only be a couple of alternatives, right? Or maybe you thought you’d have to change your menu and that’s that. But there are so many substitutes for tomato paste for you to try. And if you’ve got some extras, do share!