substitute for tomato paste

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If you’re making a recipe that calls for tomato paste and you have none, then you must be trying to figure out what the best tomato paste substitute options are. If you are, then you’re in luck. Here, you’ll find a list of 5 of the best ways to substitute for tomato paste in any recipe.

substitute for tomato paste

Tomato paste or concentrated tomato is a thick, red paste made by cooking fresh tomatoes until the water found naturally in tomatoes are reduced significantly and produces a very concentrated, thick, rich, smooth paste.

Tomato paste is quite popular in cooking and is used to add that natural intense, umami flavor, color and richness to soups, meats, pasta, sauces and many Italian dishes.

But, what if you’re making one of your special dishes and you’re just now realizing that there is no concentrated tomato in your kitchen? You must be wondering if you can use ingredients in your kitchen to replace it.

The good news is that you can and you will see how below.

In order to properly replace tomato paste, you need other tomato based products that share similarities with tomato paste in terms of flavor and texture or, at least some items that can be converted to homemade tomato paste as you will see below.

These include concentrated tomato replacements like tomato puree, tomato passata, tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes and canned tomatoes.

Each of these will be discussed in further details below. You can also keep reading to find out the conversion ratio for each of the items listed here.

Best tomato paste substitute options

Tomato puree

tomato puree is an excellent substitute for tomato paste

Tomato puree is a great option to use as a substitute for concentrated tomato. Tomato puree is usually made with tomato paste, water and citric acid, which means that tomato puree is a more diluted version of tomato paste. Therefore it can work in almost all recipes that call for tomato paste.

To substitute tomato puree for tomato paste, a 3:1 ratio is ideal. This means that you need 3 parts tomato puree to replace 1 part tomato paste. You can use this tomato paste sub as is and the results will be okay.

However, if you want to have a more similar flavor and texture to that of tomato paste, simply cook down the tomato puree. Make sure to stir constantly to prevent burning while the water evaporates so you get that deep, rich concentrated flavor of tomato paste from reduced tomato puree! Also feel free to read more about tomato puree substitutes here.

Tomato sauce

Like tomato puree, you can also use tomato sauce as a substitute for tomato paste. Tomato sauce is basically a cooked, seasoned and canned tomato puree used for sauces, soups, stews and more. It is also quite thin compared to the thickness of tomato paste.

Nonetheless, if you have a can of tomato sauce, you can either use 3 parts tomato sauce to replace 1 part tomato paste. By using it this way, both the flavor and texture will be different.

Or, you can reduce tomato sauce in a saucepan on really low heat until it becomes a thicker paste and use on a 1:1 substitute ratio. This will only work if you have some time to spare.

Tomato passata

tomato passata (1)

Tomato passata can also work as a tomato paste substitute. Tomato passata is a smooth and uniform tomato product made from uncooked, pureed and strained tomatoes. Passata can easily be used in place of tomato paste with a 3:1 ratio. This means for every ⅓ cup of tomato paste needed in a recipe, you can alternate with 1 cup of tomato passata.

However, if the recipe needs the concentrated, rich, tangy flavor of the tomato paste, you can also achieve this result with tomato passata. To do this place the appropriate amount of tomato passata into a saucepan and cook it down on low heat until the water evaporates and the passata is reduced to a thicker, concentrated paste. Use this version on a 1:1 conversion ratio.

Fresh tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes can also be used to replace tomato paste. Since tomato paste is made from tomatoes, you can use some ripe juicy tomatoes to make your own homemade paste quite easily.

To make such a substitute, you will need to chop, cook, then blend your tomatoes. Next strain to remove the seeds and skin. Once these steps are completed, cook down the remaining tomato pulp on very low heat until the water reduces significantly. 

You will be left with a fresh batch of homemade tomato paste made from fresh tomatoes! You can learn how to make tomato paste with fresh tomatoes here.

Canned tomatoes

canned tomatoes

If you happen to have any kind of canned tomatoes like diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, canned crushed tomatoes or whole peeled tomatoes in your home, then you can also use these as a substitute for concentrated tomatoes. 

To use them, simply open up whatever type of canned tomatoes available and pour the contents into a saucepan. Next add a little salt and sugar if you desire, and use an immersion blender to puree the canned tomatoes then bring to a boil.

Once the contents of the saucepan begins to boil reduce the heat to low and let it simmer down so most of the water evaporates. Stir occasionally so the tomatoes do not burn.

The amount of time it takes for canned tomatoes to turn to paste depends entirely on how much you’re making. For example, if you’re using 28 ounces of canned tomatoes, expect for it to take about 45 minutes to an hour until most of the water has evaporated and you have a concentrated paste.

Also, if you find that the flavors aren’t an exact match for store-bought tomato paste in terms of concentration, simply add a little more than the recipe calls for.

If you’ve made enough to store in a jar, top it off with some olive oil to help preserve the homemade tomato paste.

Final thoughts

When it comes to finding good substitutes for food products like tomato paste, it can seem quite hard. After all, tomato paste has a unique flavor that most other tomato based products don’t have naturally. But, with this list, you now know exactly how to turn most tomato products whether it be fresh or canned into your very own homemade tomato paste! With this knowledge, you never have to fret it you run out of the stuff or can’t find it! 

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