We’re all familiar with what tomatoes are – red, juicy, and oh, so nutritious. Think of them as the softer and tangier apple (yes, tomatoes are fruits, we’ve got studies backing us up here). Moreover, these FRUITS are major components in numerous recipes ranging from pasta sauce to soups, chutney, to stews! It’s one thing to learn about this fruit, but another to learn about finding a diced tomatoes substitute.
Why learn about that? Well, while we probably have a bunch of tomatoes lying around in our fridge’s crisper, what can you do when you’ve got no DICED tomatoes? Or worse, what if you run out of tomatoes without knowing? It’s a travesty but a solvable one with the proper alternatives.
- The 13 Best Substitutes for Diced Tomatoes
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping It Up
Read on as we show you the best-diced tomatoes substitute!
The 13 Best Substitutes for Diced Tomatoes
Let’s cut to the chase because come on, we all know what tomatoes are. These are tomatoes that have been diced and cut in fully symmetrical forms. You can either dice it yourself or purchase a can of readymade diced tomatoes to use in numerous recipes.
Fun fact: Diced tomatoes aren't new but became popular during the mid-90s, particularly in Italian-American cuisine.
If you run out of diced tomatoes and need them this instant, try a diced tomatoes substitute from our list below:
1. Fresh Tomatoes
Fresh is best, and you can’t go wrong with fresh tomatoes! If you have no diced tomatoes, simply chop two cups worth of fresh tomatoes for your recipe. While canned diced tomatoes would contain juices, you can use natural juices from your freshly chopped tomatoes.
We highly recommend using Roma and Sam Marzano tomatoes, but there’s no harm with using other tomato varieties. Use this diced tomatoes substitute in every recipe that requires diced tomatoes. The only difference is that you’re using fresh over canned tomatoes, which may make your recipe even better!
2. Whole Peeled Tomatoes
These tomatoes are an excellent diced tomatoes substitute. You can simply use a quarter of these tomatoes, removing the seed and core. Afterward, dice the tomatoes, and you’ve got your alternative already.
Keep the juices of your whole peeled tomatoes, an integral part to recipes! If you aren’t in a hurry, put the diced tomato and juice mixture in a saucepan, letting it boil. Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer until the juices thicken.
Use this diced tomatoes substitute as you would with diced tomatoes when cooking meat, pasta, or as a marinara sauce. The flavor and texture won’t change, making it a perfect diced tomatoes substitute.
3. Tomato Puree
You can use tomato puree as an excellent diced tomatoes substitute, provided that you use an equal 1:1 ratio.
You also need to add tomato puree a bit before you would typically add diced tomatoes because this ingredient requires you to cook it for longer periods. If you cook diced tomatoes for as long as tomato puree, they can add up to becoming soggy and disintegrating.
Cook your puree longer as it would add more flavor and texture to your dish. However, note the brand of tomato puree you use, as it may contain a higher amount of salt and sugar than diced tomatoes.
Tomato puree is a good diced tomatoes substitute in liquid or fairly wet dishes like chili, soup, or stew. They may have slightly different flavors but still a pleasant end result. Never use tomato puree for salsa, though!
4. Tomato Paste
What do you get when mixing diced tomatoes and tomato puree? Tomato paste!
Tomato paste consists of tomatoes with their skin and seeds removed and cooked until it becomes a dense and paste-like texture. It’s highly concentrated with an almost meaty flavor, perfect for thickening sauces like Bolognese and marinara.
5. Tomato Juice
You can purchase tomato juice, or you probably have this in your fridge already. You can even make it on your own by blending tomatoes in a blender. The juices blend until it has a smooth texture, with the option of removing the pulp and seeds.
Use this diced tomatoes substitute in recipes featuring fish, poultry, or meat. You can use this instead of adding broth or water for stews or braised meats. Note that tomato juice contains more acid, which helps break down the meat’s toughness.
6. Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes may not appear as appealing, but inside those wrinkles and tough exteriors come such rich, lovely flavors. Plus, it’s filled with nutrients like vitamin C, iron, folate, and potassium!
We recommend using this diced tomatoes substitute in foods like pasta or pizza.
7. Tomato Soup
This isn’t the best-diced tomatoes substitute for making tomato soup, obviously! But if you have canned tomato soup or leftovers from last night’s dinner, it can help add the tomato flavor to your following recipe. However, the liquid texture can result in a runny consistency with your dish, so it’s best to lessen the liquid ingredients in your recipe.
For every 10.75 ounces of tomato soup, decrease the other liquids by ¼ to ½ cup. Expect a slightly different flavor but with tomatoes still being the primary component.
8. Crushed Tomatoes
You’re probably wondering: What’s the difference between crushed and diced tomatoes? They may sound similar, but diced and crushed tomatoes are two different ingredients that you can use as substitutes for one another.
It’s saucier than diced tomatoes, so we recommend it for sauces, stews, or soups. They come canned, or you can create your own crushed tomatoes with a food processor or blender.
9. Tomato Sauce
This sounds like a weird misspelling for tomato sauce, but you read it right, folks. This is an excellent diced tomatoes substitute for vegans, vegetarians, or those who want more vitamins without carbs like wheat. It has a similar taste and texture to tomato sauce without gluten or animal byproducts.
We recommend using this ingredient for pasta or toppings on finished dishes like chicken and cheese. While fresh tomatoes are vegan and vegetarian-friendly as well, this substitute works if you have no tomatoes at all.
10. Pumpkin Puree and Beets
Allergic to tomatoes? Yikes! We feel bad for you. Kidding, we totally understand because we’ve got our own allergies to other food as well, sadly! But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a similar flavor and texture to diced tomatoes in your recipe.
We consider pumpkin puree and beets a great combination. While that sounds odd, hear us out. This is a flavorful and savory combination of beets and pumpkins, giving you a slightly similar flavor and a ton of nutrients. While it doesn’t have the exact same taste and a totally different texture as diced tomatoes, it’s worth trying.
Plus, you can find readymade mixtures of pumpkin puree and beets in different flavors like cinnamon apple or spicy Italian chili, working for any type of dish.
11. Carrots and Beets
If you’re no fan of beets, skip this substitute! However, we recommend trying this if you want more nutrients and color to your dish. It’s a great diced tomatoes substitute, but you won’t get much of the flavor or texture you’d expect from diced tomatoes – you’ll get a unique taste and just as many nutrients.
12. Red Bell Pepper
Red bell peppers are another fantastic diced tomatoes substitute if you’re not a fan of tomatoes or have allergies. They don’t taste like tomatoes and have a different, crunchier texture, but they’re red, taste great, and add a unique sweetness to dishes.
Try roasting your bell peppers or just peeling and chopping them for your dishes. You’ll also love the nutrients it offers, just like using tomatoes.
Again, you get a different texture and slightly different flavor (you can still taste the tomato there but manufacturers added ingredients like salt and sugar). It’s not for every recipe that calls for diced tomatoes, but worth trying for meat marinades and the like.
But again, we see ketchup as a last-ditch effort or last resort! As much as possible, try using any of the substitutes above before succumbing to ketchup.
Frequently Asked Questions
You might think you know all about diced tomatoes, but maybe you can learn a new thing or two at our frequently asked questions below:
1. What do you do with diced tomatoes?
Check out these standard recipes and ideas to use diced tomatoes in:
- Make sauces for pasta, chilis, or even pizza sauce
- Add diced tomatoes to salsa, mixing them with red onion, garlic, cilantro, jalapenos, and juice
- Use diced tomatoes in soup or even mac & cheese for a burst of flavor!
- We do NOT recommend eating diced tomatoes raw. It’s possible, but you might not like the flavor as you should usually cook them at a long simmer to get rid of the bitter taste.
2. What are the health benefits of tomatoes?
Tomatoes are a primary dietary source of lycopene, an antioxidant linked to numerous health benefits like reduced risk of cancer and heart disease. These fruits contain lots of vitamins C and K, folate, and potassium. That said, tomatoes can cause acid reflux or heartburn because they are somewhat acidic, with a pH level of 4.3-4.9. (*, *)
3. Do diced tomatoes cook down?
Yes, they do. That’s why if you whip up dishes taking longer to cook, then go for more “solid” versions of tomatoes, like whole-peeled tomatoes. The fruit melts down themselves when cooked on prolonged heat, so it’s best not to cut them.
Pro-tip: While you can freeze diced tomatoes, note that they become watery once they thaw. When using frozen diced tomatoes in a sauce, don’t thaw them anymore and add them to the boiling liquid immediately, letting it cook for 1-2 minutes.
Wrapping It Up
Tomatoes are one of the most accessible fruits worldwide, coming in fresh, canned, or any other way, so if you’ve got no diced tomatoes, there’s nothing to worry about. You can find numerous alternatives that capture the tangy flavor you need from diced tomatoes. Sure, the consistency of a diced tomatoes substitute may differ, but it will still have your dish taste amazing.
If you found our diced tomatoes substitute list helpful, check out the other incredible content we offer here at Nomspedia!