Tomatoes provide a fresh and sweet flavor to almost any dish. Whether used as an ingredient or as part of the main meal, it gives an exquisite taste that is unique.
Because of this uniqueness in flavor, texture, and color, it is easy to think replacing it is easy, but it is.
We made a list of items you can use to substitute tomatoes to still achieve the delicious dish you are looking for.
If we have your attention, keep reading for the reasons we suggest these substitutes and recipes you can use them in.
The Best Simple Substitute for Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a common ingredient in many recipes and can make or break a meal.
If you don’t have any extra tomatoes on hand, here are some of the best alternatives to try.
1. Grab a Container of Canned Tomatoes
Canned tomatoes are the most obvious and often used tomato substitute. This alternative is best for dishes you plan on cooking and not so much for recipes that call for fresh.
Canned tomatoes go through a heating and peeling process. They are then cut into bite sized chunks. This process makes the tomato easy to break down in dishes while providing it a bold and zesty flavor.
Learn more: The Best Diced Tomatoes Substitutes
2. What About Pumpkin or Pumpkin Puree
Pumpkin puree is a fantastic option when looking for a tomato alternative. This product can take the place of tomato paste and provide a similar texture.
A quick tip: Adding a little vinegar to your pumpkin can help give it the same acidity level as tomatoes.
3. Olives Can Work Wonders
If an umami taste is what you are after, then olives will make the best substitute for tomatoes in your recipe. Although they may not look very much alike, and the texture is way off, they sure have a similar flavor.
Now, you can’t substitute diner recipes or replace tomatoes in sauces or soups with olives. But, you can use them as an alternative in things such as salads and sides.
4. Mango is a Great Option
You will often find mangos in a wide variety of curries, making them a great alternative to tomatoes.
Ripe mangos are usually very sweet, much different than most tomatoes. For that reason, you should try to chop them up before they become too soft. The firmer the mango, the less ripe it is.
You can use mangos in salsas, toppings, and many other dishes. This fruit is perfect for dishes that would otherwise need tomato chunks.
5. Give Red Bell Peppers a Try
Red bell peppers are easy to find at grocery stores all year round. Or at farmer’s markets during the summer seasons.
These vegetables have the same red coloring and sweet taste as tomatoes. But they differ a little in texture and shape.
You can use red bell peppers in savory recipes that call for tomatoes like curries, salsas, and chilis.
Tip: Red Bell Peppers are also an excellence alternatives if you are allergy to tomato
6. Say Cheese
Cheese is another option when looking for that umami or savory flavor.
While tomatoes are a bit fresher and sweeter, cheese can work well in its place.
Aside from the taste, using cheese in place of tomatoes can give you a great creamy texture.
It might come as a surprise to see cheese on our list, but don’t knock it till you try it.
7. Use a Little Tamarinds
Tamarinds are not as well known as many of the other alternatives we have mentioned so far. Yet, these legumes that are a close relation to the pea family grow in pods and have a taste close to tomatoes.
More often than not, you can get this product in a paste form, and it is best used in dishes that don’t call for much. A little goes a long way with this product, and too much can produce a very potent sour flavor.
Tamarinds are best used in many curry or similar recipes.
8. Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sun dried tomatoes taste fantastic on top of a salad. These items are also used as alternatives on top of pizzas and pasta sauces.
Sun dried tomatoes taste like fresh tomatoes sans the juicy insides. To make sun dried tomatoes, you slice up the fruit and leave it to heat up under the hot sun until all the water dissolves.
You can also dry tomatoes in the oven. We love adding olive oil to the pan for an added crunch and a little extra flavor.
9. Leave it Out
Some recipes will survive a tomato substitute. But, many of them won’t be the same.
If you can get away without adding the tomatoes to your dish, you might want to go that route instead. This might be a better alternative to replacing them.
Many recipes that request tomatoes will taste fine without them. Even so, Make sure you have the rest of the ingredients on hand before passing on this superfood.
What Can You Do With Tomatoes?
Tomatoes are a standard product found in all types of recipes. You can add them to a yummy omelet for breakfast or cut them into cubes for a great topping on your taco.
Tomatoes are also often seen in beverages and even some desserts.
Tomatoes are so versatile because they have a sweet yet savory and earthy taste. These flavors get stronger the more you chew, which is why fresh tomatoes are the best. The oils and juices have a delectable flavor like no other produce.
Great Dishes With Tomatoes as the Main Ingredient
Do you have a bunch of ripped tomatoes sitting around? Put them to good use with these great recipes.
1. Peach and Tomato Caprese Salad
Get recipe: reciperunner.com
If you are on the hunt for a lite, fresh, and fruity dish, then this peach and tomato Caprese salad should hit the spot. Here is a recipe you should try, with tomatoes being the top contender.
Substitute: You can substitute sun-dried tomatoes if you don’t have fresh ones. Red bell peppers would also taste great.
2. Garlic Fried Tomatoes
Get recipe: themediterraneandish.com
You can roast, fry, and bake tomatoes in a variety of ways. And, you can use many different spices to get a fabulous appetizer or entre. Here is one of our favorite ways to spice up tomato slices.
Substitute: This recipe will work with olives, asparagus, or green beans. You can also try substituting mango if you are up for an adventure.
3. Homemade Pizza Sauce
Get recipe: thechunkychef.com
Who doesn’t love a delicious pizza? If this food is a Friday night favorite in your home, why not make it yourself instead of ordering out? Here is a great recipe for an amazing fabulous pizza sauce.
Substitute: No tomatoes? No worries. You can use tomato paste, tomato sauce, or spaghetti sauce instead.
4. Stewed Tomatoes From Scratch
Get recipe: kyleecooks.com
There is nothing better than a go-to stewed tomato recipe. This meal is perfect for a cool fall night or to enjoy in the middle of winter.
The flavor warms you up, and the aroma reminds you of the summer months to come. We love this stewed tomato recipe and think you will too.
Substitute: Instead of fresh tomatoes, use canned tomatoes for the same great flavor.
Up Next: What Can I Substitute for Stewed Tomatoes?
Tomato Substitute FAQs
Can I Substitute Fresh Tomatoes for Canned?
Yes, you can substitute fresh for canned ones. But, fresh tomatoes will have a stronger flavor, and canned tomatoes will be watery.
Can I Use Tomato Soup as a Substitute?
Tomato soup is an ideal substitute for fresh tomatoes in some recipes. It is important to remember that this option will be thicker and won’t be as acidic.
Can I Use Tomato Soup as a Tomato Alternative?
You can use tomato soup as an alternative to dishes like sauces, soups, and stews. Tomato soup is a thick substitute that often has different spices and ingredients. These differences can change the taste considerably.
Is Tomato Allergies a Real Thing?
A true allergy is rare, but sensitivity to acidity is common. Allergies arise in those who have a bad reaction to the protein in the tomato juices.
Are Tomatoes Healthy?
Tomatoes are a healthy option to grab at the grocery store while shopping for your weekly haul.
Tomatoes are a popular superfood. This is because they are full of many essential nutrients your body needs to be at its best.
Tomatoes not only have things like vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. But, they also contain lycopene. Lycopene is a strong antioxidant. Many people believe it prevents and fights illnesses and diseases.
While fresh tomatoes are full of lycopene, canned ones contain a more substantial source. This high concentration is due to the heating process they go through, then they get placed in a jar.
Summing Things Up
We gave you a variety of options when it comes to replacing tomatoes in a recipe to give it a bold and similar taste. The next time you find yourself without, consider using one of these products: Canned tomatoes, Pumpkin, Olives, Mango, Red bell pepper, Cheese, Tamarinds, Sun dried tomatoes.
Up Next: The Best Common Vegetable Substitutes