Looking for ideas for replacing tomato paste in your cooking? Sure, tomato paste is not something that every grocery store carries, but don’t worry because there are plenty of substitutes for it. This article will give you some creative alternatives to tomato paste to use in your cooking.
Why Substitutes for Tomato Paste?
Tomato paste is a concentrated form of tomatoes. It’s made by cooking down whole or diced tomatoes until the pulp is thick and almost all the liquid has evaporated. It is typically used as a thickening agent or for adding depth and richness to stews, soups, and sauces. Additionally, tomato paste is a base ingredient for many recipes.
However, substituting tomato paste for another ingredient can be beneficial for several reasons; one may avoid the necessity of going to the store to buy tomato paste, overcome an inconvenience that may arise because of the unavailability of the ingredient, or simply enjoy exploring new flavors.
Substitutes for Tomato Paste
Here are creative substitutes for tomato paste to use in your cooking:
1. Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes are an excellent alternative to tomato paste, especially if you’re looking for a concentrated tomato flavor. It has a sweet but intense flavor that works great in pasta sauces or stews. Sun-dried tomatoes can be purchased dried or packed in oil. When substituting for tomato paste, it’s recommended that you soak the dry sun-dried tomatoes for about 20 minutes before blending them into a smooth paste. Two slices of sun-dried tomatoes (soaked and drained) can replace one tablespoon of tomato paste.
2. Pesto Sauce
If you are looking for a substitute that’s going to add some herbal and nutty flavors to your dish, then pesto sauce is the way to go. It’s made using fresh herbs like basil, pine nuts, and olive oil. While tomato paste is often used as the base ingredient for pasta sauce, pesto sauce can be a great alternative. It’s excellent in soups, stews, and roasted vegetables. One tablespoon of pesto can replace one tablespoon of tomato paste.
When you are out of tomato paste, ketchup can be an easy alternative. Ketchup is less concentrated, but it has a similar tangy and sweet flavor profile as tomato paste. However, it’s important to note that ketchup also contains vinegar, sugar, and other seasoning ingredients. When using ketchup to replace tomato paste, you may want to adjust the amount of salt and sugar in your recipe. One tablespoon of ketchup can replace one tablespoon of tomato paste.
4. Tomato Sauce
Tomato sauce is a slightly thinner, smoother, and more refined version of tomato paste. It’s sweeter and has a milder flavor than tomato paste, but it can still make an excellent substitute. When using tomato sauce instead of tomato paste, you may need to adjust your recipe to make sure it’s not too watery. One tablespoon of tomato sauce can replace one tablespoon of tomato paste.
5. Crushed Tomatoes
Crushed tomatoes are made by crushing whole tomatoes, and it’s a fantastic substitute for tomato paste if you want to maintain a chunky texture in your dish. Crushed tomatoes are less concentrated than tomato paste, but they add a fresh tomato flavor to your dish, making them a great substitute. Two tablespoons of crushed tomatoes can replace one tablespoon of tomato paste.
6. Red Pepper Paste
Red pepper paste is a spicy paste made using red peppers, usually Hatay, Aleppo, or Urfa peppers. It has a unique, spicy flavor that adds heat and depth to your dishes. Red pepper paste may not have the same flavor as tomato paste, but it can replace it when used in spicy dishes. One tablespoon of red pepper paste can replace one tablespoon of tomato paste.
7. Vegetable Broth
If you’re looking for a substitute that’s low in sodium, then vegetable broth is worth considering. It’s made by simmering vegetables, herbs, and spices in water, and it can add flavor and moisture to your recipe. Vegetable broth can work as a substitute when you want to dilute tomato paste’s thickness. Half a cup of vegetable broth can replace one tablespoon of tomato paste.
8. Carrot Juice
Carrot juice can be a fantastic alternative to tomato paste, especially if you’re looking for something with a slightly sweet flavor. You can blend the carrots to make a smooth liquid and add it to your dish. Carrot juice works remarkably well in soup recipes as it creates a vibrant and healthy dish. Carrot juice may not have the same taste as tomato paste, but it can replace it by adding flavor to the dish.
9. Tamarind Pulp
Tamarind pulp is made by boiling tamarind fruit until the pulp has extracted. It has a unique sour flavor that makes it a great substitute for tomato paste. However, tamarind pulp may not be as thick as tomato paste, so you may need to add starch to it to thicken it to the desired consistency. One tablespoon of tamarind pulp can replace one tablespoon of tomato paste.
10. Miso Paste
Miso paste is a great alternative to tomato paste if you want to add a savory flavor to your dish. Miso paste is fermented soybeans, and it has a salty, umami taste that works great in soups and stews. Miso paste may not have the same flavor as tomato paste, but it can replace it when used in savory and umami-rich dishes. One tablespoon of miso paste can replace one tablespoon of tomato paste.
Tomato paste is a common ingredient in many recipes, but it is possible to substitute it with some creative ingredients. Choosing a substitute for tomato paste that suits your need depends on the recipe you are making and the flavor and texture profile you are looking for in the final product. Feel free to experiment with different substitute ingredients to create yourself or your family’s new favorite dishes.
Q: Can I use tomato sauce instead of tomato paste?
A: Yes, you can substitute tomato sauce for tomato paste. However, it’s important to note that tomato sauce is thinner than tomato paste. When using tomato sauce instead of tomato paste, you may need to adjust your recipe to make sure it’s not too watery.
Q: Can I use pizza sauce instead of tomato paste?
A: Yes, you can use pizza sauce as a substitute for tomato paste. Pizza sauce is made using tomato paste and other seasoning ingredients, so it has a similar flavor profile as the tomato paste.
Q: Can I replace tomato paste with tomato juice?
A: No. You should avoid using tomato juice instead of tomato paste. Tomato juice is much thinner and has more liquid than tomato paste, which can impact the texture of your final dish.
- Dafana, I. K. (2021). Red pepper paste: How to make it and where to use it. True Foods Blog. https://www.truefoodsblog.com/2021/03/red-pepper-paste.html
- Penny, B. (2021). 7 Best Tomato Paste Substitutes. Chasing Delights. https://chasingdelights.com/tomato-paste-substitutes/
- Smith, M. (2021). Tomato Paste Substitutes: 14 Easy Ingredients to Try. Better Homes & Gardens. https://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/cooking-basics/tomato-paste-substitute/