Need A Tomato Puree Substitute? Here Are Best Options

Are you looking for a tomato puree substitute? We’ve got you covered. Tomato puree is a common and popular ingredient used in several dishes across many cuisines.

It would be preferable to always have this ingredient in stock, but there are times when you might run out of it. Or, maybe you want to use something else to replace tomato puree for a different reason.

Whatever the situation, these substitutes can save the day. Let’s get started!

Best Tomato Puree Substitutes To Use

1. Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce is a quick and easy replacement for puree. This is another condiment that’s basically available in kitchens across the globe. Sauce is generally pretty close to puree in taste and texture, so it is an excellent choice.

Keep in mind, sauce is usually thinner than puree. So, there might be a need to make some adjustments. One option is to reduce the water content from other sources in the recipe. The other choice is to let the tomato sauce sit on a low flame for a while. Reduce it to the desired consistency before using it in a recipe.

In most cases, you can replace tomato sauce for tomato puree in equal amounts.

2. Marinara Sauce

This is a choice to pick when you’re all out of other options. Marinara sauce will work in a pinch, but you should know exactly what you’re getting into.

Marinara sauce is flavored with herbs, spices, salt, and other ingredients. When you use it for a recipe, there’s a good chance that it will affect the overall taste and flavor. Since the flavoring leans towards Italian food, it will work for dishes like pasta or maybe even soup. 

It won’t work nearly as well with recipes that depend on the neutral flavoring of tomato puree. Where applicable, you can use marinara sauce in equal amounts to tomato puree.

3. Passata

Though something of a rarity in the USA, Passata can still be found at some specialty food stores. This is an excellent replacement for tomato puree. After all, passata is pretty much a tomato puree itself. 

Usually passata has a slightly thinner consistency as compared to the puree. You can slightly adjust the water content of the recipe to make this work. Alternatively, work with the small change in water content and you’re unlikely to see a problem.

Passata can replace tomato puree in a 1:1 ratio. 

4. Fresh Tomatoes

Going with fresh ingredients is also appreciable to any recipe. So, pick up fresh tomatoes to work as your tomato puree stand-in. Well, to be fair, we’ll use these tomatoes to make the puree replacement, but they’re a good place to get started.

It’s a pity that the texture and consistency of tomato puree stop us from simply dicing and putting fresh tomatoes to use. Instead, you’ll have to take on a more hands-on approach. I’ve added the recipe for making tomato puree from fresh tomatoes later in this article.

5. Ketchup

While ketchup has the consistency we want, it shouldn’t be the primary choice to replace tomato puree. Ketchup usually includes several herbs and additives, including vinegar, so it has a rather pronounced flavor and taste. 

So, while it can seem easy and attractive to use ketchup, it will require additional changes to the recipe. That’s not really the best option or choice, so use ketchup only if you’re in a pinch.

6. Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted tomatoes can get you a tomato puree with an intense flavor. It’s all similar to making puree at home, but rather than going with fresh tomatoes in water, we start with roasted tomatoes. The basics are simple enough. Roast some tomatoes with oil and salt in an oven. Once ready, blend them thoroughly to get a suitable substitute for tomato puree.

7. Tomato Paste

Here’s another sensible choice to consider for your recipe. Tomato paste is a quick and easy puree replacement and does this job quite fabulously. Before you start pouring the paste into the dish, remember it’s far more concentrated than tomato puree.

There’s an easy way around this problem. Simply add water to the tomato paste!

Yup, the solution is that simple. In fact, a lot of times puree is made by adding water to tomato paste. The exact ratio can vary depending on your preference for consistency. Generally, you can start with a cup that has ¼ to ⅓ volume filled with tomato paste. Fill up the rest with water and you’ve got a cup of tomato puree. 

Remember to mix it all thoroughly so the paste and water form the right mix and consistency.

8. Pumpkin

Need a non-tomato substitute for the puree? Say hello to the very versatile pumpkin. It has a similar texture to tomato puree and even does good on the overall taste. Pumpkin has low calories and is used for many dishes and desserts.

You can use a fresh pumpkin or pumpkin puree to replace tomato puree. This is not a straightforward substitute. While using pumpkin will have some effect on taste, it can also dramatically affect the visual component (color) of the dish.

9. Pureed Red Bell Pepper

Red bell peppers are another non-tomato alternative that you can consider. The brilliant red color lends itself pretty well for a tomato puree replacement. Once pureed, the red bell peppers take on a similar color and consistency. Since these peppers are rated zero to mild on the Scoville score, their use doesn’t add noticeable heat to the meal.

Note, none of it makes it the perfect replacement. Pureed red bell pepper has a notable and distinct flavor of its own, which won’t go unnoticed in the dish. So, choose a dish where the coloring is important and where you’re willing to sacrifice (or change) the flavor.

More Things To Know About Tomato Puree And How To Work With It

What Is Tomato Puree?

Let’s get the definition going. Conventional tomato puree is made by slightly cooking tomatoes, straining, and boiling them. It doesn’t need the addition of any spices, herbs, or other ingredients. 

Tomato puree is thick and has a good texture. It is often used for making sauce and other tomato-based products. The puree often finds its use in making tomato sauce or thickening other food items, including sauces, stews, and soups.

Homemade Tomato Puree Recipe

Need a tomato puree replacement and have some time on your hands, making a fresh batch of tomato puree can be a rewarding decision. Here’s what you’ll need and how to go about making the puree.

  • Wash the tomatoes under cool water. 
  • Core and seed the tomatoes. You don’t have to be absolutely precise, but remove enough to have a good, plain texture of your sauce. 
  • Remove the peel of the tomatoes and chop them.
  • Put the chopped tomatoes in a large pot that contains enough water to cover all the tomatoes.
  • Bring the mix to a boil and then reduce the heat to low.
  • Let the mix stay undisturbed for about 20 minutes.
  • Check if the consistency and taste match your preference. 
  • If the taste is to your liking, remove the puree from heat and let it cool down for a few minutes.
  • Use a blender to thoroughly mix the puree and give it a nice texture.

Once this puree is ready, you can swap it with the original in a 1:1 ratio.

How To Make Tomato Puree From Tomato Paste

Now that we know how to make tomato puree from fresh tomatoes, let’s see if we can recreate the magic with tomato paste. Since paste is usually created from high quality fresh tomatoes, there’s a good chance we can make a fantastic puree.

Here are the steps to the process for making a cup of puree.

  • Fill anywhere between ¼ to ½ of the cup with tomato puree. The exact amount depends on how thick you want the puree to be. If in doubt, choose filling one-third of the cup.
  • Fill the rest of the cup with water.
  • Blend the mix thoroughly so it takes on a smoother and finer texture.

Don’t store this puree for too long. The faster you use it, the better!

The Bottom Line

Ubiquitous and versatile as it is, there are times when you might need to look for a tomato puree substitute. Several easily available options can come to the rescue of the recipe in this scenario. The best choices are tomato-based options, though I’ve also included a few non-tomato solutions to provide you with more options.

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