Making your favorite meal and realizing you need a tomato paste substitute can be a stressful situation, but just what you need might be hiding in your pantry.
What Is Tomato Paste?
Tomato paste is concentrated tomatoes that is made by peeling and removing the seeds from the tomato and reducing the water content for hours until a thick and deep red paste is left over. It has a strong concentrated tomato taste, ideal for cooking tomato-based dishes or sauces.
5 Best Tomato Paste Substitute Options
1. Ketchup or Tomato Sauce
Ketchup is an ideal replacement for tomato paste since it is also a concentrated tomato sauce, but the added spices, sugar, and vinegar might add a tang to your dish. Depending on the consistency of your ketchup or canned tomato sauce, follow My Frugal Home’s recipe to replace ketchup or tomato sauce with a tomato paste replacement.
How to Use Ketchup or Tomato Sauce
For ketchup, you can use a 1:1 ratio. But for canned tomato sauce, use twice as much as you would have used tomato paste.
2. Tomato Puree
Tomato puree is only a few steps away from being tomato paste, so follow the very simple guide from Delightful Mom Food to make your own tomato paste, and freeze some for future use.
How to Use Tomato Puree
Use three times as much tomato puree as tomato paste in your recipe.
3. Nomato Paste
This clever tomato-free paste using butternut and beet is perfect if you don’t want any tomato flavor in your dish. You can find the recipe from Savory Nature.
How to Use Nomato Paste
You can use your tomato paste in a 1:1 ratio in your recipes.
4. Homemade Tomato Paste
Using fresh tomatoes, you can make your own if you have the time to do so. Give Recipe shows you how to use only a few basic ingredients to make your own preservative-free tomato paste.
How to Use Homemade Tomato Paste
Use it exactly as you would have used store-bought tomato paste.
5. Red Pepper Paste
If you can find red pepper paste, it will make a great substitute for tomato paste, but Lady Lee’s Home shows you how to make it yourself if you’re looking for a tomato-free tomato paste substitute.
How to Use Red Pepper Paste
You can use red pepper paste in a 1:1 ratio in your recipes for a tomato-free tomato paste substitute.
Ways to Thicken Sauce Without Tomato Paste
- Let it simmer and reduce – you can just let your sauce simmer over low heat until enough water has vaporized and reduce the sauce to a thicker consistency.
- Add canned tomato sauce – a simple and tasty way to thicken your sauces, just add a can of tomato sauce and let it heat thoroughly for about 5 minutes.
- Corn starch – make a slurry of equal parts water and cornstarch in a separate container and once it’s thoroughly mixed and clump-free, add it to your sauce. 2-3 tablespoons should do the trick. Wait about 5 minutes for it to cook in your sauce.
- Pasta water – if you plan to make pasta with your sauce, reserve about half a cup of the starch-filled pasta water to add to your sauce.
- Mashed potatoes – it will add some creaminess to your sauce if you plan on adding some mashed potatoes as a thickener. ½ cup mashed potato flakes work well too.
- Potato starch – if you have a pot of boiling potatoes, reserve about ½ cup to add to your sauce as the water will contain potato starch and thicken your sauce.
- Meat – if you want to add a meaty element to your sauce as well as thicken it up, adding ground meat to your sauce will be a great option.
- Vegetables – adding finely chopped vegetables into your sauce will help to thicken it up whilst giving you the health benefit of veggies.
What Is the Point of Tomato Paste?
The point of tomato paste is to be a concentrated, flavor-packed paste that is often used as the base of sauces to add flavor to dishes and to thicken up sauces, stews, and soups.
Is Tomato Paste Healthier Than Tomato Sauce?
Tomato paste is healthier than tomato sauce because it has more nutritional value. Tomato sauce has many other ingredients added, such as vinegar, sugar, and spices. Whereas, tomato paste is simply tomatoes and salt cooked down to a concentrated and dense form.
Concentrated tomatoes are a good source of antioxidants with high levels of daily recommended vitamins. Therefore, tomato paste provides many health benefits such as improved skin health and heart health and protection against some forms of cancer.
Why Would You Need a Substitute for Tomato Paste?
You might need a substitute for tomato paste if you have run out. Or you simply might not want to include the paste in your cooking.
Whether you can’t make a trip to the grocery store to top up on tomato paste, or you don’t like the taste it gives your dishes, there are many tomato paste substitute optionsthat are simple and easy to add to your recipes.