Tomato puree is an ingredient used by many in a lot of recipes. Whether it is curries or certain sauces, some recipes are just plain incomplete without tomato puree. However, if you are all out of this ingredient, I have brought for you the best tomato puree substitutes.
I am sure tomato puree is very easily available around you, or you may have some stored in your fridge. But, if you do not want to go out to buy some, there are a lot of substitutes available for the same. This article is a guide to finding the best tomato puree substitutes.
Yes, I know you want me to get to the point and tell you what the best substitutes are. The best tomato puree substitutes are tomato paste, canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce, red bell peppers and yogurt.
But, let me give you a brief explanation about tomato puree before I tell you about the substitutes. Once you know a little bit about tomato puree, you will find it much easier to pick what substitute works best for your recipe.
Quick Peek: Tomato Puree
This section is basically tomato puree 101. You will get to understand what the ingredient is and what its consistency and texture are like. Along with that, you will also get to know its uses and nutritional values.
What Is Tomato Puree?
Before I tell you about tomato puree, let me give you a brief introduction to tomatoes. Tomato is the edible berry of the tomato plant, which is also known by the name Solanum Lycopersicum.
Tomato species originated in western South America, Mexico and Central America. The domestication and cultivation of tomatoes are believed to have originated with the natives of Mexico. The Spanish were the ones who introduced tomatoes to Europe.
After that, tomatoes were introduced to other parts of the European colonized world and are now one of the most used fruits all over the world. Tomato puree is a form of processed tomatoes available in the market.
Tomato puree is a thick liquid that is made by cooking and straining tomatoes. Usually, most countries that do produce tomato puree make it without any additives. However, there are various companies that have a lot of additive flavors added to the tomato puree.
Describing Tomato Puree: Flavor And Texture
Tomato puree is made by cooking and straining tomatoes. The cooking process results in a product that has a thick consistency which is almost like a sauce. Tomato puree is often confused with tomato paste. However, tomato paste is in a much more concentrated form.
The flavor of tomato puree is extremely rich in tomatoes. As mentioned before, most manufacturers make tomato puree without additives, so the flavor of tomato puree is sour and rich. However, even with the addition of flavoring, the predominant flavor still remains sour.
Uses Of Tomato Puree
Tomatoes, being one of the most versatile ingredients used worldwide, have a lot of uses. The same goes with their processed form, which is tomato puree. The main use of this ingredient is to make the base for sauces and curries.
Tomato puree is used in most parts of the world to make bases for different sauces. Let us discover its uses based on a few countries from around the world. If we talk about Italy, tomato puree is quite often used as a quick substitute for fresh tomatoes in various sauces.
These sauces can range from marinara to Pomodoro sauce. In Mexico, tomato puree is used to make salsa and various other dips. In the Indian subcontinent, tomato puree forms the base for various curries, such as makhani curry. You can also add tomato puree to pasta bakes.
Tomato Puree On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Tomatoes, in general, are a very healthy fruit with a lot of health benefits revolving around them. As tomato puree is essentially just cooked tomatoes, it also has almost the same benefits. First, let me start with the nutritional values, then I will move on to the health benefits.
Let us take one cup or 250 grams of tomato puree as the base value. This amount contains only 95 calories, out of which only 4.7 calories are from fat. This is because tomatoes have 95% water content in them.
Tomato puree has barely any fat content with no saturated fats or cholesterol. It has a small number of carbohydrates and proteins along with a small quantity of sodium. Tomato puree is rich in dietary fiber, along with potassium, iron and vitamins A, C and B6.
Now let me tell you about some health benefits. Tomatoes are good for the skin, which in turn makes tomato puree good too. Other than that, certain studies have shown that tomato puree may reduce the risk of certain cancers, improve heart health and helps maintain blood pressure.
Why Use A Substitute For Tomato Puree?
As tomato puree is a vital ingredient in various sauces, curries and condiments, some of you may find it absurd to use a substitute for it. I agree; it is a great ingredient. But, I can give you a few positive reasons why you can consider using a substitute.
To start off, I would like to mention tomato allergies. Yes, tomato puree is sometimes irreplaceable in recipes. But for those who are allergic to tomatoes, there is no other option but to use a substitute.
So, if you have a tomato allergy, you can use a substitute for tomato puree. Moreover, some people find the taste of tomato puree too sour. There are many places where the tomato puree available usually has additive flavors in it, which may make it too sour.
So, using a less sour, tomato-based substitute may work well for you in such a situation. Lastly, in case you just forgot to stock up on tomato puree, you can use a substitute. If you are all out of tomato puree, there are certain substitutes that you may have in your pantry.
I do believe that this much information on tomato puree should suffice for everyone. So, without making you wait any further, let me take you to the best substitutes that you can use in place of tomato puree.
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7 Best Tomato Puree Substitutes
This section has the best tomato puree substitutes for you. You will get to know how each substitute can work in place of tomato puree, along with knowing their ratios of substitution.
1. Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is made by reducing the liquid in tomato puree. It has an intense flavor of tomatoes, more concentrated than that of tomato puree and offers the exact same flavor profile overall, making it a great substitute.
Tomato paste is one of the best substitute options you can use in place of tomato puree, as they are essentially almost the same thing. Tomato paste is often used in recipes, especially sauces and curries where you would just want the flavor.
Tomato paste is, however, not used in the same quantity as tomato puree, as the flavor is extremely concentrated. To use it as a substitute for tomato puree, you can use ⅓ cup of tomato paste mixed with ⅔ cup of water to substitute for one cup of tomato puree.
This combination can be used to make sauces, curry bases and even soups and stews. Moreover, tomato paste can also be used in marinades and meat rubs, making it a big plus. The consistency will be a little thinner due to the water. However, it will still work.
2. Canned Tomatoes
Canned tomatoes are essentially tomato puree, just not in a pureed form. They have a different and more chunky texture. However, the flavor profile is quite intense and similar to that of tomato puree, making it a good substitute.
Canned tomatoes are a good option to use in recipes where a chunky texture would not make much of a difference. Certain sauces and curry bases, in fact, want a chunkier texture, so canned tomatoes can be a perfect fit in such situations.
Other than that, in case you want a fine puree to work with, you can blend the canned tomatoes in a food processor to get a finer texture. As their consistency and flavors will be the same, you can follow a 1:1 ratio for substitution.
3. Fresh Tomatoes
Fresh tomatoes are probably the best option as a substitute for tomato puree, as tomato puree is made with tomatoes. The flavor and texture of fresh tomatoes are different. However, there are ways you can make them work as a good substitute.
As you may have heard before, fresh is always the way to go. So, that itself makes fresh tomatoes a great choice as a substitute. Fresh tomatoes are, however, very sharp and acidic as compared to the tomato puree.
So, to use them in place of tomato puree in any recipe, you will have to cook them first. There are two ways of doing so. In case your recipe can use a base with a chunky texture, you can use fresh tomatoes directly in the recipe and cook them.
However, if you are seeking a smoother texture, you can cook or blanch the fresh tomatoes and then turn them into puree with a food processor. This can be used as a substitute in a 1:1 ratio.
4. Tomato Sauce
Tomato sauce is usually tomato puree with some added herbs and spices to it. Though there are various varieties available in the market, the classic form of tomato sauce works as a substitute for tomato puree.
You will definitely find a number of sauces in the market when it comes to tomato sauce. Some of them have a lot of fancy herbs, spices and even certain vegetables added to them. However, that is not usually the case with classic tomato sauces.
Classic tomato sauces have added onion and garlic to them, which give them a flavor profile only mildly different from tomato puree. The texture of the two is the same, so you can use tomato sauce as a base for various sauces and curries.
If you find the flavor of onion, garlic or any other ingredient overpowering, you can adjust the quantities of those particular ingredients in the rest of the recipe. Use tomato sauce as a tomato puree substitute in a 1:1 ratio.
5. Red Bell Peppers
If you are looking for tomato puree substitutes that are not tomato-based, red bell peppers are your best bet. Red bell peppers have the same color and slight sweetness as tomatoes do, making them a good tomato puree substitute.
Yes, red bell peppers do lack the acidity that tomatoes or tomato puree have. However, you can make up for that by adding an extra acidic agent to your recipe. To use red bell peppers as sauce or gravy bases, it is best to roast them first.
Roasting the bell peppers will bring out a charred flavor which will work well in most recipes. Once these peppers are roasted, you can puree them and voila! You can use a red pepper puree in place of a tomato puree.
This option is great for people who have a tomato allergy or for those who find tomatoes way too acidic and sour. To adjust the acidity, in case you want to, lemon juice or vinegar will work just as well. Do a direct swap during substitution.
6. Tamarind Paste
Tamarind paste is made with the fruit of the tamarind plant. It naturally has a sour taste. This option may not sound too conventional, but in recipes where you use tomato puree just for the sour flavor, tamarind paste can work as a substitute.
For those who know what tamarind paste tastes like, it has an extremely sour taste. However, to get a little balance of sweetness similar to that of tomato puree, you can add some brown sugar to it.
This combination will, of course, not work in recipes where tomatoes or tomato puree is the hero of the sauce. However, there are various recipes where tomato puree is added in small quantities just to get the sweet and sour taste.
So, in recipes like these, a combination of tamarind paste with brown sugar will give you the desired sweet and sour flavor that you need. To use it as a substitute, you can do a direct swap. However, make sure you only use it in recipes with small quantities of it.
Yogurt is a dairy product made by the natural fermentation of milk. It has a sour taste which it usually imparts to various recipes. In recipes where tomato puree is used in small quantities, yogurt can be used as a substitute for the same.
Yogurt is again a good option to use if you want a substitute that is not necessarily tomato-based. But, do remember that yogurt cannot work in place of tomato puree in recipes where tomatoes are the hero of the dish.
It is a good option to use just to get the sour flavor, similar to tomatoes. Moreover, you will have to make sure that you add yogurt at the end and not at the beginning of cooking a dish as you do with tomato puree.
This is because when yogurt is subjected to very high temperatures, it will split. To get the best results, use unsweetened and plain yogurt. You can follow a 1:1 ratio while using yogurt as a substitute for tomato puree.
Short Recap For Best Tomato Puree Substitutes
That was not a very long, but definitely an informative list of substitutes for tomato puree. I know most of you have probably picked your substitute now. But, I still want to make it easier for everyone by classifying the substitutes further.
Best Tomato Puree Substitutes In Terms Of Flavor:
- Tomato Paste
- Canned Tomatoes
Best Tomato Puree Substitutes In Terms Of Texture:
- Red Bell Peppers
- Canned Tomatoes
- Tomato Sauce
Substitutes To Consider Only When You Are Out Of Other Options:
- Tamarind Paste
How To Substitute Tomato Puree In A Recipe
Tomato Puree Substitutes
- Tomato Paste
- Canned Tomatoes
- Fresh Tomatoes
- Tomato Sauce
- Red Bell Peppers
- Tamarind Paste
- Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
- Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
- Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tomato puree is an extremely useful ingredient used as a base for various sauces and curries. Though many people may find that the flavor of tomato puree is irreplaceable, there are various substitutes that are not tomato-based and will also give you a similar flavor.
Tamarind paste and yogurt are two examples of these. However, I would highly recommend going through the recipe properly. Then decide which substitute you would want to pick as certain substitutes will not work in recipes with high quantities of tomato puree.
So, depending on what sort of flavor and texture you are looking for, you can pick your favorite substitute. Yes, the non tomato-based substitute options may seem a little out there. But, they can all work well if you just adjust the flavors of your recipe!
So, whenever you use one of the substitutes, do let me know in the comments how your recipe turned out. I am sure you will be left really satisfied with the substitutes too. Until the, I will see you next time and I hope you have a blast while cooking!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is tomato paste the same as tomato puree?
No, tomato paste is a more concentrated form of tomato puree.
Can I make tomato puree from canned tomatoes?
Yes, you can blend canned tomatoes in a food processor or blender and make tomato puree.
What is tomato puree used for?
Tomato puree is used to make various dips, sauces and gravies.
Does tomato puree thicken sauces?
Yes, tomato puree naturally makes thick sauces.
Do you need to cook tomato puree?
Yes, tomato puree does need to be cooked.