4 Best Tomato Purée Substitutes for Cooking
In this article, we share some of the best tomato purée substitutes you can find at home. We’ll also tackle making your own tomato purée at home.
Tomatoes don’t just add color to a dish, they also provide remarkable taste and myriad health benefits. Anywhere in the world, this fruit is used for a variety of culinary applications, from salads to stews, grilling, and others.
Tomato purée thickens the consistency of dishes and has a deeper flavor than normal sauce or tomato paste.
Finding a substitute for tomato puree isn’t hard, in fact, you can even make it from scratch.
Best Tomato Purée Substitutes
While this ingredient is widely available and obviously common, there will be times when you run out of it.
And making it from scratch might take longer than simply using an alternative. If you run out of tomato purée, grab one of these as a replacement.
1. Canned Tomatoes
If you want to get the flavor and thickness of purée, the canned variety is a good choice. It is readily available, so you will not have a problem finding any.
Simply strain the chunks to get rid of the canning juice.
It won’t be as concentrated as tomato paste, so double the amount to get your desired flavoring.
Tip: Use two tablespoons of strained canned tomatoes for every teaspoon of purée. Add salt if you want to.
2. Tomato Sauce
By far the closest replacement for purée is tomato sauce. The only problem is the texture and thickness, as tomato sauces don’t have chunks and skin.
It’s a processed type of tomato, which is both good and bad. On the good side, the flavor is already there.
It has an enhanced taste and you don’t need to add anything unless you like other spices.
The downside is the consistency, but to correct this you can simply add cooked fresh tomatoes. This will make the consistency perfect for meatballs or stews.
3. Tomato Paste
If the texture isn’t an issue, then tomato paste makes a good tomato purée substitute. The concentrated taste is close to purée.
You will, however, have to adjust the consistency to make up for the thickness of the paste. It’s incredibly easy to fix this, just add water.
Take it easy on the water though so the consistency doesn’t get watery. Just a few teaspoons will work; and if you have fresh tomatoes, add a few chunks into the mixture.
This might not be the best ingredient to replace purée, but if you don’t have sauce, paste, or canned tomatoes, then ketchup will work.
Take note that purée tastes mild and ketchup has a strong flavor, so try to neutralize the taste a bit. Ketchup is also not suited for cooking something that uses purée as the base flavor.
It will only work for recipes that require small amounts of tomato purée.
To alter the flavor, add water, but not too much, taste as you go along to make sure you don’t overdo it.
Health Benefits of Tomato Purée
Strained chunks of red tomatoes stand as an important pillar in Italian culinary.
From thickening spaghetti sauce to creating meatballs, refreshing cocktails, and stews, Italian cooks know the value of this hearty ingredient.
Aside from their delicious tastes, tomatoes have many health benefits.
Cornell backed up the claim of how healthy red tomatoes are, citing that this fruit makes the heart healthy and boosts the body’s cancer-fighting ability.
During the process of cooking tomatoes, the heat raises beneficial compounds called phytochemicals. These compounds enhance the nutritional value of the meal, all the while increasing the antioxidant levels by 62 percent.
The lycopene content responsible for the fruit’s red color is a powerful antioxidant that decreases the risk of heart disease and even cancer.
Combined with other phenolic acids and flavonoids, eating this fruit is definitely nutritious.
Distinguishing Tomato Purée in US and UK
Most tomato canning companies in the United States pack whole or chopped tomatoes in their cans rather than juice.
The chunks of tomatoes are cooked, then strained to reach the consistency of the chunks.
Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, what people refer to as tomato purée is known as tomato paste in the US.
Paste and the purée are completely different as paste has no tomato skin and the latter does.
So when buying in the UK, look at the label to see if the canned tomato variant has skin and is partially cooked.
Finding tomato purée substitutes is easy because a lot of tomato products are readily available.
Depending on the recipe that you follow, you can use tomato-based ingredients with varying concentration, taste, and consistency.
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