Crushed tomatoes are quite a popular food ingredient in daily cooking. They are fixtures in a significant amount of cooking recipes, and they help provide an exceptional taste to what you’re making.
However, like every food ingredient, crushed tomatoes are not immune to substitutions. People have been looking to substitute crushed tomatoes, and looking for a great alternative can bring up several questions. Let’s get to it.
What is the best substitute for crushed tomatoes? The ideal substitute for crushed tomatoes is fresh tomatoes. Both are pretty much the same thing, with the former being just the latter’s crushed version. Of course, you could take fresh tomatoes and process them to give them the same texture and taste as crushed tomatoes.
An Overview of Crushed Tomatoes
Crushed tomatoes are essentially fresh tomatoes that have been crushed and processed. They are ideal ingredients in making several things, including sauce or pasta.
The process of making crushed potatoes is pretty straightforward. However, some people might not have so much time for that. Most people who fall into that category tend to buy crushed tomatoes in grocery stores. Or, they could easily find some alternatives that could fill the same function – albeit with some modifications.
Why Replace Crushed Tomatoes?
- Ease and Convenience: Crushing tomatoes can be a bit of a chore. If you’re not in the mood to do that, you could get a more comfortable alternative to process and incorporate into your meal.
- Non-Availability: If you don’t have crushed tomatoes, you will need to get a substitute to fill the gap out. Instead of changing your recipe, just get a replacement, and you’ll be okay.
- Taste Differences: Crushed tomatoes have a specific thickness to them. For some people, this thickness might not be so palatable. Thankfully, there are alternatives with thinner textures that you can enjoy.
Best Substitutes for Crushed Tomatoes
Best Overall Substitute for Crushed Tomatoes: Fresh Tomatoes
Fresh tomatoes are made from, well, fresh tomatoes. They are the ideal substitutes for crushed tomatoes since they’re pretty much the same thing.
There’s not much to talk about here. Fresh tomatoes provide the same natural taste that you get from crushed tomatoes, and you can get them in pretty much the exact quantities. It’s a win-win, as they say.
To use fresh tomatoes, dice them and put them in a blender or a food processor. Note that you might not want to blend them fully. Doing this will essentially cause them to become like sauce, and you might not want that. However, you will go pretty close on that front.
If you would like, you can season your fresh tomatoes with some cilantro or salt. However, it’s not so necessary if you don’t want to as well.
Finally, you could add some tomato paste to the fresh tomatoes for some additional seasoning. This will give the tomatoes a perfect level of finish and texture.
Best Substitute for Crushed Tomatoes with a Thicker Texture: Tomato Paste
You can also get that lovely, thick texture from tomato paste. While it comes with a thicker texture than what you will get from crushed tomatoes, it still makes for an ideal substitute.
As for the thickness problem, you could check out a few solutions to see how they work for you. First, you could add some fresh or diced tomatoes to the paste and blend the entire thing. This will help to even out the thick texture and help you get things right.
You could also try adding some water to the tomato paste to thin it out and even make it more.
At the same time, keep in mind that you won’t need the same quantity of tomato paste as crushed tomatoes – except you combine the former with something else to arrive at a different thickness level.
Best Substitute for Crushed Tomatoes in Chili: Diced Tomatoes
Diced tomatoes are another attractive homemade option for you. You could make them at home or purchase them elsewhere.
If you’re making the diced tomatoes at home, then you want to use a food processor or a blender to puree them – just like the fresh tomatoes. Remember to watch the thickness in order not to turn them into a regular paste.
Like the fresh tomatoes, you can throw in some tomato puree or tomato paste to build the consistency and flavor. Just do what feels natural and enjoy yourself.
Best Substitute for Crushed Tomatoes in Tomato-Based Meals: Tomato Paste and Tomato Sauce Mixture
Before we go into this, keep in mind that tomato sauce alone can be an effective substitute for crushed tomatoes. However, there is a significant chance that the consistency won’t be the best, and you’ll need to make some changes.
However, if you’re looking to really spruce this substitute up, you could mix some of it with tomato paste. The latter will help to thicken its texture and provide that thickness you need to continue with your recipe.
The solution isn’t so perfect, but it could work based on the situation at hand.
Best Substitute for Crushed Tomatoes in Food Sauce: Pizza or Spaghetti Sauce
The final resort you could look into is spaghetti or pizza sauce. This is a tomato-based sauce as well, so you’re not exactly looking so far out of the acceptable range.
The only challenge is that these sauces come in seasoned packages. So, you might get different flavor packets.
Note that if you’re making a red pasta sauce or pizza, you will find that these sauces can work pretty well. If your recipe covers other things that need crushed tomatoes, however, you could simply season the sauce.