Sun-dried tomatoes are perhaps the most famous tomato variant for people looking to spruce up their meals and make them pop.
Today, sun-dried tomatoes work with just about anything – chili, salads, sauce, and much more. However, like every food ingredient, you could get tired of it eventually and want to make a change.
Can you find a substitute for sun-dried tomatoes? Definitely. Sun-dried tomatoes have several replacements, including and especially the homemade variants – homemade sun-dried tomatoes. Most people prefer to get their sun-dried tomatoes from local grocers, but you could make yours and find that there’s no difference whatsoever.
An Overview of Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Primarily, these tomatoes have been a critical fixture in different cuisines worldwide for years. They are perfect with sauces, salads, dips, bruschetta, and much more.
You make sun-dried tomatoes by placing fresh tomatoes in the sun – or a dehydrator – to dry out. They come with oil packs or the usual dry packs, and you can easily find them in your supermarkets.
Both packs taste great, although they will need different handling.
Why Replace Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Shortage: You could have a lack of sun-dried tomatoes around. At the same time, your local grocery store might not have sun-dried tomatoes around. Instead of waiting around, you could just get a substitute.
- The desire for natural tomatoes: They say nothing beats the natural stuff. In a way, this statement holds incredibly true for tomatoes. Sometimes, you just want a more natural option.
- A change of taste: As always, taste is a subjective thing. Sometimes, you want to change your meal and bring something with a slightly different flavor to see how well it will work. In that case, you can find several excellent alternatives.
Options for Sun-Dried Tomatoes’ Substitutes
Top Recommended Substitute: Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes
If you’re looking to harness the taste of sun-dried tomatoes but don’t have any, you could make them yourself. This step is pretty easy and straightforward, and it could even save you a lot of effort, time, and money. With ten medium, ripe tomatoes, you should be able to produce the same thing as an ounce of the regular dun-dried tomatoes.
To get started, you might want to get a tomato knife. For people who chop tomatoes often, this tool can go a long way in making things easier. From there, follow these simple steps:
- Chop some fresh tomatoes and put them in the oven
- Pre-heat the tomatoes to about 135°C, and let them simmer pretty well
- Take your knife and cut the tomatoes in half. Take out all the seeds inside each tomato and place all of them in a baking tray.
- Cook the tomatoes from there. You should only stop when they dry up and look leathery. Note that this cooking process will vary based on the size of the tomatoes. However, generally speaking, you should be done with cooking in about 20 minutes. Remember that you will need to check the tomatoes to ensure that they don’t get overcooked.
Keep in mind that you could also use your microwave oven to get this done. Just place the tomatoes on a large plate and heat it for 15 minutes. As usual, watch them regularly and ensure not to burn them.
For another helpful tip, you might want to check out Roma tomatoes for this. These tomatoes have less water content, so they should dry faster.
Best Substitute for Making Sauce: Canned Tomatoes
If you’re looking to create the tomato sauce feeling, hardly does anything beat canned tomatoes. When you find canned, peeled tomatoes, you pretty much gave all you need to make the sauce. The only primary difference is that canned tomatoes might not be as hot or as intense as sun-dried tomatoes.
Most people also claim that canned tomatoes have a much thinner sauce feeling. You should be able to remediate this with a little tomato purée.
To get your canned tomatoes ready, just get ¾ cup of canned tomatoes. Drain the canned tomatoes, and you should be prepared to have a rocking meal.
Best Substitute for Curries and Soups: Tomato Purée
Beyond just being a part of your canned tomatoes, the tomato purée can also be an enjoyable substitute for the sun-dried tomatoes.
One of the primary reasons the tomato purée works so well is that it tastes significantly similar to sun-dried tomatoes. The flavors are identical, and because of this, the tomato purée is an excellent substitute for sun-dried tomatoes when you’re trying to make curries and soups.
The tomato purée is especially noticeable when the curry or soup needs to have a considerable tomato flavor, but doesn’t need the added texture of actual tomatoes.
You can easily make a tomato purée. It is recommended that you get Roma or plum tomatoes to get this done. These variants are primarily grown for preservation, and they have low water content. Still, their rich flavor constituent makes them ideal for replacing sun-dried tomatoes.
All you need to do is cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds. From there, get a blender or a food processor, and you should be fine. Blend the tomatoes and let them sit for about ten minutes when you’re finished. Note that you might need to work in batches based on the number of tomatoes you have and the blender or food processor’s size.
Also, you could prefer to make a skinless purée. In this case, you just need to peel the whole tomatoes with a peeler before you half them and throw them in the blender or food processor.
Best Substitute for Salads: Fresh Tomatoes
Sometimes, it’s just so difficult to beat the fresh, natural stuff. When it comes to using tomatoes for salads, this is definitely true. In fact, many people tend to prefer fresh tomatoes to the sun-dried options when making their salads. That is absolutely respectable.
If you find yourself in a shortage of sun-dried tomatoes, you need not worry. Fresh tomatoes are always available. Fresh tomatoes are especially great for salads because they look better. Sun-dried tomatoes might not look so appealing when paired with other fresh, natural ingredients. With fresh tomatoes, you have something that looks great and still brings the best texture and flavor.
Fresh tomatoes will also add some juiciness to your salads. Get some limes or lemons into the mix, and you have the ideal salad to go with any event.
Of course, there’s no recipe for fresh tomatoes. If you can’t grow them at home, you should be able to find them at your local grocery store.