Tomato purée is one of the most famous cooking ingredients. It is thick, simple to make (or buy), and can add a great deal of flavor to any dish you combine it with. From soups and sauces to seafood and rice, tomato purée is an encompassing ingredient that you can’t do without.
However, certain situations could call for you to get a substitute. Tomato purée isn’t a perfect cooking component, and it could fall short in some scenarios.
What is the best substitute for tomato purée? Tomato sauce is the perfect substitute. It tastes like tomato purée and can be used for pretty much everything the latter works with. While there are thickness differences, tomato sauce can be perfect for helping replicate the taste of tomato purée.
An Overview of Tomato Purée
Tomato purée is a cooking essential that has managed to warm its way into kitchens worldwide. Thick and simple to make, the purée is a pleasant way to prepare and preserve fresh tomatoes in case you want to use them for some cooking later. While tomato purée is a great cooking ingredient on its own, you can also seamlessly turn it into tomato soup or sauce and apply it to various dishes.
Primarily, tomato puréeis a regular when it comes to rice cooking. It also acts as a lovely side dish, and it goes well with some seafood and rice for a wicked combo. Other dishes that require some tomato purée goodness include barbecue sauce, chicken, fish, and much more.
Most experts recommend that you use Roma or Plum tomatoes for your purée. These tomatoes have great staying power, so they can be preserved easily. You can also get imperfect and bruised tomatoes and purée them to keep them for longer. Just chop off the defective areas and purée the rest.
The puréeing process is also pretty simple:
- Just rinse your tomatoes and pat them dry.
- You can peel the skin if you like with a vegetable peeler.
- Halve the tomatoes and cut off imperfections.
- Use a spoon to take out any pulp and seeds.
- Chop the tomatoes coarsely.
- Put the tomatoes in a pot over heat and boil them.
- Cool the tomatoes and purée them in a pot with a blender. You can transfer them into a food processor and keep processing until the purée is smooth
- If you’re not using the tomatoes immediately, freeze them.
Why Replace Tomato Purée?
- No time to make it: If you’re in a time crunch and you need something ready to go, a tomato purée substitute should come in handy.
- Taste differences: If you think the tomato purée taste is too thick, you will need to get a substitute.
- The need for less thickness: If you’re making food, say, a child, you need them to be able to eat conveniently. Tomato sauce might be too thick, so consider finding an alternative.
Options for Tomato Purée Substitutes
Best Overall Substitute for Tomato Purée: Tomato Sauce
It’s almost a no-brainer. Tomato sauce is the perfect substitute for tomato purée by quite a considerable mile. A good tomato sauce can act as the base for many dishes – pizza, pasta, rice, fish, chicken, you name it. While the tomato is the base ingredient, you can also add as many other condiments and spices as you would like to garnish it.
So, your options are pretty much only limited by your imagination regarding possibilities for tomato sauce.
You can find tomato sauce in grocery stores and restaurants, just as you can with tomato purée. However, if you’re feeling more adventurous, feel free to make it at home. Many experts recommend homemade tomato sauce because you can season and garnish it to taste and because it isn’t so challenging to make. However, the only slight challenge is that you might not find all the ingredients that you would like to add so easily. So, you might need that trip to the store.
As for its compatibility as a tomato purée substitute, tomato sauce is perfect. It tastes like tomato purée, so you’re not missing anything when it comes to flavor packets. Also, tomato sauce is an excellent one-or-one substitute. So, you won’t need to waste time tasting and seeing what quantity will be perfect for your dish.
Keep in mind, however, that tomato sauce is slightly less thick than tomato purée. The difference is essentially undetectable, but it is a considerable one nonetheless. To make up, get your tomato sauce and cook it in a pan for a while. This will thicken it a bit and bolster its volume.
You might also need to take some time to work through the spicing and seasoning that tomato sauce goes through instead of tomato purée, which is basically plain. Just reduce the tomato sauce seasoning levels, and you’ll be more than good to go.
Best Substitute for a Texture Match: Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is a processed form of tomato purée that also works as an impressive substitute. It doesn’t quite have that natural taste that cooking aficionados will note, but tomato paste excels in the thickness and consistency part. If you’re looking for a substitute that is just as thick and as consistent as tomato purée, then tomato paste is an ideal option.
Keep in mind that tomato paste has a more full-bodied taste than tomato purée. So, you might want to add some water to it when you use it as a tomato purée substitute. That should even out the texture and taste rather well.
You also don’t want to add any seasoning or spices to your recipe. These could add to the concentrated tomato taste, and your taste buds won’t like that.
Best All-Purpose Substitute: Pizza Sauce
Pizza sauce is another option that doesn’t quite get as much praise as it deserves. It is rich and thick, and as the name suggests, it is a perfect option for sprucing up your pizza recipe.
Apart from pizza, however, pizza sauce also works as an ideal recipe for chicken, eggplants, meatballs, and breadsticks. If you ever need a substitute that works for pretty much everything, pizza sauce should be your go-to choice.
You can use a one-to-one ratio for pizza sauce. However, keep in mind that it will need to work well with your recipe. So, be careful with your application and season it to taste. Once that is clear, you’re good to go.