The 7 best substitutes for crushed tomato for your recipes
Whether you prepare a soup, chili or stew, crushed tomatoes can be the perfect ingredient that ties it all together. Crushed tomatoes are made from a blend of diced tomatoes into a puree or paste, so they add a nice texture and aroma to your recipe.
However, in some cases, you may run out of crushed tomatoes and not have time to run to the grocery store. If that is the case, in this article you will find more than one substitute for crushed tomato that will work for you.
The best substitutes for crushed tomatoes
Whether you’re making lasagna, a vegetable stew, or pizza sauce, crushed tomatoes will be a crucial ingredient that adds texture and acidity to your dish. Crushed tomatoes contain small pieces of diced tomatoes, and the paste or puree adds moisture to your recipe.
There’s nothing more versatile than crushed tomatoes, which can be kept moist or reduced if that’s what your recipe calls for. Normally, anything that calls for tomato paste can be much tastier if you add crushed tomatoes instead.
Crushed tomatoes are usually made from Roma tomatoes, which have a tangy garden flavor. The tomatoes are peeled and seeded, then crushed or diced and mixed into the tomato puree to add a fresh, savory flavor to your recipe.
Tomato puree is added to crushed tomatoes to make it the perfect ingredient for recipes that call for a smooth or rough texture. You can even make the tomato paste at home if you have leftover tomatoes from your garden and want to save them for later.
Crushed tomatoes are often used in recipes that call for more texture than you can get with tomato paste. You can use crushed tomatoes to make marinara sauce, pizza sauce, ravioli, chicken dishes, meat dishes, and even masala.
However, if your local grocery store is low on crushed tomatoes, there are other great options you can try. Each crushed tomato substitute will work depending on the nature of your recipe and how you want it to taste or feel.
So if you can’t get your hands on crushed tomatoes, all you have to do is check out our list of substitutes for crushed tomatoes.
1. Fresh tomatoes
If you want to substitute crushed tomatoes, fresh tomatoes will work perfectly. Crushed tomatoes are made from fresh tomatoes that have been peeled and seeded and then mixed with a little tomato paste while cooking for a short time.
So, if you are looking for a natural substitute for crushed tomato without additives or spices, you can use fresh tomatoes. Just peel the tomatoes, quarter them and remove any seeds you’d like, then pop them into the food processor or blender.
You don’t have to powder them completely, as you want your tomatoes to have some texture. Sometimes adding a bit of tomato paste can also work. You don’t need to add any seasoning as you can add the right seasoning based on your recipe.
2. Diced tomatoes
Diced tomatoes are made up of tomato chunks preserved in their juice, so you can use them in recipes that call for a certain texture.
The main difference between diced and crushed tomatoes is that they contain citric acid to help the tomato pieces retain their shape. That’s why diced tomatoes will come in handy if you’re making a slow cooker stew or casserole.
You can make crushed tomatoes from diced tomatoes by pureeing them in the food processor. However, you must make sure that you do not use the food processor for too long to preserve the texture. Afterwards, you can add a little tomato puree or paste to give your dish more flavor.
When substituting crushed tomatoes for diced ones, be careful when adding salt to the recipe. If you want to substitute these crushed tomatoes for a stew or soup, you have to extend the cooking time considerably so that the tomato pieces soften.
There are different types of crushed tomatoes on the market, so you may have a mix that contains spices or garlic. This can actually be a good thing because you get to enjoy more flavors on your plate.
3. Fire-roasted tomatoes
Do you feel that your dishes need a little flavor? Fire-roasted tomatoes will work for you if you want to play a little with the flavor of your recipes.
Fire-roasted tomatoes add a smoky flavor to your dishes, so you can try these crushed tomatoes as a substitute for pasta sauce, casserole, vegetable dish, or any other recipe that calls for intense flavor.
They provide a flavor that resembles that of fresh tomatoes when mixed with smoked paprika.
Even in a soup, fire-roasted tomatoes will add a unique flavor and aroma. They usually contain pepper, onion juice, salt, and garlic powder, so they have a different flavor than regular crushed tomatoes.
When using fire-roasted tomatoes, you must be careful when adding salt and pepper to your recipe. They also look much darker so they will add more color to your plate.
4. Sun-dried tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes go through a drying process that preserves their flavor and color. Whether they are dried or preserved in oil, the drying process causes them to lose their water content, which is why they appear wrinkled.
Thanks to the food preservation process, sun dried tomatoes can last a long time. So they will come in handy if you suddenly run out of crushed tomatoes.
They taste very similar to fire-roasted tomatoes, but lack the smoky flavor. They also look chunky, so you can add them to dishes that call for a bit of texture.
Sun-dried tomatoes tend to be salty, so keep that in mind when using them as a substitute for crushed tomatoes. There are several types, and you can easily find one that contains herbs or seasonings that go well with your dish.
If you think that your dried tomatoes do not help to achieve the desired color for your dish, you can add a tablespoon of tomato paste. You will have a delicious recipe with a little touch and a change of flavor.
You can add them to your pizza, pasta or any other dish. But they won’t work if you’re making a mild soup or sauce, as they’ll most likely be flaky.
5. Tomato paste
The thick texture of tomato paste makes it the perfect substitute for concentrated crushed tomato. It is richer and denser than crushed tomatoes, but lacks the texture that crushed tomatoes have. Tomato paste is made from long-cooked tomatoes, and the cooking process helps to intensify their flavor.
Therefore, if you are preparing chili, stew or soup, tomato paste can be the perfect substitute for crushed tomato. If you are making a sauce, you can add fresh or diced tomatoes to give the pasta more body and texture.
With this specific crushed tomato alternative, a little goes a long way. Make sure you don’t add too much tomato paste to your dish. You can add a tablespoon or two and see if you need to add more to get the desired flavor.
If the tomato paste seems too thick for you, you can add a little water to thin the consistency. After adding the tomato paste, you can season it with any spice, but be careful how much salt you add because tomato paste already contains salt.
6. Tomato puree
Tomato puree falls right in the middle of the consistency spectrum between crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. It’s not as smooth as paste and it’s not as rough in texture as crushed tomatoes.
Since some brands of crushed tomatoes have a smooth texture, you can substitute this type for the tomato puree. The flavor is smooth and not as concentrated as that of tomato paste. However, it has a much deeper flavor than crushed tomatoes.
Tomato puree will work as the perfect substitute for crushed tomato in a stew or soup that doesn’t need a lot of texture. It can intensify the flavor if you feel you need to kick your recipe up a notch. Substitute one part crushed tomato for one part tomato puree for intense flavor.
7. Tomato sauce
Although tomato sauce has a finer texture than tomato puree, it contains thickeners that change its texture when heated. Tomato sauce is made from tomatoes with a high water content, making it suitable for multiple meats, vegetables, stews, and pasta dishes.
The best type of tomato sauce is made from tomato puree mixed with some water. You can substitute crushed tomato for the tomato sauce in recipes that don’t call for a lot of crushed tomato, because the sauce doesn’t add intense flavor.
If your recipe needs some texture, you can mix fresh or diced tomatoes into the tomato sauce. There are different types of tomato sauces on the market, but most are not seasoned, so you can add your own seasonings and herbs.
How to choose a substitute for crushed tomato
There are two factors to consider when looking for a substitute for crushed tomato: flavor and texture.
Fresh tomatoes offer the same texture when thrown into the food processor, but have not been cooked. This means that you may need to extend the cooking time to achieve the desired consistency.
Diced tomatoes also work, especially if you’re cooking a stew or chili. You may need to add a bit of tomato paste to enhance the flavor.
Fire-roasted tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes will give the right texture, but change the flavor. They will work for your pizza, pasta, casserole, or any other dish you want to tamper with a bit.
When adding these options, you should decrease the amount of salt and other seasonings in your recipe.
If you’re making a soup or other recipe where you need a smooth texture, tomato paste, tomato puree, or tomato sauce may work. The only difference between them is in the concentration, where the tomato paste is too concentrated, and the tomato sauce is the least concentrated.
You can also mix different options, depending on your recipe. For example, a few dried tomatoes with a bit of tomato paste will make your dishes stand out for their flavors and colors.
All of these options work as substitutes for crushed tomatoes, so why not give each one a try to see which one works best for your recipe? You may be surprised by the results.