The 8 best substitutes for dried tomato for your recipes
Sun-dried tomatoes are ripe tomatoes that they are collected at the right moment of maturationcut in half and let most of it pass sun drying time. They are often found in antipastos (such as bruschetta), pasta dishes, and salads.
Sun dried tomatoes can be expensive and hard to find. Also, they have a intense flavor and not everyone likes its taste. So here you have the best substitutes for dried tomatoes.
The best substitutes for dried tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes are reddish-brown in color and can impart the flavor of fresh tomatoes all year round: the drying process intensifies and helps preserve the usual rich tomato flavour. They have a sharp, sour flavor and a chewy texture.
They are picked at their ripe point and then slowly dried in the sun for a maximum of ten days. Used in summer salads or pasta dishes, in stews or sauces, sun-dried tomatoes are highly versatile and can appear in a ton of different recipes. They are available year-round, making them a good choice for any dish that calls for tomatoes.
Sun-drying is one of humanity’s oldest preservation techniques, dating back to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Sun-dried tomatoes were used by Native Americans in cooking, and they were later exported to Europe. This technique has been a staple for food preservation and for enjoying certain types of food during all seasons.
The sun-drying technique is a traditional Italian way of preserving the abundance of ripe food for use throughout the rest of the year. Sun-dried tomatoes are especially popular in southern Italy, especially in Puglia, where they are left to dry on house roofs for several days in the hot summer sun.
Sun-dried tomatoes are used in a variety of recipes: they can be used as a salad dressing, as the main ingredient in spreads, or cooked with meat or eggs.
1. Canned tomatoes
Canned tomatoes, like sun-dried tomatoes, are picked at the perfect time and at their peak ripeness and flavor. For this reason, they maintain their usual sweet flavor and balanced acidity, and are one of the best options to use throughout the year.
The most common type of tomato grown for canning is plum tomato, and almost all varieties of this type of tomato are a good substitute for sun-dried tomatoes. Roma tomatoes are grown all over the world and are very popular: they have a dense, meaty flesh and a low moisture content that makes them ideal for sauces.
The other best variety of plum tomatoes is the San Marzano: this type of tomato must be grown and picked in a specific region of Italy (in the Agro Sarnese-Nocerino, in Campania) to have the PDO mark confirming its origin.
There are other plum tomatoes grown in other countries that might be called “San Marzano style” tomatoes: they have a similar sweet flavor and few seeds, but they are not true San Marzano tomatoes.
Canned tomatoes can provide calcium and iron, and can be a good source of antioxidants—they often contain sodium as a preservative, so it’s best to check the label and find some low-sodium varieties.
Canned tomatoes are an excellent substitute for dried tomatoes, especially effective when following sauce recipes. The flavor is quite similar, although canned tomatoes may be a little less intense than sun-dried. Another possible problem is that canned tomatoes can make a thinner sauce, but you can easily fix this by adding a little tomato puree.
To substitute the sun-dried tomatoes for the canned ones, substitute ¼ cup of the sun-dried tomatoes for ¾ cup of the canned ones (once drained).
2. Fresh tomatoes
Fresh tomatoes are another great substitute for sundried tomatoes, as they are the most basic form of the ingredient you want to use. The tomato is an edible berry of a plant belonging to the Solanaceae family, native to South and Central America, and later exported all over the world.
Tomatoes contain 95% water and are a moderate source of vitamins (mainly vitamin C). There are many different varieties of tomatoes, and the choice of which one you want to use in a dish depends mainly on the recipe and the result you want to achieve.
Grape tomatoes come in a wide variety of colors and flavors, from sweet to spicy. They have a thick skin that makes them maintain their texture when cooked: they are perfect if you want to substitute dried tomatoes in a dish cooked with meat.
Red Beefsteak Tomatoes and Fresh Plum Tomatoes are large and meaty and contain a lot of juice, making them the perfect substitute for sun-dried tomatoes in a recipe that calls for sauces or dips.
Cherry tomatoes are very versatile and come in a variety of different colors: red, orange, yellow, and even purple. They are a great substitute for sundried tomatoes in salads.
If you want to use fresh tomatoes in place of sun-dried tomatoes, keep in mind that they definitely have a milder, more mellow flavor. This can be good if you don’t like the taste or texture of sun-dried tomatoes, but you can always add a bit of lemon juice if you want to boost the acidity and flavor in your recipe.
3. Tomato puree
Tomato puree is a thick liquid made by boiling and then straining the tomatoes, similar to tomato paste and tomato sauce, the only difference being in consistency: tomato puree is thicker than tomato sauce. but less than tomato paste. It also has a somewhat more intense flavor.
This intense tomato flavor makes tomato puree taste similar to sun-dried tomatoes. It’s a good alternative in soups, stews, or any other dish that calls for a similar flavor without the texture of whole tomatoes.
You can also add tomato puree to the canned tomatoes to thicken the sauce if you find it too thin to be a good substitute.
4. Tomato paste
Tomato paste is similar to tomato puree, and is made by cooking the tomatoes for hours to reduce the water. The tomatoes are then strained to remove the seeds and skins, and cooked again to reduce the liquid to a thick concentrate. Tomato paste has a thicker consistency than tomato puree and tomato sauce.
Tomato paste is often added to dishes that require a strong flavor and thick texture, such as sauces and soups. Pasta is usually added in the early stages of cooking. Tomato paste was traditionally made in parts of southern Italy and Malta by spreading the tomato sauce on wooden boards and letting it dry in the sun.
You can use 1 tablespoon of tomato paste for every 5 sun-dried tomatoes. If you want a richer, more intense flavor, you can double the amount of tomato paste. Like tomato puree, you can add a little tomato paste to the sauce if you want to thicken it.
5. Tamarind paste
Another good substitute for sundried tomatoes is tamarind paste. Tamarind paste, made from a tart fruit that grows in pods on the tamarind tree, is used primarily in some cuisines, both in savory and sweet dishes. It is often used in curries and different sauces, and is a common ingredient in Indian, Thai, Caribbean, and Mexican cuisines.
Tamarind paste has a sour taste, so if you want to use it normally you have to add some sugar or other type of sweetener to your dish. When combined with sugar, tamarind paste has a pleasant sweet-sour flavor, similar to sun-dried tomatoes.
When cooking with tamarind paste, it is always best to test your recipe to adjust the amount of paste or sweetener. Tamarind paste is rich in vitamins (vitamin C and vitamin B), potassium and iron.
6. Roasted peppers
If you want a substitute for diced sun-dried tomatoes, which are used on bruschetta or other types of antipasto, roasted peppers are a good option.
The bell pepper is the vegetable of a plant that belongs to the species Capsicum annuum, which produces fruits of different colors (such as red, yellow, green, white and orange). Bell peppers have a less spicy flavor than other peppers, and are often used as a garnish for vegetables.
Just like tomatoes, peppers are native to Central and South America, and were later imported and spread throughout Europe and Asia. They contain 94% water and are rich in vitamins (vitamin C and vitamin B6).
There are many different substitutes for sun-dried tomatoes, but bell peppers can be a great option if you want a reserve option for your entrees and appetizers.
7. Tomato powder
If you are looking for a substitute for dried tomato powder, the best option is probably plain tomato powder. Tomato powder is also made from sun-dried tomatoes, so these two ingredients have a lot of similarities in terms of flavor, color, and texture.
Tomato powder can be a good alternative in any dish that calls for tomatoes in the form of a sauce or powder.
8. DIY Sun Dried Tomatoes
Another alternative to sun-dried tomatoes can be to dry them yourself. If you really want to use sun-dried tomatoes in a dish but can’t find them at the grocery store, you can always buy a sweet variety of fresh tomatoes (like grape tomatoes) and then dry them.
You just have to cut each tomato in half, remove the seeds and the pulp inside, place them on a baking tray and cook them until they are dry. Cooking time (at 135C) varies depending on the size and quality of the tomato, but 20 minutes is usually enough.
How to choose a sun-dried tomato substitute
The best sun-dried tomato substitute depends on the recipe you’re following and the dish you’re preparing: choose the best alternative based on texture and flavor.
Opting for homemade sun-dried tomatoes might be a good idea if you’re looking for something that’s close to the original ingredient in every way. The only drawback is that you need to have a bit of time on hand.
If you are making a soup or sauce, you can use canned tomatoes or tomato powder, and you can add a bit of tomato puree or tomato paste to thicken the result if you find it too thin.
If you’re looking for a substitute because you don’t like the taste of dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes are your best bet, but tamarind paste can also be a good substitute.