Crushed tomatoes are our go-to for our all-time favorite Italian dishes such as pasta. I personally use crushed tomatoes for my red-based spaghetti pasta and marinara pasta. I also use it for my red-based stews when making chilis and beef or chicken stew. These dishes are so yummy with rice or tortilla pairing.
When crushed tomatoes are unavailable, did you know that you can make your own homemade crushed tomatoes instead of buying from the store? Yes, you can if you have extra tomatoes in the fridge. Stick with us and I’ll be sharing an easy recipe in a little bit, that you can do at home.
If you don’t have the luxury of time, you can use these following crushed tomatoes substitutes: Canned tomato chunks, Sun-dried tomatoes, Smoked Tomatoes, Tomato paste, and Homemade crushed tomatoes.
Substitute For Crushed Tomatoes
1. Canned Tomato Chunks
This is by far the easiest and most convenient alternative on our list. As soon as you drop by at the grocery market, you will immediately find an isle of canned tomato chunks arrayed according to its brands.
You can choose any brand you like or pick depending on your preference. It also depends on what dish you’re about to make.
Canned tomato chunks are best used when making pasta sauces, taco salsa, and even for vegetable or meat stews. It goes well with any carbohydrate pairings as well.
Just make sure that you check the label for the expiration date to prevent yourself and your family by eating expired goods. The good thing about canned goods is that it has a longer shelf life compared to other perishable goods.
2. Sun-dried Tomatoes
Ripe tomatoes are harvested and go through a strict preservation process then dried out under the sun. The tomatoes are marinated in a lot of salt to preserve it for a long period. When preserved and dried, it loses its water content, dries out, and shrinks.
If you live in a location where there is winter season, drying out tomatoes during the summer is the most perfect way to store tomatoes all throughout the harsh winter season.
The taste of these sun-dried tomatoes is salty and savory. When consuming these, take it moderately and be reminded that it has loads of salt due to preservation.
Just like the canned tomato chunks, sun-dried tomatoes also have a better shelf life. It can be stored up to 1-2 years depending on the kind, salt content, and drying process.
Sun-dried tomatoes are best enjoyed for dishes such as pasta and pizzas. You won’t need to add too much seasoning or salt even since the tomatoes added more flavor in the dish. It can also be used as a food seasoning or topping.
In some areas in Italy, sun-dried tomatoes are used for making the famous tomato pesto. Or maybe just consume it by itself like a snack to enjoy its amazing dried goodness.
3. Smoked Tomatoes
If you’re not a sun-dried tomato type of person, you can always switch with the smoked ones. The difference between the sun-dried and smoked is the way it’s processed to be preserved.
For the smoked tomatoes, there’s zero to little salt added in it. It all boils down to the smoking process that does its magic. Each kind of smoked tomato may vary on the type of tomato being used and how long it was smoked.
Smoked tomatoes are best used for, of course, pizzas and pasta. But what surprised me throughout my whole culinary exploration is that smoked tomatoes are actually good for salsas and soups. Yep, and it tastes so smoky-licious!
If you like your soup with a hint of smokiness to it, then this is your bet. It feels like the soup was grilled on an outdoor campfire. Perfect during cozy autumn weather or even the cold winter.
4. Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is like a handy red toothpaste but instead of bringing some magic to your teeth, it’s a secret ingredient used in most home kitchens and restaurants. Unlike the previous entries we’ve mentioned above, tomato paste is cleaner with zero skins and seeds.
Tomato paste is already concentrated. You don’t need to finish the whole tube to cook a dish. All you need is just one to two tablespoons of the pasta and voila!
You have yourself a red-based soup or stew. Just dissolve the paste over warm water, so it will dilute faster while directly adding it to the dish while cooking.
The stew works well when mixed with a can of tomato sauce for making red-based sauces and stews. I like using this when making vegetable soup but the thinner one. It gives a clean feel to the soup that makes you wanna slurp for some more!
5. Homemade Crushed Tomatoes
And last, but not least on our list is the homemade crushed tomatoes. I know in our crazy fast-paced life, we opt to get faster and more convenient food products, which are usually canned goods. But it’s important to note that too much-canned food or processed food can also take a toll on our health.
Remember, anything that is too much is always not good for you especially for your body. Most health experts recommend that an individual should at least consume healthier alternatives and organic produce.
If you have time to visit the farmer’s market, grab a pound of tomatoes, and do this recipe at home instead. You will no longer have to buy store-bought items from time to time and balance your canned goods consumption.
Here’s an easy recipe for you!
How To Make Crushed Tomatoes At Home
- 10 medium or large fresh tomatoes
- 3-4 liters of water
- Salt and Olive Oil (optional)
- Wash your freshly picked or bought tomatoes. Make sure that there’s no dirt left on the skin. It’s important to wash it well especially if the tomatoes are not organically grown. Some farms spray fertilizers on their crops and don’t risk ingesting these harmful chemicals in your system.
- Then pat dry the tomatoes using a clean cloth or kitchen napkin.
- Slice the tomatoes on the top part where the stem was cut and form an “X” in the center.
- Prepare a big deep-type pot and pour 3-4 liters of water in it.
- You may also add a teaspoon of olive oil and half a teaspoon of salt, just to add some flavor to it. If you want it more honest and clean in flavor, you don’t need to add any seasonings in it.
- Once the water starts boiling, add in your tomatoes and let it simmer for about 10 minutes over medium heat.
- After 10 minutes, check your tomatoes if the skin is already peeling and the flesh is softer. Once it is, strain the cooked tomatoes and set aside the tomato broth for future use.
- Let the tomatoes cool for about 3-5 minutes.
- Once it cools down, peel all the skin from the tomatoes. Don’t discard the skin and use it as fertilizer to plants instead.
- After peeling all the tomatoes, mash them in a big bowl using a mashed potato masher or fork.
- Now your homemade crushed tomatoes are now ready to use for any dishes!
- Store your crushed tomatoes in an airtight jar or container. This can be consumed for a week. Frozen ones are good for about a month.