Tomato puree is one of the most commonly used ingredients in cooking. It is simple, thick, and adds an excellent flavour to the dish. Tomato puree can be added into soups and many sauces, and it is also used as a thickener. It is also a good base for homemade barbeque sauces.
What if you find yourself in a situation where you are out of tomato puree, but your recipe requires it? Or maybe you just want to change the recipe, and use something else instead. Can you use an alternative?
Of course, there are. You can use tomato-based substitutes like Tomato Sauce, Tomato Paste, Pizza Sauce, Fresh Tomatoes, Canned Tomatoes, and Ketchup. Also, learn more about how to make the best home-made tomato puree.
In this article, you’ll find the easiest recipe, and everything else that you need to know about tomato puree, so just scroll down to find out more.
What is Tomato Puree?
Tomato puree is a thick sauce that is made from briefly-cooked tomatoes which have been strained to remove the skin and the seeds. It is usually used to thicken sauces and also to add flavour to soups and stews.
It is an ingredient that is commonly used as a base for pizza or marinara sauces. Tomato puree is thicker than a tomato sauce and usually it has no other ingredients (like spices or salt) added to it.
There are many other sauces such as hot and sweet sauces, which are a perfect dip for many dishes including nachos, breadsticks or pretty much anything that you want. By adding tomato puree, you’ll make the sauces even better. If you are using it to thicken your sauces, you can always add additional flavours too.
Tomato Puree Substitutes
Even though tomato puree is a very common ingredient that can be easily made at home, it is something that you can always substitute. There are plenty of other tomato-based options that will help you make the best meal possible.
Just take a pick from our list below, and find out more about each option.
1. Tomato Sauce
Tomato sauce can always be used as a substitute for tomato puree. Put it in a pan and cook it to reduce the volume, or just to thicken it a bit. This will compensate for its thin consistency.
Also, keep in mind that most tomato sauces are seasoned and spiced, and this can be a bit of a problem since the puree is plain.
You can substitute equal amounts of sauce for puree. Make sure when substituting to reduce the seasoning levels to keep them from overshadowing the other ingredients.
2. Tomato Paste
This is another substitute for tomato puree that is a good match for texture and taste. Tomato paste is concentrated and comes in large volumes. Do not add any spices or seasoning to the recipe when using tomato paste.
You can use ⅓ cup of tomato paste and ⅔ cups of water as a replacement for tomato puree. This will give you approximately the same texture and thickness as tomato puree.
3. Pizza Sauce
This is a very thick and rich sauce that is normally used as a pizza topping, or as a dipping sauce. It can also be used with many other recipes like meatball subs, chicken, eggplants or just a dip sauce for breadsticks – it is an all-purpose ingredient.
You can substitute pizza sauce for tomato puree in equal amounts, and as long as the spices work with your recipe, this will make an excellent substitute.
4. Fresh Tomatoes
Since fresh is always better, if you have a big batch of tomatoes it’s a great idea to make them into tomato puree. Chop the tomatoes, toss them in a large pot, bring them to the boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Let them cool down and then pulse the mixture through a blender until it is smooth. Roma tomatoes are an excellent option but really you can use whichever tomatoes you have available.
Use four cups of tomatoes to substitute one cup of tomato puree in a recipe.
5. Canned Tomatoes
Another good substitute that will do the job right is canned tomatoes. This is one of the most practical options, and something that can be easily found in stores. You can always blend them and remove any excess liquid. Do not add any seasoning, spices or salt because puree is often unseasoned.
Use equal amounts to substitute.
This is maybe not the best substitute, since tomato puree is unspiced and unseasoned and ketchup has plenty of herbs and spices, but it will do the job as long as you like its flavour. All you need is a dash of tomato ketchup.
Homemade Tomato Puree
If you are unable to buy tomato puree, or if you simply have lots of fresh tomatoes at home which you don’t want to throw out, there is always the following option.
Use your fresh tomatoes to make an excellent home-made tomato puree. Nothing will go to waste and the results will be a perfect tomato puree.
All you have to do is follow these instructions. Make sure you have a large pot, cutting board, knife, peeler, blender and quart zip-top bags and – of course – a bag filled with fresh red tomatoes.
- First, you’ll have to wash the tomatoes under cool water and then pat them dry. Next, peel the tomatoes with a sharp, serrated vegetable peeler and trim away any spots. Remove the core of the tomatoes.
- You can use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and any other watery pulp. Then chop the tomatoes.
- Once the tomatoes are all cleared out and chopped, add them to a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Just put them over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to boiling point and then reduce to a medium heat. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes until the juices are released and the flesh has become tender.
- Remove the tomatoes from the heat and let them cool down for 5 to 10 minutes. Blend them until the mixture is smooth.
- Divide the pureed tomatoes into portions and fill the zip-top bags. Press out the excess air and freeze the bags for future use.
- Remember that when using either fresh or canned tomatoes, the flavour will be different. This is because of the freshness of the tomatoes or the way the canned ones are stored. Increasing the simmering time will mean the puree will be thicker and the taste will be more intense.
- You can always smash the tomatoes once they have been chopped, and sometimes that is a better idea for some recipes.
- Tomatoes give a very good flavour and change the texture of a recipe. It is advisable to substitute and use in accordance with the recipe, so you don’t lose the primary flavour.
- If you are making a marinara sauce with a tomato paste, keep in mind that the paste has more spices and herbs, and make sure to substitute an appropriate amount.
Is tomato sauce the same as tomato puree?
Puree is a thick liquid and the difference between the paste and the puree is in the consistency. Tomato puree has a thicker consistency and has a much deeper flavour than the sauce.
Does tomato puree thicken sauces?
Yes. You can always use tomato puree to thicken sauces. Cook the sauce for a few minutes and then add to your stock. You’ll have a perfect sauce in no time.
Can I use diced tomatoes instead of tomato puree?
Yes, you can. Tomato puree is usually cooked to provide thickness to the dish. Despite the differences, the two can be substituted for each other and be successful in many recipes.