Fresh tomatoes that are cooked with salt and several seasonings are called stewed tomatoes. Stewed tomatoes usually contain bell peppers, onions, celery, and garlic. They can be heated and used as a side dish or added to sauces, soups, or stews.
Every American has a different way of preparing stewed tomatoes, some may add veggies, and some may prefer the old style of cooking with only tomatoes and herbs. There are many variations of this dish, that are found all over the world in the form of tomato stews and tomato chutneys.
If a recipe calls for “Stewed Tomatoes”, you can use canned tomatoes instead, but you may have to add a little extra seasoning. You can also use Fresh Tomatoes that have been basted, Diced Tomatoes, Crushed Tomatoes, Whole Tomatoes, and Tomato Paste.
Sometimes it happens that cooking is in full swing, and then you discover that a necessary jar is empty. Don’t panic, because there are no indispensable ingredients in the kitchen. It’s important to know how to replace stewed tomatoes in your recipe without losing the taste of the dish. Here are some tips that can help you.
Substitution depends on the dish and the reason you wish to substitute. If it is the tomato flavor and color, the acidity and bit of sour, stewed tomatoes can be substituted with sweet paprika, a bit of sugar, and juice from sauerkraut in a stew or soup.
Substitutes for Stewed Tomatoes
There is not much difference between tomatoes, except for the quality of the brand of tomato. Nevertheless, in each recipe, you need to think about what is suitable in terms of size, texture, and taste. A plum tomato does not equate to a cherry tomato, for example.
1. Diced tomatoes
Diced tomatoes are smaller, firmer chunks, while stewed tomatoes are bigger, softer pieces. Diced tomatoes are simply tomatoes that have been cut up into small square pieces and canned in tomato juice. They can be cooked a bit, but they are not simmered like stewed tomatoes. Diced tomatoes can have added salt or seasonings, or they can also be fire-roasted before canning for an additional layer of smoky flavor.
They can be substituted for stewed tomatoes in soups, stews, pasta, and other recipes. If you cook diced tomatoes longer and add some other vegetables, you can generally use diced in place of stewed in most recipes.
How to turn diced tomatoes into stewed tomatoes?
Stewed tomatoes are savory and delightful because of the process of simmering them with garlic, onion, peppers, and spices. If you’d like to make stewed tomatoes, you need to peel fresh tomatoes, chop them then simmer in their liquid.
2. Crushed tomatoes
Crushed to smooth texture and often mixed with a little tomato puree, these are an excellent substitution for stewed tomatoes. They are usually a mix of fresh crushed tomatoes and tomato purée, and typically they are pourable, but have a thicker texture with small chunks of tomatoes. Their texture is something between tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. But pay attention – as one brand’s “crushed” can be a chunky mash, while another’s is a nearly smooth purée.
Crushed tomatoes still retain a reasonably bright flavor and are great for pasta sauces and creamier soups, as well as the main ingredient in your homemade spaghetti and pasta sauces. The texture & consistency will be a little different but still okay.
3. Whole tomatoes
Plum tomatoes are whole tomatoes packed in juice within a can. They are peeled, but they still have their seeds intact. Many people use whole tomatoes in their pasta sauces, soups, etc., and crush them on their own before tossing them in. You can add the juices to the recipe if you need more bulk and tomato flavor. Whole tomatoes give you more options, and you can season them the way you like.
If you want to substitute stewed tomatoes with whole tomatoes, you need a little more work because of the added seasoning. You can cook canned whole tomatoes with 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper and 1/4 cup chopped onion. This will create an even better, fresher flavor than canned stewed tomatoes.
4. Tomato paste
Sometimes it seems that nothing in the kitchen is used up as quickly as tomato paste. A unique feature of tomatoes is their ability to preserve most of their beneficial properties during heat treatment. Therefore, natural tomato paste is a very healthy product.
The paste differs from tomato puree due to its high solids content (from 25 to 40 percent).
A familiar product, tomato paste not only improves the taste of soups and marinades, lecho, and sauces but also makes them denser. Color becomes intense, bright, attractive. It can be an excellent substitution for stewed tomatoes in soups and can help give you that same strong tomato flavor. If you add some other vegetables like onion and bell pepper, you won’t even notice a difference between using stewed tomatoes and tomato paste.
Tomato paste sauce is also perfect for meat dishes, as well as stewed tomatoes.
Canned or homemade stewed tomatoes?
That choice is up to you. Canned tomatoes involve zero prep work and will save you time in the kitchen. You can use canned stewed tomatoes or prepare them yourself using fresh vegetables. It’s a fast and simple process, and it doesn’t require canning.
How to make stewed tomatoes?
Firstly you need to peel, core, seed, and dice your tomatoes. Add some onions, pepper, and celery, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the celery, peppers, and onions are soft. Add sugar and seasonings and mix. Enjoy your homemade stewed tomatoes right away!
Some recipes call for a particular amount of tomatoes. Most cans come in 14-ounce and 28-ounce sizes. To replace a 14-ounce can of stewed tomatoes, you’ll need a 2-cup measuring cup. Spoon your cooked vegetables loosely until they reach the 1 3/4 cup mark. Cover the vegetables with your reserved tomato juices.
Fresh tomatoes should only be stored for 28 days – after that their quality will be reduced.
Can you make stewed tomatoes from canned tomatoes?
Don’t have fresh tomatoes? Not a problem at all. Canned crushed tomatoes or whole tomatoes will also work. You need to dice them up before you add them to the pot with the other vegetables.
Why are canned tomatoes so popular?
It is convenient to have canned vegetables at home for an emergency or when there is no time to go to the store. Sometimes fresh products deteriorate rather quickly, and you end up throwing them away. You can save money by buying canned tomatoes as they will store for an extended time.
Stewed tomatoes are not just tasty but also healthy. They have high nutritional content and contain large amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C. Moreover, the addition of vegetables and herbs like garlic, celery, onion, and bell peppers also increases the nutritional benefit of the dish.
So if you want to substitute stewed tomatoes with some other types of canned tomatoes remember to add some extra veggies to your dish and make it tastier and more nutritious.
According to studies, tomatoes that are cooked a little bit provide more health benefits than fresh tomatoes. According to studies conducted by the University of Lincoln, when eating raw tomatoes, only a small part of lycopene is absorbed- about 4%.
But if the tomatoes are stewed, then the absorption of lycopene increases. This happens because liquid evaporates during the heat treatment and more useful dry matter remains.