Perhaps one of the most common ingredients in recipes around the world is the humble tomato puree. This is a thick sauce that can be used to add a whole depth of flavor to your dishes, and is often used as a base ingredient.
It can also be used to thicken your sauces, so makes a fantastic base for things like homemade barbecue sauce.
However, there may come an occasion when you’ve already started the cooking process only to find out that you have run out of your favorite tomato puree. So what can you use instead of it to continue making your dish?
Today, we’re going to cover the best substitutes for tomato puree so that you can keep on cooking your favorite dishes without having to rush to the store at the last minute.
The best alternatives for tomato puree are concentrated tomato paste, fresh tomato sauce, garden tomatoes, fresh pizza tomato sauce, tomato ketchup, or tinned tomatoes.
We are also going to show you how you can create your very own tomato puree from the comfort of your own kitchen.
The Best Substitutes For Tomato Puree
While tomato puree is of course a very common cooking ingredient, there may come a time when you don’t have any to hand.
The good news is that this is a fairly simple ingredient that you can substitute for one of the fantastic alternatives that we will delve into in more detail below.
So let’s look at the best substitutes for tomato puree so that you can get cooking!
Concentrated Tomato Paste
One of the best substitutes for tomato puree is of course concentrated tomato paste. Tomato paste features a higher concentration than tomato puree, but it is a good match in terms of flavor and taste.
You will typically find tomato paste in larger quantities than tomato puree, and you won’t need to add any additional seasonings or spices.
Because tomato paste features a much more concentrated flavor, you won’t need to use the same amount of it as you would need to use tomato puree.
You should use a third of a cup of tomato paste and two thirds of a cup of water as an alternative to tomato puree. This mixture will give you the same thickness and texture as you would get from tomato puree.
Fresh Tomato Sauce
Perhaps one of the best substitutes for tomato puree is actually tomato sauce. While it has a thinner consistency than tomato puree, you can simmer it over a medium heat in a pan to get the tomato sauce to thicken up or even to reduce its volume a little.
Another factor to consider is that unlike tomato puree, tomato sauce tends to come ready seasoned. So you may not need to use additional seasonings in your dish. It will be best to taste test your dish to see whether it needs additional seasoning or spice.
Tomato sauce can be substituted in equal parts in place of tomato puree.
You can’t go wrong with fresh garden tomatoes. If you have a ton of these to hand in your refrigerator, you can turn them into your very own homemade tomato puree.
All you will need to do is chop your tomatoes, place them in a large saucepan, then heat them over a boiling heat. Allow the tomato sauce to simmer for around 10 to 15 minutes.
Next, you will need to remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the tomato sauce to cool. Place your now cooled mixture in your blender, then select the pulse function.
Blend your tomatoes until you get a smooth puree that you can then use in your dishes.
The great thing about using fresh garden tomatoes is that you can use any variety to make the tomato puree. Make note that you will need roughly four cups of tomatoes to make around one cup of tomato puree.
Fresh Pizza Tomato Sauce
An ingredient that you are likely to have in your store cupboard as a keen cook is of course fresh pizza tomato sauce. As the name suggests, there are of course tomatoes in this pizza sauce.
You will typically use this as a dipping sauce or even to top your pizza base before you add the cheese and other toppings. You may even have fresh pizza tomato sauce to hand to use for other dishes.
Pizza sauce can be substituted in equal parts in place of tomato puree. It will be important to note that pizza tomato sauce has likely been seasoned, so you may need to check if the flavor is appropriate for the dish you are trying to make.
If you’re really stuck for what to use as a substitute for tomato puree, then you can opt for tomato ketchup. This won’t be the absolute best alternative as it contains lots of seasonings and spices.
However, it will do the job in a pinch. You won’t need to use as much of this, either, as a small dash of ketchup will be more than enough for your recipe.
Another easy to use substitute for tomato puree are tinned or canned tomatoes. These are very easy to find in your local grocery store, and chances are that you will have a can or two hiding at the back of your pantry.
You can also use your blender to rid your canned tomatoes of excess liquid.
Tinned tomatoes will make an ideal substitute for tomato puree as these are often unseasoned. You can use equal parts tinned tomatoes in place of tomato puree.
What Even Is Tomato Puree, Anyway?
Tomato puree is of course one of the most common ingredients called for in a variety of different recipes. But what even is tomato puree?
Tomato puree is a thicker sauce that has been crafted using cooked tomatoes. These have then been strained to get rid of any seeds and leftover tomato skin.
Tomato puree is often used to add flavor to dishes such as stews and soups, and it can also be used to help thicken sauces.
This is an ingredient that is often used for marinara sauces as well as for pizza bases. It tends to be thicker than tomato sauce, and doesn’t feature any additional ingredients such as herbs or seasonings.
How To Make Your Own Tomato Puree
As we have briefly mentioned above, you can also use fresh garden tomatoes to create your very own homemade tomato puree.
You can also freeze your homemade tomato puree in an airtight container for up to 6 months, so none of it will go to waste. It will also mean that you have more tomato puree ready to use in a pinch the next time you run out!
All you will need is a sharp knife, a large saucepan, a blender, cutting board, peeler, airtight containers, and of course a supply of fresh garden tomatoes.
First, you will need to wash your tomatoes under running water, then pat these dry with kitchen paper. Now you will be ready to peel your tomatoes. Use a sharp peeler to remove the skin, and make sure to cut away any spots.
Slice your tomatoes in half, then remove the core. Use a medium sized spoon to scoop out the seeds and any watery pulp that is left behind. Chop your tomatoes into smaller pieces, then place them in your prepared saucepan.
Heat your chopped tomatoes over a medium to high heat, allowing them to reach boiling point. Reduce the heat to a medium heat, allowing your tomato sauce to simmer for a further 10 minutes until the tomato flesh is tender and the juices have been released.
Remove your saucepan from the heat, then allow the tomato sauce to cool for around 5 to 10 minutes. Next, you will need to add your tomato sauce to your blender.
Use the pulse function to blend your tomatoes until a smooth puree is formed. If you haven’t peeled your tomatoes beforehand or removed the seeds, you may wish to strain the mixture before you place it in your blender.
Now that all the hard work has been completed, you can divide the tomato puree into the prepared airtight containers. You can keep these in your refrigerator for around 12 to 15 days.
Alternatively you can place the airtight containers in your freezer, where the puree will keep for up to 6 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Tomato Puree And Tomato Sauce The Same Thing?
No, tomato puree and tomato sauce are not the same thing. Tomato puree is thicker than tomato sauce, and has a much more potent flavor. Tomato sauce is much thinner in consistency and is often seasoned whereas tomato puree is not.
Can You Use Tomato Puree To Thicken Sauces?
Yes, you can use tomato puree to thicken sauces. Simply cook your sauce for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato puree and your chosen stock.
Can You Use Diced Tomatoes In Place Of Tomato Puree?
Yes, you can use diced tomatoes in place of tomato puree. While tomato puree is often used to thicken sauces, diced tomatoes can make an excellent substitute. You can also use them to make your very own tomato puree.
What Can Be Used Instead Of Tomato Puree?
There are several different variations that you can use instead of tomato puree if you don’t have any to hand. You can use tomato paste, tomato sauce, pizza tomato sauce, fresh garden tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, or even tomato ketchup.
The best substitute will depend on the recipe that you need it for.
Can You Make Tomato Puree From Tomato Paste?
You can make tomato puree from tomato paste, yes, though this will take a little bit of time. You will need to place a cup of water and your tomato paste in a saucepan over a medium heat.
Make sure to keep whisking your mixture until the sauce reduces into a smooth puree.
What’s The Difference Between Puree And Paste?
Tomato puree and tomato paste are indeed similar, however, they are not the same thing. The main difference between the two is in their texture.
Tomato puree is made using a thick sauce of strained and cooked tomatoes. Tomato paste is much more concentrated in flavor, as it has been made using tomatoes that have been cooked, then strained, before being cooked again.
Tomato paste is much thicker than tomato puree.
So there you have it! You now have 6 fantastic substitutions that you can use in place of tomato puree. So if you don’t have any tomato puree to hand the next time you get cooking, why not reach for one of these great alternatives instead?