Tomatoes are very versatile, they are the perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors, and I don’t even want to get started on the health benefits because the list goes on and on. Because tomatoes go bad quickly, it is only rational to turn them into a paste to extend the shelf life, which is why we have tomato paste.
Due to the versatility of tomatoes, you will find tomato paste in many recipes, but not everyone gets to enjoy this sweet and acidic paste mainly because of allergies. A few percentages of people have nightshade allergies, so they can not consume tomatoes in whatever form it comes in. So, for this reason, a substitute is needed.
In this article, I will be sharing some of the best substitutes for tomato paste to use in your recipe without putting your health at risk. But first, let us take a closer look at what tomato paste is all about.
Tomato Sauce Nutrition Facts
What is Tomato Paste?
Tomato paste is a thick paste that is made from tomatoes. In producing this paste, tomatoes are cooked for a long period to remove excess water. The seeds and skins are then removed, and the tomatoes are cooked for a second time until the base turns into a concentrated paste.
Tomato paste is not the same as tomato purée or tomato sauce as these have thinner consistencies, with tomato sauce being the thinnest.
Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family. It also contains a toxic chemical called alkaloids. People with nightshade allergies may experience breathing problems, eczema, or rashes when consuming tomatoes.
Uses of Tomato Paste in Recipes
Tomato paste brings an exceptional tomato flavor to dishes; it can be used to bring a natural umami flavor to braised meats, soups, stews, and sauces. This paste is a versatile cooking ingredient. It can be used to balance the acidity and sweetness in your dish; it also has other functions like adding depth to sauces and substituting fresh tomatoes in many recipes.
The perfect way to harness the full flavor from your tomato paste would be to caramelize it before cooking. Sauté the paste in some fat or oil for some seconds or a couple of minutes to remove that metallic taste associated with canned foods, this process will turn your bright red tomato paste into a darker brown hue, and the flavor would be a more concentrated tomato paste packed with umami flavor.
Below are some recipes that you can prepare with tomato paste.
- Meatballs in Curried Sauce
- Low-Fat Butter Chicken
- Party Sausage Rolls
- Zoodles with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella
- Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Casserole
- Pepperoni Pasta Bake
- Easy Ratatouille
- Rigatoni Pasta Pie
- Eggplant Parm Casserole
- Three-Ingredients Creamy Tomato Shells
- Baked Zucchini “Ziti” Spiral with Mozzarella
- Chicken Parmesan Baked Ziti
- Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili
- Polenta and Meatballs
- Pepperoni Pizza Sliders
Substitutes for Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is a very versatile ingredient. I mean, tomatoes are included in almost every recipe, and if you eat Italian food a lot, then tomatoes may be something you are already accustomed to. However, if you have a tomato or nightshade allergy, you may want to avoid eating tomatoes, which may mean you would miss out on many delicious recipes.
To fix this problem, you will need to remove tomatoes from your diet entirely, but some dishes need that flavor, and depth tomato brings. The best thing to do is to use a substitute similar to tomatoes that would not trigger your allergies.
Do you know you get a flavor similar to tomatoes with other veggies? Keep reading to find out about these veggies.
Beets come the closest to tomatoes in terms of flavor and texture. This vegetable is not part of the nightshade family so you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Beets are harder than tomatoes, so they require a longer time to cook, and this may be a problem if you need to use it in a pinch. To turn raw beets into a thick paste-like tomato paste, cook them with a pressure cooker. The beets will become a lot softer after they are cooked with a pressure cooker; next, you have to put them in a blender and blend until you achieve a paste similar to tomato paste. The taste may not be a perfect match, but it comes very close to the real deal.
Use this paste in a 1 to 1 ratio when subbing for tomato paste in your recipe.
Carrots can also substitute tomatoes in your recipe. It may not have the same flavors as tomato paste, and it lacks the acidity of tomatoes. To fix this, simmer some diced carrots with chopped onions and garlic, add some vinegar and very little water (you don’t want the paste to be too thin). The vinegar would recreate the acidity of tomatoes, and the other ingredients would help give a complex flavor that should be somewhat similar to tomato paste. Add some red food coloring or some beets to give you that red appearance of tomato paste.
Use this paste as a direct swap for tomato paste in your recipe.
You could make your very own tomato sauce at home with just a few ingredients. You would need some cranberries and cherries to make the base for this tomato sauce.
The next step is to add about an inch of cinnamon stick and some sea salt and stir the mixture to incorporate everything. Pressure cook everything for 5 minutes and cool before throwing it in the blender.
You can also use this sauce in a 1 to 1 ratio whenever you need some tomato paste. Remember that this sauce may be a bit thinner than actual tomato paste.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long can tomato paste be kept?
An unopened tomato paste can be kept in the pantry for about six months, a canned paste that has been opened can last a maximum of 7 days, and one in a glass jar would last up to 10 days. But if you have some tomato paste in a tube, it can be kept for as long as 45 days.
Can you get sick from old tomato paste?
If there was no mold, odor, or bad taste, there is no need to worry. However, you still need to check with a professional medical practitioner for health reasons.
How can you replace tomato paste with tomato purée?
Tomato paste and tomato purée are almost the same thing; the only difference is that tomato purée has a thinner consistency. So to get the best results, use three tablespoons of tomato purée wherever the recipe calls for tomato sauce.
Tomato is a staple in the culinary world; even if you have a tomato allergy, you may still encounter a recipe that calls for it. There is no need to shy away from tomato recipes because you could swap out tomato paste for some of these nightshade-free substitutes.