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The Most Comprehensive Tomato Substitute List: We Tallied 19

Whether you are making soup, salad, sauces or sandwiches, tomato will be one of the most common and popular ingredients you always see.

As you use it so frequently, it is normal to sometimes forgot to top up at the nearby grocery store. Luckily, there are alot of alternatives to consider.

  1. Red Bell Peppers
  2. Olives
  3. Tamarind Paste
  4. Mangoes
  5. Amla
  6. Pumpkins
  7. Yogurt
  8. Stock and Vinegar
  9. Cheese

Don’t worry if you still cannot find anything suitable. The full list below will definitely have something suitable for your cooking recipe.

But first, let’s understand why is tomato considered a health hazard that you may need to consider alternatives

19 Best Substitute For Tomato

Tomato Substitute

Tomatoes offer plenty of health benefits, which is why it’s a popular ingredient in many recipes. However, there is some research that indicates it can trigger an increase in uric acid levels.

Increased uric acid levels in the blood can trigger the onset of gout. If you want to avoid inflammation and pain associated with gout, it’s best to use tomato substitutes. [Source]

However, if you do not have this health issue, then the best substitute for tomato are products made from it including sun dried tomatoes  and tomato puree.

Of course, you can still consider other alternatives in the long list below.

Red Bell Peppers

Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are great substitutes for tomatoes, especially when you have them grilled. Fresh bell peppers work quite well too since they’re also quite flavorful.

Bell peppers have a beautiful red color, which is a great match up for greens. Salads get a boost in flavor and color, making them really appetizing.

Red bell peppers also match the color and sweetness you get from tomatoes. Of course, there are color variants that you can choose from including yellow and orange.

Bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which help boost your immune system. They’re also rich in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure 

Olives

Olives may have a slightly different flavor profile compared to tomatoes, but they can be a great substitute. The savory flavor coming from olives enhances the taste of any dish, which you also get from tomatoes.

Contrary to some people’s opinions, olives aren’t vegetables – they’re fruits, just like tomatoes. They’re plucked from olive trees, which are grown in Mediterranean coasts and some parts of west Asia.

Olives add a salty bright flavor to any dish. Add them to salads, braised chicken dishes, seafood cocktails, and slow cooker recipes.

You can combine olives and virgin coconut oil to many veggie dishes. Use them on whole grain pasta, raw or roasted veggies, and pretty much any dish. Fun fact: olive oil is an integral ingredient in the Mediterranean diet.

Olives contain very little calories and are a good source of healthy fats. They’re also a good source of vitamin E and K.

Tamarind Paste

Tamarind Paste

If you’re looking for that tangy and slightly sweet flavor from tomatoes, then try tamarind paste as a substitute. The combination of sweet and sour flavors come pretty close, especially when you’re making stews.

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Tamarind paste is made from the fruit of the tamarind tree, which is endemic to the tropics. In many cuisines, this paste is used for both savory and sweet plates.

Tamarind naturally has a rather sour taste, which is why chefs usually add a sweetener to the paste. But if you prefer a rather sour flavor to your dish, then tamarind by itself is a great option.

Tamarind is a great source of antioxidants and essential minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium. Aside from cooking, the fruit is used in traditional medicine. The pulp also has a few home uses such as removing the tarnish from bronze and copper. [Source]

Mangoes

Mangoes are one of the most widely cultivated tropical fruits in the world today. It’s native to southern Asia but can be purchased in grocery and fresh produce stores.

When they’re fully ripe, mangoes are naturally sweet and very juicy. However, as a caveat, the texture and flavor of the fruit can vary, depending on its ripeness and variant. Use different types of mangoes as a tomato substitute, depending on the flavor you’re looking for.

Mangoes are packed with lots of nutrients such as vitamins, carbs, protein, and essential minerals. It’s an excellent source of folate and copper, which are beneficial to pregnant women. 

Amla

amla

Amla berries are also known as Indian gooseberries, which can be eaten raw or cooked as part of other recipes. It can be used for savory dishes and sweet desserts.

They look like green tomatoes and taste like ripe red tomatoes when cooked well. Some people use amla berries in recipes like chutney and curry.

Amla berries are an excellent source of antioxidants, especially vitamin C, providing you plenty of health benefits. Examples include diabetes control, improved digestion, better eye health, and boosting memory and brain function. [Source]

Pumpkins

There is more to pumpkins other than being carved during Halloween to make Jack o’lanterns. Originating from Mexico and the US, these fruits have become widely used all over the world.

You can store freshly picked pumpkins for about three months. Just keep them in a cool, dry, and dark storage room. If you want to grow your own pumpkins in the garden, plant the seeds in June. They’ll be ready for harvest for Halloween.

Pumpkins are nutrient dense containing lots of vitamins and minerals. They also contain very few calories. They’re a rich source of fiber and essential minerals like iron and potassium.

Adding pumpkins to your recipes has many health benefits. They help boost immunity, improve eye health, and boost skin and heart health. 

Yogurt

yogurt

If you’re after the tangy and slightly sweet flavor from tomatoes, use yogurt as a flavoring substitute. It’s made by fermenting milk using yogurt cultures.

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The cultures create an acidic flavor and are often blended with fruits and other sweeteners. If you’re going to use it as a tomato substitute, use a plain unsweetened yogurt variety.

If you’re trying out some Indian recipes, then yogurt will come in handy if you want to bring out those exotic flavors. It goes well with curry recipes with a tomato base. Use it for dishes like biryani and masalas, which require a good amount of tomatoes.

Stock and Vinegar

If you’re making soup with tomatoes as a main part of the recipe, use stock and vinegar. You don’t need to run to the grocery store, just use whatever soup stock you’ve already prepared.

The secret is to add some vinegar to the stock to get the desired tanginess in your soup. The stock combined with the vinegar creates an interesting added flavor.

Don’t use too much vinegar though, just use enough to get the desired sour taste. This combination also works for sauces too.

Adding vinegar to soups and sauces have some powerful health benefits. Potential health benefits include better blood sugar control, weight management, and cholesterol reduction. 

Cheese

Cheese

If a recipe calls for tomatoes to add that distinct umami flavor in a recipe, then you can use cheese as a substitute. Some may think that it’s a bit of a stretch, but it does work quite well.

If your salad lacks the desired flavorful punch, then sprinkle some shaved parmesan or crumbled feta. It also blends well with the flavors for many sandwiches.

Cheese is a great source of calcium, protein, and healthy fats. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin A and B12. However, it’s always best to purchase cheese made from grass-fed dairy. 

Tomato Ketchup

If you need a quick substitute for fresh tomatoes, then open a bottle of ketchup. Many ketchup brands have a rather sweet flavor, which make it an excellent substitute for purees and sweet recipes.

Its core ingredients include sugar, tomatoes, vinegar, and salt, which explain the tangy yet sweet flavor. Note that some brands add other spices like cinnamon, coriander, and allspice.

Ketchup has a simple nutrient profile with few calories gained from plant compounds. It’s a good source of fat, protein, vitamins and fiber, which may support brain health. 

Zucchini

Zucchini

Some may think that using zucchini as a substitute for tomatoes is a bit of a stretch. However, its texture is quite similar when cooked minus the robust tartness that tomatoes are known for.

If you’re suffering from heartburn, then using zucchinis may benefit you. Apart from that, you’re also using a healthy substitute.

Grapes

You’ll be surprised how a handful of grapes can give you the same sweet, tart, and tangy flavor of tomatoes. If you want to achieve the same texture, combine a few pieces of zucchinis with grapes.

Grapes provide a lot of health benefits and are part of the Mediterranean diet. Studies show that it can prevent cancer, boost the immune system, reduce cholesterol, boost brain health, and prevent heart disease. [Source]

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Carrots

carrots

Carrots are all around healthy food and they also add the same color to any dish just like tomatoes. However, you need to cook your carrots real well to achieve the same texture.

You can crush your boiled carrots to make a lovely replacement for tomato paste. Here’s a pro tip: add a splash of vinegar to get the tangy flavor.

Carrots provide a lot of health benefits. They’re an excellent source of dietary carotenoids, support heart health by providing cholesterol balance, and reduce cancer risk. 

Beets

Throw one or two beets into your pressure cooker, peel, and then puree them. You’ll be surprised at how well it works as a substitute for tomatoes.

They will have a similar texture in sauce and paste form. To get the same tangy flavor profile, you can add some citrus juice or vinegar.

Peanut Butter

peanut butter

Sometimes you need to add tomatoes to your recipe to serve as a thickener. If you run out of tomatoes, you can use peanut butter to achieve the same effect.

It works in some recipes, but may not be a great option for others. Use it as a substitute in high-protein dishes, like meatloaf for instance.

Umeboshi Paste

If you can find umeboshi paste in Asian stores, then you’re in luck since it’s an excellent tomato substitute. It’s a Japanese condiment made from plums and pickled with salt.

It has a versatile tangy flavor, which is quite similar to tomatoes. It’s ideally used as a dressing or dip and, of course, it goes well with sushi.

Umeboshi paste is highly alkaline and helps alleviate the symptoms of many digestive problems. Adding it to meals helps with hangovers, diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, and acid reflux. 

Molasses

 

Molasses is used as a tomato substitute when combined with other ingredients mentioned in our list. Use molasses to bring out the sweetness in your dish, but don’t put in too much.

The flavor of the molasses can become overwhelming. However, you reap its health benefits since its nutrients support bone health, treats anemia, and relieves constipation.

Sweet Potatoes

When boiled until soft and mashed, sweet potatoes can be used as a chili base replacing tomatoes. They can achieve the same texture and provide a similar flavor.

Cut them into small pieces so they get soft quickly. It usually takes around 20 minutes of hard boiling before they can be squashed easily into a paste.

Other Tomato Products

As mentioned above, to get the same taste and texture, you can consider using sun dried tomatoes or tomato puree for your recipe. However, the end product taste will still have a bit of difference.

It will be good to test with a small portion to get the proportion right before committing.

Of course, if you have health issues like gout, this will not be recommended.