Does your recipe call for crushed tomatoes and you only have diced? No problem!

By Patricia S York
June 11, 2020
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Diced, crushed, whole, or paste? How many ways can you can a tomato? Whether you are making a pot of homemade tomato sauce, a pan of lasagna, or trying your hand at tomato gravy, if you aren’t using fresh you will more than likely reach for a canned tomato product such as crushed or diced tomatoes. Thankfully, if you don’t have the exact canned item called for, there are always easy ways to substitute with another tomato product – here is how to make a substitute for tomato paste.  Read on for easy substitutions for crushed tomatoes.

Use Fresh Tomatoes

Crushed tomatoes are typically made with peeled, seeded, and crushed Roma tomatoes.  Using your own fresh tomatoes is a natural substitute for canned crushed tomatoes. Peel your tomatoes, quarter and seed them if desired, then dice the tomatoes up and put them in your food processor. Don’t pulverize them completely – you want your mixture to be chunky, not completely saucy. You can even add a small amount of tomato paste to your processing and get a thicker texture and finish. There is no need to season the tomatoes at this point because you will probably be seasoning the marinara sauce, stew, or whatever recipe you needed the crushed tomatoes for.

Use Tomato Paste

Since canned tomato paste is much thicker than crushed tomatoes, you will want to add something to it help with the texture. If you have them available, add some fresh tomatoes or even diced tomatoes to the paste and blend it all together. If that is not an option, add a little bit of water to the paste to slightly thin the consistency.

Use Diced Tomatoes

Diced tomatoes are generally tomato chunks packed in tomato juice. As when using fresh tomatoes, add a can of diced tomatoes to the food processor to blend them a bit, taking the tomatoes from the diced to the crushed state. Just remember to leave the mixture chunky and not turn it into a sauce. Add some tomato paste to these as well to improve upon the flavor and consistency.

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Use Marinara or Pasta Sauce

Using another tomato-based sauce as a substitute may work, but the problem here is that these sauces are already seasoned. If you need to use a jarred sauce, be mindful of the other spices and seasonings you will be using in your recipe so you don’t get an overload of garlic, salt, or basil.