5 Best Substitutes For Stewed Tomatoes

Stewed tomatoes are an American dish made with fresh tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and sometimes other ingredients such as bell peppers, onions, and celery. 

This traditional dish is still eaten throughout the United States as a main. It is often served as a side dish, especially on occasions like Thanksgiving. The dish has been served in America since at least the 1700s when it showed up on a Kentucky race track’s menu in 1788 as tomato stew.

You might be making stewed tomatoes as a special dish to be enjoyed with bread, but there are a growing number of dishes that use stewed tomatoes as part of a bigger recipe.

For those reasons, you do sometimes need a substitute for stewed tomatoes. However, finding a suitable replacement depends on what you’re cooking. Instead of fresh tomatoes, for example, you can use canned tomatoes instead. So don’t panic because there are options aplenty.

Check out these substitute ideas.

Substitutes for Stewed Tomatoes

In many cases, you can substitute fresh tomatoes with canned tomatoes and add the spices as you would normally. You can also substitute tomato varieties easily, with few exceptions. For example, plum tomatoes and Campari tomatoes are popular varieties with many sub-types and can be used for cooking with delicious tangy flavors with plenty of sweet notes. But you would perhaps do well to stay clear of cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and oven-roasted tomatoes.

Crushed tomatoes

Crushed tomatoes can serve as the base for your stewed tomatoes by removing the need to stew the tomatoes for a long time. Instead, you can take your tomatoes and crush them before cooking them.

Another benefit of crushed tomatoes is that you can remove the skins. When cooked, the skin from tomatoes can release a bitter flavor, so eliminating the skins can be a good idea.

Canned tomatoes

Canned tomatoes, also known as tinned tomatoes in the United Kingdom, are an excellent alternative to stewed tomatoes. Open the can and get cooking right away. Then, add the herbs and other vegetables as you would ordinarily do. You can combine canned tomatoes with tomato puree to create a slightly thicker sauce.

Note: Not all canned tomatoes are equal, and therefore you should opt for the highest quality you can get. Canned plum tomatoes can help create a more delicious sauce than chopped.

Tomato puree

You can stir in tomato puree with herbs and vegetables to create a sauce that doesn’t contain any tangible tomatoes in particular. This option can be a preference for those wishing to serve soup-like meals or for recipes that include sausage or pasta.

Tomato puree can give your dish a vibrant, energetic, and attractive appearance. What you might wish to do with puree is use it in combination with other options on the list, such as canned tomatoes or crushed tomatoes.

Tomato paste

Tomato paste is an ideal alternative for stewed tomatoes in soups, or you can make a tomato paste sauce to use in meat dishes if you find tomato puree or stewed tomatoes not to your preference. 

Many people do not know that tomato paste and puree are different, with tomato paste being far thicker in density. 

Note: You can add a little hot water to tomato paste to dilute it a little.

Passata

Passata is an excellent substitute for not only stewed tomatoes but also tomato paste or puree. You can find passata in grocery stores where the premium stuff comes in glass jars, often combined with herbs and spices already. So if you attempt to create a more traditional stewed tomato dish, you should opt for plain passatas and add herbs, spices, and veggies yourself.

Passatas can be creamy and delicious, and you can combine them with tomato puree to add extra thickness, as desired.

You can add skinless tomatoes to passatas later in the cooking process to maintain the more traditional textures from stewed tomatoes. Skinless tomatoes will not add bitterness to your dish, while they also reduce faster under heat, giving them a more stewed texture.

Option 1: Cut tomatoes into halves and use a tablespoon to scoop out the fleshy insides of the tomato.

Option 2: Cut the tomato in half and use a knife to cut along the edge of the skin and peel.

Leave a Comment