16 Best Substitutes for Tomatoes

Best Substitutes for Tomatoes

A substitute, also known as an alternative, is something that can be used in place of another thing. In many cases, substitutes for tomatoes are made because the item being replaced isn’t available (or the customer doesn’t want to spend money on it). 

Since tomatoes aren’t in season, they are one example of an ingredient that can be substituted with other foods or seasonings.

Here are some suggestions for substitutes for tomatoes instead of tomato sauce in your favorite recipes.

1. Grapes

The first on the list of substitutes for tomatoes is grapes. Tomatoes have a tangy, acidic taste that makes them indispensable to many dishes. However, they can be hard to find or too expensive at times.

Luckily, there are plenty of substitutes for tomatoes you can use in your recipes instead of fresh tomatoes.

Grapes have the same qualities as fresh tomatoes and can be used similarly. This can either be on its own in salads or chopped up and added to sauces or salsas.

2. Carrots

There’s always a substitute for tomatoes. So we have carrots on the list as well. And carrots can be used in a variety of dishes. 

You can use them as slices in salads, as part of a sauce, or even as the main ingredient in soup or stew. The color they add to dishes is also really pretty and compliments many other vegetables nicely.

3. Peppers and Carrots

Peppers and carrots are also substitutes for tomatoes. Although alternative chili recipe includes ingredients like carrots, maize, and bell peppers, it still needs spices to be spicy.

4. Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin is an excellent addition to your chili recipe. Use pumpkin puree as a substitute for tomatoes or tomato sauce. Your chili will taste especially autumnal if you add pumpkin to it.

Your chili will have a rich, thick texture if you use pumpkin puree as a substitute for tomatoes. It goes great with chicken, pig, and seasonings from the fall. 

Chili made with pumpkin is a wonderful choice if you don’t eat a lot of beef. By the way, you can replace tomato paste in just about any recipe with pumpkin puree. Could you test it out?

5. Sweet Potatoes & Carrots

Sweet potatoes and carrots are next on the list of substitutes for tomatoes. If you have a nightshade allergy, use sweet potatoes and carrots to make the basis of your chili. 

Cut them up into small, consistent pieces to ensure speedy and equal cooking. Boiling the vegetables until they are tender and can be readily crushed should take around 20 minutes.

You can also include Worcestershire sauce, cumin, garlic, and vinegar. You may give your nightshade-free chili a more traditional flavor.

Because most store-bought sauces contain nightshade components, homemade Worcestershire sauce is required.

Your no-nightshade chili could also include other components like cheddar, onions, mushrooms, and vegetable broth.

6. Lemon Juice, Curds, and Dried Mango Powder

In substitutes for tomatoes, a recipe can use this mixture. These sour ingredients will give your food some bite. Your recipe’s other ingredients will determine what substitutions you can use. 

Choose a souring agent that complements the other ingredients in your dish as much as possible. Some alternatives will be utilized more frequently depending on where you are.

7. Butternut Squash Puree

Almost any recipe can use these as substitutes for tomatoes. But when utilized in Indian cuisine, it really shines. 

When combined with customary Indian spices, the texture and flavor, whether roasted or not, are extremely delicious. The members of your family might not even realize they are consuming tomatoes!

8. Bilimbi

Bilimbi is another substitute for tomatoes on the list. Bilimbi is a fruit with crunchy, juicily sour, green, or yellow skin. On the west coast, people frequently use it as a substitute for tomatoes when making fish dishes.

9. Unripened Mangoes

Unripened mangoes might be the way to go if you’re looking for substitutes for tomatoes. They provide a sweet and sour taste that will please your palate. 

Mangoes have an acidic flavor that is perfect as a topping or addition to dishes like stir-fries. To make mango sauce, combine chopped mangos with water and puree the mixture in a blender or food processor until it reaches your desired consistency. Add salt and pepper if desired.

10. Olives

Olives can be used as substitutes for tomatoes in many dishes. One of the most popular is Italian pizza.

The olives are one of the main ingredients on a pizza and offer a tangy taste similar to tomatoes. But not nearly as sweet or juicy.

You can also use olives in pasta sauces, especially if you’re trying to lighten up the dish with fewer calories and fat, using olive oil instead of butter or cream-based sauces.

11. Elephant Apple

Eastern Indians, on the other hand, favor Elephant Apple as their souring agent of choice. This is a great choice for you to try if tomatoes are the main ingredient in the dish you are cooking.

12. Beets

Beets can be good Substitutes for tomatoes. Beets have a sweet, earthy taste that can easily be incorporated into any dish with the right seasoning. You can roast or boil them depending on what your dish requires.

For example, boiling pasta sauce will help create a thick and rich sauce that tastes just like the one you would make with tomato paste.

If you’re making soup or chili, roasting them will give it an earthy flavor and more depth of flavor than using canned tomatoes.

Overall, beets make great substitutes for tomatoes in many dishes because they can take on many different flavors while still retaining their own natural flavors.

13. Umeboshi Paste

Umeboshi paste is a traditional Japanese food that has many uses. It’s made from ume fruit, sea salt, and shiso leaf.

The most common use of umeboshi is to make pickled vegetables, but it also makes wonderful substitutes for tomatoes in tomato-based sauces and soups. It can be used in or in addition to tomato paste.

14. Peanut Butter

You can occasionally substitute peanut butter for the tomatoes you normally use to thicken. In certain recipes, like meatloaf, this works incredibly well, but not in others.

So use this one with caution! As a general rule, if peanuts would go well with the food, then using peanut butter is definitely ok.

15. Molasses

The next on the list of substitutes for tomatoes is Molasses. This serves as a complement to other tomato substitutes rather than a replacement in and of itself.

Therefore, use a modest amount of it due to its distinctive, strong flavor. And combine it with another substitute for a tomato to enhance the dish’s sweetness (if warranted).

16. Tamarind

Tamarind is one of the more expensive choices on the list of substitutes for tomatoes. However, the cost is justified. 

When prepared properly, tamarind’s distinctive sweet and sour flavor makes it a great alternative to tomatoes.

It works particularly well in Indian, Asian, or Mexican dishes. You’ll adore how tamarind will complement the dish if you enjoy spicy food.


While tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables in the world, people who don’t like tomatoes or who are allergic to them might not enjoy this fantastic food. Luckily, plenty of other foods can make excellent substitutes for tomatoes.

Whether you are making tomato sauce or just eating it raw in sandwiches and salads, this blog post is for you! Above is a list of great substitutes for tomatoes that you may have never thought of before!

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