Substitutes for Tomatoes in Recipes

Whatever the reason you don't wish to include tomatoes in a recipe, there are ingredients that often be substituted and still result in a delicious dish. This is a guide about substitutes for tomatoes in recipes.

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This is a guide about seedless substitutes for tomatoes in recipes. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from eating seeds, substitutions and alternative foods are a part of your daily eating habits.

Bowls of tomato sauce, tomato sauce, and tomato puree' laying on top of fresh whole tomatoes and peppers on a white backgound

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What can I use to substitute canned tomatoes when making things like beef stew, gumbo, or spaghetti? My kids do not like tomatoes and I was wondering can I just substitute with canned tomato sauce?


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I have an allergy to tomato so in stews I use pumpkin purée and sliced zucchini. I also use plum sauce for hamburgers etc. This seems to work well for me. 

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What can I substitute for tomatoes? I would be using it for an Indian recipe. I use tomatoes in almost every gravy or curry I make, such as Dal, etc.

By Pushpa

Roasted red bell peppers or zucchini would be my choices.

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I am unable to use tomatoes in cooking for health reasons. Is there a substitute that I can use in recipes?

By Jeanette from Sydney, Australia


Substitute for Tomatoes

I recently bought some jarred red peppers, not roasted, and have also used roasted red peppers. They will impart a different taste, but they are sweet and the same color as a tomato. I especially like them on sandwiches instead of a slice of tomato. Try using them in lieu of tomato.

By Ginnywest

Substitute for Tomatoes

Thank you for asking. I've been looking for years. Now I need to cut back on fats and every diet uses a tomato base for everything. I will use these suggestions with my new garden.

I like garlic and onion. Also try going green with pesto sauce. This can be used with most tomato base dishes straight across.

If your worried about fat try substituting walnuts or almonds for the pine nuts and use yogurt for the oil. The flavor will be different, but goes well with pasta or vegetables, most anything. Also this can be used cold as a dip. Makes a good salad dressing, too. (03/29/2010)

By alb2784

Substitute for Tomatoes

Squash of your favorite flavor choice would work. It will depend on the recipe whether it needs to be cooked and pureed or cooked and diced before substituting to your recipe. (03/29/2010)

By Deeli

Substitute for Tomatoes

I'm also allergic to tomatoes, along with many other things, including all dairy products and eggs. There are many substitutes for dairy and eggs readily available, but to find something to substitute tomato has been a nightmare. Perseverance and experimentation has produced a really useful puree/base.

I've used:

  • sweet pointed red peppers
  • 2 ordinary red peppers
    (you could use either one or the other if sweetness isn't to your taste)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed/chopped
  • half of a small squash, I used Coquina squash, but that's not so readily available, butternut would be fine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • half a teaspoon of salt and a good pinch of pepper (to taste though, please yourself!)

I simply cooked all of these together until soft and pureed them in a liquidizer until completely smooth. I've made batches of this and frozen it, it keeps very well. When defrosted I've put in whatever additions, such as chili, extra garlic or whatever herbs/seasoning, etc. suits your dish.

Of course this produces a sweeter puree than tomato so bear this in mind when creating your dishes. The addition of a bit of chili powder was a nice balance with the sweetness of the peppers.

We have successfully used this puree for pizza topping, bolognese or chili in place of tomatoes and even with adding a bit of soya yoghurt and/or cream substitute we used it last night as a base for a beautiful tikka masala sauce and it was equally as good as anything from an Indian restaurant.

Who needs tomatoes? hehe. I feel like I've scored a little victory!

By sassy.woman

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I have found out that I am allergic to tomatoes and I would like to know if anyone has any suggestions for something I could substitute them with. I like to eat lasagna, pizza, and nachos, but am no longer able to eat them with tomatoes.

Kfromoz from Australia


Substitute for Tomatoes

You could do an Alfredo type sauce. Or pesto. (12/07/2006)

Substitute for Tomatoes

You can make "white" lasagna with Alfredo sauce. My brother in law hates tomato sauce; he always orders his pizza with no sauce at all. It's not bad. And for Mexican you could find a guacamole you like. Good luck.

By dollar out of a dime

Substitute for Tomatoes

No Tomato Pizza


  • 2 pizza doughs
  • 1 lb meat, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pkg Ranch dressing mix
  • 1 cup Miracle Whip
  • 1/2 lb grated cheese


Cook meat, drain and crumble. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix dressing mix, Miracle Whip, and milk. Spread on dough. Cook 7-10 min. Spread with meat and onions. Top with cheese. Cook until cheese fully melted. (12/08/2006)

By Emma

Substitute for Tomatoes

Roasted red peppers make a really nice sauce for pasta. Or try olive oil and smashed garlic for a no cook sauce. You could even add some sauteed or grilled veggies.

Also, butter and chopped parsley are nice on pasta. You could add some red pepper flakes if you like it hot.

I like to use pesto sauce and ricotta on my pizza. Yum.

Try using the Ingredient Search at

By Marta

Substitute for Tomatoes

You can try a good balsamic vinegar and a combination of red, yellow, and orange bell peppers in a meat sauce for chili or pasta. Roasted red bell peppers are a fair alternative for tomatoes. Naturally, growing your own tastes better. (10/28/2007)

By allergickidmom

Substitute for Tomatoes

I am allergic to tomatoes and would suggest you "do not" use bell peppers as a substitute. Tomatoes are from the nightshade family and the nightshade family includes, potatoes (not yams or sweet potatoes), bell peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. I am unable to eat all of those things. I have found a recipe from a book called Sublime Soups by Lenore Baum. The recipe is as follows:


  • 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 jumbo onions, cut into large pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 pounds carrots, in large pieces
  • 2 small beets, peeled and quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp thyme
  • 3 TBL barley miso, or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup umeboshi paste
  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot. Saute' the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir constantly for 1 minute.

  2. Add the carrots, beets, and bay leaves. Add water to 1 inch below the surface of the vegetables. In this case, less is more. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered for 45 minutes.

  3. Add the basil, oregano, and thyme. Simmer for 15 minutes.

  4. Remove the bay leaves. Remove and reserve most of the broth. Remove about half of the beets and set aside.

  5. Transfer the vegetables, miso, and umbeboshi paste to a blender. Process, adding just enough broth to reach a tomato sauce consistency. Add the beets, one at a time, to simulate the color of tomato sauce.

I do not like beets so I leave them out. I do not care about the color so my sauce is orange. This is not a perfect substitution, but I have been able to use my sloppy joe recipe and use this in place of the ketchup and alter the recipe slightly and it is good. I have used this on homemade pizza and even people that can eat tomatoes have liked the pizza made with this sauce.

I freeze this sauce and it freezes well and thaws quickly.

Another thing I do in making pizza, is once I have rolled out the pizza dough, I brush on a thin coating of olive oil and then sprinkle an Italian blend of herbs on the olive oil. It includes oregano, rosemary, basil, thyme, and marjoram in the mix.

I hope this helps somebody out there. (11/05/2007)

Substitute for Tomatoes

Tomatillos have a tomato-like taste, but are not in the tomato family. People on dialysis who cannot eat tomatoes can use these, so they should be OK for those with allergies. I am on a low phosphorus diet due to low kidney function and found this advice on a site with recipes for dialysis patients. (12/29/2007)

By Virginia

Substitute for Tomatoes

I have been allergic to tomatoes for a long time now and have found that bottled tomato sauce has no effect on me at all, tomato pastes are a different story altogether. Continental powdered sachets that go into casseroles, etc. also have no effect. I have often been tempted to try tomatillos, but need a free weekend in case it doesn't work as I'm also allergic to oranges, some bananas, fresh limes, and paw paws. My newest addition is wheat gluten. It's not much fun, but there's plenty of food out there to choose from. (04/13/2009)

By MelanieRocky

Substitute for Tomatoes

I made an onion sauce for a whole grain pizza I just made. I used chopped onion sauteed in olive oil then simmered with a little water and pizza seasonings, salt, little lemon juice for a little bite. A quick pulse or two in the blender. Eggplant has worked in the past, persimmon, and I think zucchini might work, though I've never been big on zucchini. (11/29/2009)

By ericoalex

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Food and Recipes Food Tips SubstitutionsMarch 23, 2014
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