Intense, chewy, flavorful... what’s not to love about sun-dried tomatoes? Pretty much nothing, but there are times when a recipe calls for sun-dried tomatoes, and there are none to be found. Don't fret; I have many sun-dried tomato substitute options to save your dish and provide lots of flavors. Read on!
Whether plain, seasoned or in olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes will add an excellent flavor to your salads and dishes. They act as a healthy and delicious snack, which can be added to almost any recipe. This type of tomato contains nutrients such as antioxidants and offers various health benefits. For this reason, many people are now looking for ways to add sun-dried tomatoes to their meals.
These tomatoes are dried in the sun and are dehydrated. Sun-dried tomatoes offer an intense and unique flavor. People generally add it to salads, pasta, and other meals for bursts of sweet flavor.
However, if you are unable to find sun-dried tomatoes or you find the store-bought version too expensive, do fret. There are substitutes available. Keep reading for some of the best sun-dried tomato substitutions.
Top Substitutes for Sun-Dried Tomatoes
1. Quick Oven Roasted Tomatoes
Quick oven-roasted tomatoes are a versatile option suitable for any recipe. This product is not dried for too long and has a softer texture. Moreover, it is sweeter than regular sun-dried tomatoes. It has a less intense flavor, but people tend to enjoy it. Semi-dried tomatoes are the perfect replacement you will find as it requires similar quantities.
To make semi-dried tomatoes, follow my quick tomato oven-roasted recipe. It is as easy as placing the tomatoes in the oven for 20 minutes. This method is my favorite sun-dried tomato substitute go-to!
2. Tomato Puree
Tomato puree works excellent for pasta, soups, and stews. This dried tomato substitute is perfect for recipes that require a dense tomatoey liquid. It can have a strong tomato flavor that is similar to sun-dried tomatoes.
3. Fresh Tomatoes
For salads and sandwiches, fresh tomatoes are a great substitute since they offer the perfect balance of flavors and make the recipe delicious. I think a fresh ingredient is the best replacement. Why?
- It offers a subtle flavor and gives fresh juiciness
- For salads, a pound of cherry tomatoes or plum versions is amazing
- Adding lemon to the recipe will boost the tomato flavor
4. Tamarind Paste
For Asian stir-fries, the best-dried tomato substitute is tamarind paste. It offers a similar sour and sweet flavor. But you will need to take care of the quantity added to the recipe; tamarind paste has a robust sour taste. It is recommended to use a small amount of the paste and test before adding more. I like to start with a ¼ teaspoon.
5. Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Suppose you love sun-dried tomatoes and want to make them yourself. Purchase sweet fresh cherry or grape tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes in half and take out all the flesh and seeds. Place them on a baking tray and oven-bake them at 140 degrees. Place it in the oven for 2-4 hours. This slow method takes time, and because each tomato and range can vary, I recommend staying close to check on the tomatoes often. It is incredible how quickly the tomatoes can go from perfect to burned.
Sun-Dried Tomato Salad Substitutes
1. Fresh Tomatoes
Your salad recipe calls for sun-dried but you only have fresh tomatoes? No worries, In most cases fresh tomatoes are the perfect substitute. Add in a hand full of cherry or grape tomatoes. If using a roma or larger tomato, remove the seeds and fleshy interior of the tomato. This will help keep your salad dry. Once removed, dice the tomato into your preferred size.
2. Roasted Bell Peppers
Roasted bell peppers work great as a replacement for sun-dried tomatoes. The flavor is slightly charred and mildly sweet, giving your meal a delicious taste and a great finishing touch.
Roasted red peppers are easy to buy at the grocery store. You can roast red peppers at home on the stovetop, in the oven, or using a dehydrator.
In addition to salads, roasted peppers can be used in pasta dishes, as pizza toppings, with antipasto, or in bruschetta.
Pecans are a seemingly untraditional exchange for sun-dried tomatoes, BUT it is a solid option. They offer a similar flavor and add a nutty texture to your dish. You can use a 1:1 substitution for pecans in the recipe by replacing one cup of pecans instead of diced sun-dried tomatoes.
To further improve flavors and give a smokier taste, place the pecans in the oven and roast them for a couple of minutes. It is an excellent option for people looking to make vegan dishes. Moreover, pecans will make just about any sauce taste great!
Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Substitutes
If you are looking for a substitute to make your pasta even more delicious, then opt for the following options:
1. Canned Tomatoes
Drained canned tomatoes are popular for sauces. The flavor profile is similar but mild and can be thickened by adding a scoop of tomato paste. Substitute ¼ cup of sun-dried tomatoes with ¾ cup of drained canned tomatoes. Let the tomatoes cook longer to increase the flavor intensity.
2. Tomato Paste/ Tomato Sauce
Tomato paste is made by cooking tomatoes over a long period and straining them, so the paste doesn’t have any skin or seeds. As a result, you will get a thick and concentrated liquid with an intense flavor and deep red color.
Tomato paste is readily available in stores and in tubes or cans. It is an excellent substitute for sun-dried tomatoes and can be used in soups, curries, or any other dish which needs a tomato taste. Note that the paste will thicken your recipe, but there won’t be any texture.
Other Substitution Posts
Frequently Asked Questions
Even though it might sound strange, you can get sun-dried tomatoes in the sun. There are three basic methods of drying tomatoes.
Food dehydrator – if you are looking for a quicker method, I recommend a food dehydrator. For best results, follow the instructions. I recommend sprinkling the fresh tomatoes with sea salt.
Oven Roasted – Sun-dried tomatoes can be made in the oven as well. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees. Arrange the tomatoes on the cake rack. Close the range for 2-4 hours.
Car Dashboard – It may sound silly, but a hot car on a sunny day makes an excellent food dryer. Take a shallow tray and spread the tomato slices. Cover it using a cheesecloth so that bugs do not come in contact with it. Place the tray on the dashboard of your car and park the vehicle in the sunniest spot. Roll up all the windows. It might take 2-3 days, but you will eventually achieve sun-dried tomatoes.
Sort of. It depends on the recipe. For sandwiches, salads, and pasta fillings, yes, you can! Sun-dried tomatoes have an intense flavor compared to fresh tomatoes.
However, if you want to replace sun-dried tomatoes with tomato sauce, I would not recommend it. The two can be used in different ways within a recipe.
Yes! Sun-dried tomatoes are high in vitamin C and potassium. Fresh tomatoes are excellent for your health. However, fresh tomatoes have a high level of water, which is why they go bad quickly. Dried tomatoes can retain their flavor while lasting a long time. Moreover, it also has numerous vitamins and antioxidants, making it a healthy choice.