Sun-dried Tomato Substitute

Sun-dried Tomato Substitute

Anyone who has tasted sun-dried tomatoes will become an instant fan. The process of sun-drying of ripe tomatoes infuses an amazing level of taste and flavor. Suddenly the plain old tomatoes undergo such drastic change in texture and flavor that it becomes an entirely new ingredient. The process infuses a lovely concentrated sweet-tart taste and a meaty texture. They are usually used as a part of pasta, pizza, salads, stir-fries, soups, stews, and more such recipes.

However, sun drying takes a long time, and you may need them during the winters when there is no ample sunlight. During other times, you do not have access to store-bought sun-dried tomatoes. In such a case, a quick replacement of a substitute is essential. We have presented you with a few viable options that you can easily substitute.

Any alternative you consider has to have a tangy, sweet, or tart flavor, if not all of them. The perfect substitute has to replicate some flavor of the sun-dried tomato, if not all.

sun-dried tomatoes
Source: Pixabay

Semi-dried Tomatoes

Let us agree that the closest taste will come from tomatoes, and so we will first be considering all the options within the same family. Semi-dried tomatoes are the best and closest options you can get your hands on. You can make them on your own, and they should take 1 – 2 days to be ready in the hot sun. Due to the increased moisture, they will be sweeter and softer than sun-dried ones. However, they will be sweet and tangy as desired. You may need to substitute a slightly larger quantity to compensate for the additional moisture.

Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are the next best option. They provide almost the same taste and flavor. Due to high moisture content, the intensity of the flavor will be lacking. You can reduce the moisture content by making a paste out of them and then heating them over low heat for 15 – 30 minutes. This way, the sauce can be thickened, else you can use some tomato paste to add some thickness. Drain away all the liquid before using them in any recipe.

Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is a concentrated form of tomato sauce, and it has quite an intense flavor. Being a paste, it will quickly dissolve in the preparation and incorporate well. You can quickly add it to any recipe that needs the sun-dried tomato flavor. You will miss the meaty and chewy texture of the sun-dried tomatoes, but this one is quite easily found in most grocery stores.

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Tamarind Paste

Tamarind paste is another option but with a more intense taste. It closely resembles the sweet-tart flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes. Substitute sun-dried tomato with tamarind paste carefully, using only a small amount. Use your judgment else, the recipe will taste altogether different. However, tamarind also has a strong sour flavor which you can balance by adding a little sugar to the recipe.

Roasted Bell Pepper

Sometimes, you will need to replace the sun-dried tomatoes not just for the taste but also for the texture. In this case, you can use roasted bell peppers. Bell peppers are soft and crunchy and become soft and chewy when roasted. This gives that meaty texture we need. To add the sweet-tart flavor, you can add any other substitutes we have considered in this article.

Making Your Own Sun-dried Tomatoes

This is the last but the best option, if you need an exact sun-dried tomato substitute. There are two methods of doing it, the fast one and the slow one. The slow one, of course, involves sun-drying on your own over a couple of days until they are ready.

The fast one involves using an oven. Slice the tomatoes in halves, deseed them completely and drain the middle fleshy part of the tomatoes. Place them all on a baking tray and send them to bake at 130 degrees Fahrenheit till they are dry enough. They should be ready in 20 – 30 minutes.

Other common options

You can also use fresh tomatoes if you do not have anything else. They will at least make up for the flavor and compensate for sun-dried tomatoes in the recipe. You can also use tomato puree or even tomato powder as substitutes. Tomato powder comes from dehydrated tomatoes, similar to the sun-dried variety. Tomato puree comes from strained cooked tomatoes just like the way tomato sauce is made.

Use fresh, canned, or pureed tomatoes if you are making sauces. We have seen that the best options only come from the tomato family. You will have to stick to one of the substitutes mentioned here. As tomatoes and their products are very easily available, you will never be short of options. It is only a matter of choice.

Jillian Noon

Hi, I am Jillian Noon, the owner of this beautiful cooking blog. I create this blog to share my passion for cooking and other kitchen & food tips. I hope you will enjoy it!

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