5 Substitutes For Strained Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a staple in all of our kitchens. Whether we’re making spaghetti sauce, salsa or guacamole the tomato is always there! But what do you do when your tomatoes go babed and you can’t find any at the store? You use a substitute for strained tomatoes that will save your dish from going to waste! 

There are several kinds of substitutes, such as tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, and red bell pepper!

These options will allow you to continue cooking without sacrificing flavor. Plus, they’re incredibly close to the real thing, letting you enjoy your favorite meals without thinking twice. 

In this blog post, I’ll cover 5 substitutes for strained tomatoes so that you never have to worry about running out again.

5 Substitutes For Strained Tomatoes

1. Tomato Sauce

The first substitute is to use tomato sauce. If you’re making spaghetti, then using a jar of good-quality tomato or pasta sauce can work to replace strained tomatoes in your recipe. You just need to remember that it’s not the same as fresh and this substitute for strained tomatoes should be used sparingly to avoid overpowering other flavors! 

Another great substitution is canned whole peeled or diced tomatoes (blended) which are often sold with Italian seasonings added so they also make an excellent addition when cooking pasta sauces or stews.

  • An excellent substitute to replace strained tomatoes
  • Remember that sauce will have a slightly different taste than fresh tomatoes
  • Use them sparingly so they don’t overpower other flavors
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2. Tomato Paste

Another way to substitute for strained tomatoes is by adding some tomato paste if you have it on hand but don’t forget about all the flavor-packed inside each little serving! Just mix it into room temperature water until smooth before incorporating it into recipes where needed. 

This makes for a good addition to pot pies, soups, or casseroles. Plus, having tomato paste is easy to manage when adding into recipes since it’s usually thick enough to remain in place rather than running off like tomato sauce would.

  • Inexpensive and readily found at most grocery stores
  • Mixes well in recipes without running off or becoming overwhelming
  • Adds a rich, deep flavor to any dish

3. Tomato Paste Powder

Tomato paste powder is also a good replacement for strained tomato, but it’s best suited for dryer foods such as pizza sauce or meatloaf. You can also use a little tomato paste powder to thicken up the consistency of a soup just before serving. 

For example, if you’re making a vegetable beef stew and it’s too thin for your liking, simply sprinkle in some tomato paste powder until desired thickness is achieved then stir to mix well. You’ll have an amazing-tasting finished product! Later on, you can reheat the left-over beef stew as well.

  • Tomato paste powder is a good sub for strained tomatoes
  • This sub works best in dryer food, such as pizza sauce or meatloaf.
  • It also thickens up soups just before serving

4. Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are a great substitute as well since they’re already cooked and ready to go. Just add a couple of tablespoons for each cup of broth, stir well and allow it to heat through before adding the rest. If you’re using tomatoes from a can or jar make sure they are not packed in the puree as this will alter the consistency significantly. 

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Simply blend with a few tablespoons of water to thin out the consistency, but do not overcook otherwise your sauce will be too runny. It works great on food such as pizza, pasta, or even meat dishes.

  • Substitute canned tomatoes for strained tomatoes to save time
  • Perfect on pizza, pasta, or meat dishes
  • No mess in your kitchen

5. Red Bell Pepper

Lastly, you can substitute strained tomatoes with red bell pepper, which may be a bit different, but still does the trick. It is vital to remember that it will give your sauce a slightly sweet taste, so if you want something less sweet try adding some carrot instead for an even more neutral flavor profile. Red bell pepper will suit certain dishes better such as pizzas, pasta, and meat dishes.

It’s also less likely to be used as a paste or sauce since blended red bell pepper is too mushy for some kinds of dishes. Red bell peppers are quite healthy, as they are rich in Vitamin C, A, and B. You may consider frying your red bell peppers in oil instead of eating them raw to get a closer consistency to tomatoes. 

  • Red bell peppers are healthy and taste great
  • You can use red bell peppers for a variety of dishes such as pizzas, pasta, and meat dishes
  • Try adding red bell pepper instead if you want something less sweet than strained tomatoes


Experiment with different vegetables in place of tomatoes, since you may have a favorite or discover something new! 

These options are a great way to temporarily replace strained tomatoes, or even give you a few ideas to try something new. 

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Keep in mind that by using a substitute for strained tomatoes, you may need to adjust cooking times and even the amount of liquid in your recipes.