All out of tomato passata? Or looking to avoid nightshades? Either way it’s all good. Here are my favourite simple tomato passata substitutes both with and without tomatoes.
What is tomato passata?
Passata is a sauce made from skinned, de-seeded tomatoes. That have been lightly cooked and pureed. It’s used in Italian cooking.
The Best Tomato Passata Substitutes – Tomato Based Ingredients
1. Canned Tomatoes
Canned tomatoes are essentially the same as passata. But the seeds haven’t been removed and the tomatoes are still whole (or chopped) rather than being a smooth puree.
I use them interchangeably.
1 standard can tomatoes (including the liquid) = approx 1/2 standard jar passata.
2. Pasta Sauce / Marinara Sauce
Commercial tomato pasta sauces are slightly more concentrated than passata. They can have additional flavourings like onion or basil which may or may not be a good thing.
You could either substitute 1:1 or dilute the pasta sauce with a little water to make it more similar to passata.
In a dish where you’re going to be cooking the sauce anyway, you probably won’t notice the difference.
3. Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is essentially tomato passata that has been ‘triple’ concentrated.
Tomato paste is much less watery but has a very similar taste.
I often make my own passata by diluting concentrated tomato paste.
I use 1 part tomato pate + 2 parts water to make passata.
250g tomato paste + 500g water = 750g passata – approx the same as a standard jar of passata.
Tomato Ketchup is significantly sweeter and more concentrated than tomato passata.
Only use this if there are no other options.
Start by replacing 1/2 the passata with ketchup and adding water as needed.
Keep in mind you’ll end up with a significantly sweeter flavour.
Plus there will also be the extra flavours from the spices and vinegar used in ketchup. Which may be a good thing.
5. Fresh Tomatoes
Fresh tomatoes are the least concentrated form of tomato. They contain skins and seeds.
You can make a fresh passata by pureeing fresh tomatoes in your food processor. Then sieve to remove the seeds.
For an even closer match you could peel the tomatoes first.
The Best Tomato Passata Substitutes – Tomato Free
1. Water or stock
The easiest and quickest option is to replace the tomato passata with water or stock.
If you’re cooking a dish with a lot of other ingredients, you may not notice it.
1 standard jar passata = 3 cups water / stock.
2. Water / Stock + Extra Seasoning
Tomato passata adds sweet and salty flavours. In some cases an extra pinch of salt and possibly a little sugar will work in conjunction with the water.
A tablespoon or two of soy sauce can help add umami flavours.
3. No-mato Sauce
If you’re serious about avoiding nightshades, the closest tomato-free alternative I’ve discovered is Sarah Wilson’s ‘No-Mato Sauce’ from her ‘I Quit Sugar’ Cookbook.
The best place get the recipe would be to buy Sarah’s book. Or see this online version on someone else’s blog.
More Tomato Substitute Ideas
- Why I Stopped Buying Canned Tomatoes + What I Use Instead
- Fresh Tomato Substitutes
- Ketchup Substitutes [coming soon]
- Tomato Paste Substitutes
How to Store Tomato Passata
Keep unopened containers in your pantry. Once opened keep jars in the refrigerator. Can be frozen.
Delicious Tomato Flavour Pairings
- Avocado & Tomato
- Bacon & Tomato
- Basil & Tomato
- Cheese & Tomato
- Oregano & Tomato
- Rosemary & Tomato
- Garlic & Tomato
- Liver & Tomato
More Ingredient Substitutes
- The Ultimate Guide to Vegetable Substitutes
- Collard Greens
- Miso Paste
- Oyster Sauce
- Fresh Tomatoes
Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.
Have fun in the kitchen!