Looking to avoid lectins or nightshades? Well no tomatoes for you! While it may seem like a massive challenge, there are always options. Here are my favourite simple fresh tomato substitutes.
The Best Fresh Tomato Substitutes
1. Skip it
The easiest and quickest option is to skip the tomato. If you’re cooking a dish with a lot of other ingredients, you probably won’t notice it.
Although if your recipe has tomato in the title, like Tomato Salad, omitting it isn’t going to work.
You need to find another recipe ;) Or try one of the suggestions below.
2. Red Capsicum / Red Bell Peppers
Fresh or grilled red capsicum (bell peppers) can work well instead of tomatoes because they have the beautiful red colour and sweetness that tomatoes provide. Unfortunately they’re also nightshades.
These will add a very different flavour profile, but that may not be a bad thing! Olives provide the lovely savoury umami flavours you also get from tomato. So they will take your dish in a different direction but you won’t be lacking in flavour. Plus they’re not nightshades.
4. Canned Tomatoes
If you are looking for a substitute for fresh tomatoes that still involves tomato, drained canned tomatoes are an excellent option. The flavour is more intense and cooked but you’ll still get the colour and tomatoey goodness. A great option in dishes where the fresh tomato is to be cooked anyway.
Like the olive suggestion, cheese may seem a bit left field. But both tomato and cheese provide lots of savouy umami flavours to dishes.
Some crumbled feta or shaved parmesan can work to bring your salad or salsa to life so that you won’t miss the tomato.
More Tomato Substitute Ideas
- Why I Stopped Buying Canned Tomatoes + What I Use Instead
- Tomato Paste Substitutes
- Ketchup Substitutes [coming soon]
- Tomato Passata Substitutes [cooming soon]
How to Store Tomatoes
Tomatoes are sensitive to chilling injury so don’t refrigerate them. Chilling causes tomatoes to lose their flavour and the texture becomes mealy and dry.
Best to keep at room temperature out of direct sunlight. I store mine in a bowl on the kitchen bench so I remember to use them before they go bad.
If you have some ripe tomatoes that you aren’t going to be able to eat, putting them in the fridge will give you more time to use them. But you’ll sacrifice flavour.
Delicious Tomato Substitutes 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
Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.
Have fun in the kitchen!
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