8 Best Substitutes For Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes are simply fresh tomatoes that have been air-dried or placed in a dehydrator. Sun-dried tomatoes are available soaked in oil or dry-packed. 

These tomatoes have a very tart, concentrated flavor and can be used in sauces or chopped in salads and pasta dishes. Sun-dried tomatoes have a very chewy texture, even after re-hydration.

In case you ever run out of these tomatoes or you don’t like the tangy taste they offer, there are some good substitutes for sun-dried tomatoes you can use instead.

Depending on the recipe, you can replace sun-dried tomatoes with other tomato options such as canned tomatoes, pureed tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and even tomato paste. 

Non-tomato options like roasted bell or red peppers, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts are also suitable sun-dried tomato substitutes.

What Are Sun-Dried Tomatoes?

Substitutes For Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Tomatoes are an essential ingredient in many cuisines around the world, especially in Italian cuisine. Dried tomatoes are a very common form of tomato used among Italians, especially southern Italians. 

In fact, they are the ones who first created the sun-dried tomatoes, also known as Pomodoro Secchi, in Italian. Sun-dried tomatoes are commonly used with pasta sauces, bruschetta, salads, dips, and many more recipes.

They are pretty expensive and difficult to come by in your local markets. If you can’t get sun-dried tomatoes, or they are very expensive and way off your budget, you can get a substitute for sundried tomatoes, which delivers similar taste and flavor.

Sun-dried tomatoes are basically fresh tomatoes that have been placed in the sun or in a dehydrator to dry. They are available in two forms; you can purchase them packed in oil or dried packed. 

Both versions are equally delicious but require different processing methods. You can use both the oiled and the dried ones for various recipes, and they turn out deliciously.

Sun-dried tomatoes have a very tart and concentrated flavor which is a combination of the sweet and savory blend. 

These tomatoes have a very chewy texture even after they are re-hydrated.  Here are more differences between the dried tomatoes vs. the oil-packed ones to help you make a better choice.

Dry Vs Oil-Packed Sun-Dried Tomatoes

The main difference between dry and oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes is the price. Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes tend to be more expensive because of the added oil

The sun-dried tomatoes have tougher skin and a chewy texture compared to the oil-packed ones.

The oil pack sun-dried tomatoes usually comes with some seasoning, which adds additional flavor to your recipe.

To soften sun-dried tomatoes, simply add some warm water and a tablespoon of salt. You can place them in the microwave for two or more minutes to further soften them and get them ready for your recipe.

Best Substitutes For Sun-Dried Tomatoes

1. Fresh Tomatoes

You can simply use some chopped-up fresh tomatoes as a substitute for sun-dried tomatoes. They are the most basic component of sun-dried tomatoes, and this makes them the perfect alternative.

Tomatoes have a high content of vitamins and contain 95% water. Different types of tomatoes can be used to replace sun-dried tomatoes depending on your recipe and the result you intend to achieve.

When substituting fresh tomatoes for sun-dried tomatoes, keep in mind that fresh tomatoes have a milder flavor; if you want a tart flavor in your recipe, you can add some lemon juice to increase the acidity and flavor of your dish.

Fresh tomatoes work as an excellent substitute for sun-dried tomatoes, especially when you dislike the taste or chewy texture of sun-dried tomatoes.

2. Canned Tomatoes

You can also use canned tomatoes in place of sun-dried tomatoes. They have similar flavors, but canned tomatoes are a little milder than sun-dried tomatoes.

When used for sauce, you tend to get a thinner consistency with canned tomatoes compared to sun-dried tomatoes, but you can fix this by adding tomato paste or puree to the sauce.

When replacing sun-dried tomatoes with canned tomatoes, you’ll need 3/4 cup drained canned tomatoes for every 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes.

Canned tomatoes, like sun-dried tomatoes, are usually harvested when they are fully ripe and most flavorful. This gives them a balanced taste of acidity and sweetness, making them an excellent option for year-round use.

3. Tomato Paste

Tomato paste can also be used in replacement for sun-dried tomatoes. It is great in recipes for sauces and soups that need a strong taste and a dense texture.

Replace every 5 sun-dried tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of tomato paste 

For a richer and more robust taste, you can double the amount of tomato paste. It can also be used to thicken a sauce.

4. Tomato Puree

You can use tomato puree in recipes that call for sun-dried tomatoes. It has a strong tomato flavor that is very similar to sun-dried tomatoes.

It makes a fine substitute for sun-dried tomatoes in soups, stews, and other dishes that only need the taste of tomatoes but not the texture.

Tomato puree has a thick consistency and is produced by cooking and straining tomatoes just as tomato paste and tomato sauce are made.

Tomato puree has a thicker consistency compared to tomato sauce but is thinner than tomato paste. Tomato puree has a much stronger taste compared to sun-dried tomatoes as well.

5. Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes

If your recipe specifically calls for sun-dried tomatoes and you do not want to alter the final output of the dish, you can make homemade sun-dried tomatoes if you can’t find them at the market.

You can buy fresh tomatoes and place them under the sun or in a dehydrator to dry them up. It is a very simple process.

Start by slicing each tomato in half, then remove the seeds and peel off the flesh. Afterward, place them on a baking tray and bake the tomatoes in the oven at 135°c until they become dried.

This may take 20minutes or more, depending on the size and quantity of the tomato.

6. Tamarind Paste

Tamarind paste makes a great substitute for sun-dried tomatoes and is best suited for sweet and savory dishes; it can also be used in certain curries and sauces. Tamarind paste has a high content of vitamins c and b, potassium, and iron.

However, due to the sour flavor of tamarind paste, you’ll probably need to sweeten your dish with sugar or any sweetener when making a sweet dish.

When mixed with sugar, tamarind paste has a pleasant, sweet-sour flavor very similar to sun-dried tomatoes.

7. Roasted Bell Peppers

Tomato-based products are not the only substitute for sun-dried tomatoes. You can also use roasted bell peppers in place of sun-dried tomatoes. 

When roasted, bell pepper becomes mildly sweet and has a charred flavor. It adds just the right finishing touch to your dish. 

Bell peppers are a great addition when making brochettes or antipasto; you can also add roasted bell peppers that have been drizzled in olive oil as the perfect topping on a crusty bruschetta. 

8. Tomato Powder

You can use a powder replacement for sun-dried tomatoes. Tomato powder can be used in any recipe that calls for tomatoes, whether in sauce or powder form.

Tomato powder is very similar to sun-dried tomatoes in terms of their color, taste, and texture. Both ingredients come from dehydrated tomatoes, which is then finely ground to achieve tomato powder. 

Tomato powder is a unique element that delivers a punchy tomato taste with no liquid or texture. You can sprinkle it into soups, sauces, stews, and baked goods.

To get a prominent tomato taste, you will need to sprinkle a bit more tomato powder than you would with sun-dried tomatoes. Tomato powder is usually available all year round. 

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