Fire-roasted tomatoes can transform mundane meals into something exceptional. Even if you’re a competent home chef, it’s easy to run out of essential ingredients for your next dish.
Before you run all over town trying to find a can of fire-roasted tomatoes or take the time to roast your own, consider finding a substitute.
You can mix a multitude of ingredients with different spices to create an amazing meal. Let’s explore some options.
What Are Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
Fire-roasted tomatoes are simply fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes that have been roasted over an open flame.
These are best when they’re used in dishes like soups or sauces because the heat of the fire helps give them a rich flavor while preserving their color and texture.
So, what do fire-roasted tomatoes taste like?
The best way to describe the taste of fire-roasted tomatoes is that they are tangy, smoky, and sweet. The texture will be slightly more firm than canned or fresh tomatoes.
What Can You Substitute for Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
1. Diced Tomatoes
Diced tomatoes are the most common substitute for fire roasted tomatoes. If you have a can of diced tomatoes on hand, feel free to swap them out and keep the rest of your recipe the same.
One word of caution, diced tomatoes lack the smoky flavor that makes fire-roasted tomatoes famous. They also add a chunkier texture to your finished product.
You’ll get the best results using them in dishes that already have a strong flavor profile, such as cream-based soups or hearty stews.
2. Crushed Tomatoes
Your first consideration when using crushed tomatoes as a fire roasted tomatoes substitute should be texture. In terms of thickness, they’re somewhere between regular tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.
Odds are, you’ll have crushed tomatoes in canned form. They often lose some of their water content in the canning process, but they’ll have a sweet flavor reminiscent of fire-roasted tomatoes.
Try adding some spices like smoked paprika or chili powder to give them an extra kick.
If you don’t want their seeds or skins in your dish, make sure to boil and peel them.
3. Roasted Red Peppers
Maybe you have a killer recipe that calls for fire-roasted tomatoes, but you have dietary restrictions or don’t enjoy the taste of tomatoes.
Roasted red peppers are a great replacement for fire-roasted tomatoes with a similar smoky finish.
You’ll have to keep an eye on how much liquid your recipe requires for best results. Fire-roasted tomatoes have more than roasted red peppers, so make sure to add more water or broth to your dish.
4. Sun-Dried Tomatoes
If you’re feeling experimental, sun-dried tomatoes can take your meal in a new direction. You can find them in the dry goods sections of supermarkets or next to standard canned food if you want them preserved in oil.
Sun-dried tomatoes add a crunchy texture to your dish, which could be a pro or con, depending on your preferences. They have a tangier taste than sun-dried tomatoes, so they’ll work best in recipes that don’t call for smoky flavor.
Sun-dried tomatoes have a good shelf life, so you can try them out with many recipes.
Further reading: What Can You Substitute for Sun-Dried Tomatoes?
5. Tomato Paste
Tomato paste works wonder if you’re looking to add some thickness to your cuisine. It’s a great addition to pasta sauce, along with some Italian herbs and seasoning.
You don’t need to add heavy amounts of tomato paste to your dish for significant flavor enhancement, so use it modestly.
Tomato paste pairs best with stews or meats you want to enhance with some extra flavor and color.
6. Tomato Puree
Tomato puree has a thinner consistency than tomato paste. It has a bold flavor that spices up dishes requiring pasta sauce.
If you’re missing some of the crunchiness that regular tomatoes offer, consider throwing a few tomato chunks into the mix.
While you can find tomato puree with ease, homemade recipes are healthier and better-tasting. Tomato puree pairs well with Italian dishes like pizza or pasta. It’s also a nice addition to proteins like chicken or beef.
Can’t find this option? Learn the top substitutes for tomato puree.
7. Grilled Mangoes
While they’re a less obvious choice than other items on this list, consider that various cuisines use mangoes to complement salads and curries.
You’ll need to pick your mangoes with caution, as ripe mangoes might offer more sweetness than you’re looking for.
Unripe mangoes are crunchy and have the acidity to mimic fire-roasted tomatoes.
Grilled mangoes will give you good results when paired with salads and dishes calling for a savory additive.
From a nutritional standpoint, mangoes also contain a high level of Vitamin C, like tomatoes.
8. Tamarind Paste
If you’re making an Indian dish, try adding some tamarind paste for a pleasant, somewhat sour kick that replicates the flavor of fire-roasted tomatoes.
The tamarind trees the paste comes from are indigenous to Asia, but you can find them on many US store shelves due to the increasing popularity of Indian and Thai food.
Tamarind paste won’t add much texture to your dish, so you’ll need to add some thickener to reach your desired consistency.
Be sure to stir tamarind paste for a bit before using it because it tends to coagulate in the jar.
BTW, tamarind paste can be an interesting coconut vinegar substitute.
Pumpkins have a sweetness reminiscent of tomatoes with a similar texture to boot, so they’re an adequate albeit unconventional substitute for fire-roasted tomatoes.
If you’re looking for a health-conscious recipe, bear in mind that pumpkin adds a significant increase to your dish’s calorie count.
When adding pumpkin to a savory dish, we recommend throwing in garlic and onion to counteract the pumpkin’s sweetness.
If you can’t imagine your favorite dish without the smoky deliciousness of fire-roasted tomatoes, follow this recipe.
How to Make Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
Homemade Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
- 2 lbs Roma tomatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 450°F or set your grill to High.
2. Rinse and slice each tomato lengthwise. And drizzle with olive oil, pepper, and salt.
3. Grill Method: Oil grill basket/pan and spread tomatoes with the cut side facing up. Grill until charred. Turn occasionally to reach both sides.
4. Oven Method: Roast for 40-45 minutes until tomatoes reach desired char. Remove from the oven and allow cooling time. Store in a jar filled with olive oil. Seal and keep refrigerated.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 189
FAQs About Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
What’s the difference between diced tomatoes and fire-roasted tomatoes?
The main difference is that diced tomatoes are uniformly cut into small pieces while fire-roasted tomatoes have a more natural shape. These varieties can be used interchangeably in recipes but vary by preference for taste or texture.
Diced tomatoes are smaller than fire-roasted, which means that they have lower water content. There is also less acidity in diced tomatoes because it has been cooked more thoroughly.
Are fire roasted tomatoes spicy?
Fire roasted tomatoes are not spicy. If they’re seasoned with cumin, chili pepper flakes, and garlic powder then you might find them to be a bit on the spicier side of things.
Can I substitute fresh tomatoes for fire roasted canned tomatoes?
While you can substitute fresh tomatoes for fire-roasted, the difference in taste and texture will be noticeable.
If time isn’t a consideration or if you want to maintain flavor integrity, we recommend roasting your own fresh tomatoes at home.
Choosing the best substitute for fire-roasted tomatoes comes down to the recipe you’re working with and how comfortable you are trying new ingredients.
Even if nothing in your kitchen seems like the perfect replacement, you might surprise yourself with how well your dish turns out.
Pairing these alternative ingredients with the right spices and seasonings can help you reach the smoky flavor you’re craving.