If you need a substitute for sundried tomatoes then keep reading because this page is all for you. We’ve pulled together the best six options that’ll keep you on track to finish that recipe.
Southern Italians were shocked when they first created sundried tomatoes, or pomodori secchi, in Italian. They wanted to extend the life of their crops by dehydrating tomatoes on their roof tops. What they didn’t anticipate was the intensified sweetness and flavor that resulted from the sun’s rays. Today, sundried tomatoes are a popular antipasto as well as a useful ingredient in pasta sauce, bruschetta, frittatas, paninis, salads and dips.
But what if you don’t have any sundried tomatoes? Or perhaps the flavor is too intense and you don’t enjoy the taste? If any of this sounds like you then you’re in good hands. We’re going to provide you with some excellent alternatives to sundried tomatoes using mostly common ingredients you’re likely to have at home. If you love sundried tomatoes but find them too expensive, we’ll include a useful alternative recipe which will save you money.
Mimicking the flavor and texture
When we tested replacement ingredients our goal was to find the best options that try to mimic flavor and texture. This isn’t easy as sundried tomatoes have a unique flavor best described as an intense tomato hit that combines sweet and tart in the same chewy mouthful.
After a lot of trial and error, here’s our recommended choices.
1. Make your own sundried tomatoes – the best option if you enjoy tomatoes sundried but can’t get any
This is the best option for those that enjoy their taste but don’t have any to use at home.
- Preheat a toaster oven or conventional oven to 275F (135C).
- Start by choosing a sweet variety of fresh tomato; grape tomatoes work well.
- Slice each tomato in half, scoop out the inside seeds and soft flesh, then place them onto a lined baking tray, cut side up. Cook until they become dry and “leather-like”. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of tomato but a general guideline is 20 minutes. Check them regularly to make sure they don’t overcook.
Tip: Use Roma tomatoes as they have less water content that most other common varieties.
You can also make sundried tomatoes in the microwave. Firstly, slice the tomatoes in half length ways then place on a large plate face down. Heat on high for around 15 minutes. Watch carefully during the cooking process to avoid burning them.
Fast fact: 10 medium ripe tomatoes produces one ounce of sun dried tomatoes.
2. Canned tomatoes – ideal option for sauces
Canned peeled tomatoes are a good back-up option for sauces and will provide a similar flavor profile, only less intensity. You’ll also find canned tomatoes will produce a thinner sauce but this can be remedied by adding tomato puree.
The quantities: replace ¼ cup of sundried tomatoes with ¾ cup canned tomatoes (drained). If you’ve got plenty of fresh tomatoes on at your disposal then about half a pound of plum tomatoes will also work.
Have you ever thought about making your own tomato sauces? Your life will be made 100% easier using a tomato press. Check out our article dedicated to researching the best tomato press appliances currently on the market.
3. Tomato Puree – excellent for curries and soups
Tomato puree has an intense tomato flavor, similar to sundried tomatoes. It is a good choice for curries, soups or any other dish that requires tomato flavor without the added texture that comes from using whole tomatoes.
4. Fresh tomatoes – good for salads
For some, a salad containing sundried tomato is not appealing, the flavor and texture doesn’t fit well. In this situation, a fresh tomato is a great replacement ingredient.
You get a more subtle flavor of tomato with the added bonus of juiciness. Adding a splash of lemon or lime juice will boost the acidity of your salad.
5. Tamarind paste – for Asian cuisine
Recipes that call for sundried tomatoes in Asian cooking aren’t all that common. A good “quasi” sundried tomato is tamarind paste. You will get similar sweet and sour flavor.
6. Roasted bell pepper – for antipasto or bruschetta
Are you entertaining guests and looking at back-up options for the antipasto platter? Maybe you need another ingredient to top the crusty bruschetta? Roast bell pepper (capsicum) drizzled in olive oil will be right at home on the plate.
Pepperoncini is another delicious possibility; it will add some mild heat to your dish as well as color. You can usually find them, most of the year round, in the produce section of the supermarket.
What aisle would sun dried tomatoes be on?
Sundried tomatoes can usually be located in the canned vegetable aisle and, in some stores, the produce section.
Why are sun dried tomatoes so expensive?
Sundried tomatoes are relatively expensive when compared to fresh tomatoes. This is due to a combination of labor costs, packaging and, in some cases, the use of extra virgin olive oil.
How many sun dried tomatoes in a cup?
There are roughly 25-35 sundried tomatoes in one cup; a precise number is difficult to provide as the size of the tomatoes will vary.
Dry vs oil packed sun dried tomatoes
- Oil packed tomatoes cost more than the dry variety due to the extra cost of oil.
- The dry packed tomato has a tougher skin and tends to be chewy.
- The oil packs often come with added seasoning which need to be taken into account if you’re using them in a recipe.
- Dry tomatoes can softened by soaking in a cup of warm water with a teaspoon of salt added, then microwaved for 2 minutes.
If you need a substitute for sundried tomatoes then your best alternative is to use tomatoes. As you’d expect, the same tomato flavor will be provided; however, with all the alternatives you’ll find the texture and flavor intensity will vary. For those that don’t enjoy sundried tomatoes, that is probably a good thing. Your soups and sauces will have a milder flavor profile.
For an antipasto platter or bruschetta, roasted capsicum is a good option that will provide that same splash of red on the plate to entice people in. Pepperoncini that’s been char-grilled is another good choice.