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Tomato Sauce Substitutes

Last week I was creating a recipe and decided that I needed 1 cup of tomato sauce. Since I was creating a recipe you would think I would use ingredients that I have on hand, but no, my imagination is bigger than my pantry. After searching to no avail for tomato sauce, I looked for some of the usual replacements: tomato paste and spaghetti sauce.

To substitute tomato paste for tomato sauce, use equal parts water and tomato paste to reach your desired amount of tomato sauce. So in this case I would have used 1/2 cup tomato paste and 1/2 water. But I didn’t have any tomato paste.

You can use spaghetti sauce one for one with tomato sauce and then decrease the recipe’s spices to allow for the spices in the spaghetti sauce. But I didn’t have any spaghetti sauce. All I had on hand was diced tomatoes.

How I used diced tomatoes to create a substitute for tomato sauce.


Tomato Sauce Substitute
I put a can of diced tomatoes with the juice in the blender and pureed the the tomatoes. The pureed tomatoes were a red-orange color and had a few seeds, but worked just fine in the recipe in place of tomato sauce.

Tomato Sauce Substitute

How have you been making do or doing without?

This post is linked to Kitchen Tip Tuesday and Works for Me Wednesday.

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About Alea Milham

Alea Milham is the owner and editor of Premeditated Leftovers. She shares her tips for saving money and time while reducing waste in her home. Her favorite hobby, gardening, is a frugal source of organic produce for her recipes. She believes it is possible to live fully and eat well while spending less.


  1. KerryAnn says:

    I've done that before and it does work. Right now I'm doing a lot of vegetable substituting. Using what is in season in a recipe that calls for out of season veggies. It's quite possible as long as you make sure the spices match what you've chosen to use, and the hardness of the veggie is close to the hardness of what is called for in the original recipe. Otherwise, you have to adjust cooking times.

  2. If possible I make fresh sauce and big can of store bought usually gets spoiled after open so quickly.

  3. I have been doing this for years. If you can get a good price on a big can of storebought, you can use what you need and then freeze the rest in ice cube trays or small plastic containers, and when they are frozen, decant them into a ziploc bag, and then just take out what you need, and drop it into the food.

  4. Alea Milham says:

    Great tip; thanks for sharing it. I rarely use tomato sauce in recipes and the last 2 weeks I have decided that 3 different recipes "needed" it.

  5. I am always having to deal with the "no tomato sauce dilema." You would think after dozens of times of it happening I would keep a ton on hand…. Thanks for sharing all the different alternatives :)

  6. Marilyn says:

    My husband is on a low salt diet so I’ve been pureeing the no salt diced tomatoes in juice for years. Works great and keeps sodium within reason.

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