Who doesn’t enjoy Italian food? It’s healthy, affordable, versatile, and just so easy to cook. Last Saturday, I decided to make red sauce pasta in the authentic Italian style. Soon I realized I had forgotten to buy plum tomatoes. A quick errand wasn’t an option. But the pasta-craving was so strong; I gave in and decided to improvise the recipe with some plum tomato substitutes.
Of course, one might think that the dish must’ve lost its unique Italian touch. However, Truth be told, the recipe turned out so delicious I barely noticed any difference. I empathize with all the forgetful cooks out there. So, I resolved to make a list of my favorite plum tomato substitutes.
But first, a few appreciative paragraphs for plum tomatoes.
What are plum tomatoes?
Each tomato variety is grown for a practical purpose. Similarly, plum tomatoes or Italian-style tomatoes are ‘sauce tomatoes.’ They are red, dense, and oval, with considerably fewer seed compartments than our typical round tomatoes. Furthermore, plum tomatoes are meaty, i.e., they have the perfect solid content for tomato sauce and paste.
|Nutrients in a plum tomato||Per tomato (62 g)|
Plum Tomatoes Vs. Roma Tomatoes
Roma and plum tomatoes are two common types of processing tomatoes. Roma tomato falls under the plum tomato type. It is extremely popular in cooking and is also known as Italian plum tomato.
|Traits||Plum Tomato||Roma Tomato|
|Fruit||Fruit continues after flowering||Fruit stops after flowering|
|Shape||Oval and cylindrical||Oval and pear-shaped|
This answers the famous question; “Are plum tomatoes the same as Roma?”
Plum Tomatoes Recipes
- Garlic Tomato Bruschetta
- Bolognese Sauce
- Pizza Margherita
- Pasta Al Pomodoro
- Pappa Al Pomodoro
What can I substitute for plum tomatoes?
6 Better Options Than Using Plum Tomatoes
It’s always a disappointment to be short of an important ingredient mid-cooking. But you don’t have to let just any mishap destroy your dish. Below I’ve listed some of my most favorite substitutes for plum tomatoes.
1. Canned Tomatoes
Instead of using fresh plum tomatoes, you can opt for their canned counterpart, which is canned plum tomatoes. This substitute will work in any recipe that calls for tomato paste or sauce.
|Nutrients in canned tomato||Per can (190 g)|
You can use both canned whole tomatoes and canned diced tomatoes. I was lucky enough to find a couple of cans of canned tomatoes in my pantry. These tomatoes are mostly plum tomatoes that are diced and prepared beforehand for convenience. You can use them in recipes that require tomato paste or simply diced tomatoes, for example, Caprese salad.
For every one pound of fresh plum tomatoes, you’ll need one and a half cups of canned ones. This substitute will give your dish the perfect taste and texture.
2. Tomato Puree
Tomato puree is a winning substitution for plum tomatoes since this sauce is typically made from cooked and reduced plum tomatoes.
|Nutrients in tomato puree||Per serving (100 g)|
Although this substitute is not for salads, it’ll give your dish the unique plum tomato taste. However, this substitute does not provide the same texture. Moreover, make sure to buy a tomato puree without any extra ingredients.
A few tablespoons of tomato puree are enough to substitute a few tomatoes. Although, there is no specific scale for it. So I’ll suggest adding a little paste at first. You can work your way up from there.
3. Campari Tomatoes
Campari tomatoes are noted for their juiciness, low acidity, and high sugar level. They are bigger than cherry tomatoes but tinier than plum ones. Campari tomatoes are classified as cocktail tomatoes because of their taste and high water content.
|Nutrients in campari tomato||Per serving (100 g)|
This can be a major deterrent for some, but the easy solution is to cook them on high heat for extra time. You can also crush them in a food processor to obtain a similar consistency. Although they taste considerably different, they perfectly mimic the texture and consistency of plum tomatoes in pastes and sauces.
Since most of the other plum tomato substitutes don’t provide adequate semi-liquid consistency, Campari tomatoes make an excellent alternative for recipes such as marinara sauce.
4. Grape Tomatoes
Unlike tomato puree, grape tomatoes do not provide the same rich flavor. These tomatoes are larger than cherry tomatoes. However, they are significantly less sweet. But it isn’t an offset; on the contrary, this quality makes them a better alternative for plum tomatoes in a recipe.
|Nutrients in grape tomato||Per serving (100 g)|
Despite not having the right taste, grape tomatoes add the desired texture and consistency to the dish. So grape tomatoes are kind of a mid-ground where they adequately replicate both the flavor and texture of plum tomatoes. Grape tomatoes also work great as baby plum tomatoes substitute.
Sadly, grape tomatoes are hard to find at local grocery stores, especially when they are out of season. This is the only reason they aren’t higher on the list. You’ll need to buy more grape tomatoes when using them as a substitute since they are very small. This substitute works well in an assortment of sauces, salads, and stews; cook them the same way you cook plum tomatoes.
5. Beefsteak Tomatoes
Beefsteak tomatoes make a suitable replacement for plum tomatoes in cooking sauces and crushed tomatoes. They are incredibly large and sturdy. Moreover, they hold their shape well enough when sliced.
|Nutrients in beefsteak tomato||Per serving (100 g)|
Like other plum varieties, they also have low water content and fewer seeds. The taste is the most noticeable difference between the two, minus the size and shape. Beefsteak tomatoes are pretty mild in flavor. This is one of the reasons why most chefs prefer plum tomatoes over them.
Beefsteak tomatoes are commonly used in burgers and sandwiches. However, this substitute makes an excellent replacement for plum tomatoes in sauces where you have to add extra ingredients.
6. Heirloom Tomatoes
There are several varieties of heirloom tomatoes that are sold on the market. However, their availability depends upon the season. Although, if you can find them at your local grocery store or the farmer’s market, don’t hesitate to use them in place of plum tomatoes.
|Nutrients in heirloom tomato||Per tomato (123 g)|
Heirloom tomatoes come in an array of colors. They range from yellow to green to red. When cooked, they provide a vibrant taste that is both sweet and deep compared to regular tomatoes. Prepare them in the same way as you’d prepare plum tomatoes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have a few tomato-related queries? Let’s answer the most asked questions!