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Will tomato paste + water = tomato sauce substitute

My coupon-clipping teenager recently purchased 20 cans of essentially free tomato paste. So far I've used one. Tonight I want to make a recipe that calls for 2 8-oz. cans of tomato sauce. Can I water down some paste and use it instead?

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  1. I don't think I'd do a straight substitution. Tomato paste is thicker and sweeter than sauce. Do you have chicken or beef broth or stock? If so, I'd do this......

    Chop some garlic & some onion. Sautee in olive oil until translucent. Add a can of paste. Then add a can of broth/stock & let it simmer. Maybe add some herbs (basil, oregano) and a little red wine. Let it simmer together for 15 mins. or so. Taste & add salt as needed.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Leann C

      I'm with Leann. If you want your "tomato sauce" to have more taste than a sweet 1 dimensional tomato flavour, add a few things to it, and it'll be lovely.

    2. absolutely. depending on how thick you want your sauce, the paste:water ratio will vary from 1:1 to 1:1.5.

      also remember that tomato sauce is typically seasoned, while tomato paste isn't...so once you've got it to the right consistency, you'll have to season it with herbs, salt & pepper, and even garlic and/or onion if you'd like. and for added flavor, you can even use stock as the diluting liquid instead of water.

      1. Absolutely. Just taste the dish for seasoning, since canned plain tomato sauce can have some herbs and spices lacking in tomato paste.

        4 Replies
        1. re: greygarious

          I usually use a can of tomatoes, drain them and then whiz them up in the blender. You can strain out the seeds if you need to. I find the tomato paste too...pasty tasting. Not sure how to put it but it just doesn't taste like tomato it tastes pastier.

          1. re: julesincoq

            That's why you dilute it and cook it.

            1. re: greygarious

              Nope. It still has that pasty taste. Tomato sauce tastes more like tomato and tomato paste has been so processed it has almost a fake taste to it.

              1. re: julesincoq

                depends on the brand & packaging - i'm not a fan of the canned stuff. however, Bionaturae, which comes in a jar, and Amore, which comes in a tube, are both very good. they don't have that processed, metallic taste.

        2. Yes and you can actually get a better sauce with it. Use a tad bit of sugar and about two cans of water to the one can of paste. If you have wine, use about a cup of that too.
          As everyone says once you have the right consistency, then season it. I would salt it, and use basil, oregano (if its dried, make sure to rub it between your palms otherwise you'll end up with little leaves in your teeth), fresh garlic, onions, and maybe some chicken broth. It will be just fine.Taste it as you go, the flavor will mellow and become delicious let it simmer for about an hour. I prefer tomatoe paste to sauce anyway. I wish I could give you exact measurements, but its very difficult, you must taste taste taste!

          1. I wouldn't do it. Tomato paste has a shelf life that is measured in years. Unless you do not have any other ingredients to make tomato sauce (i.e, fresh or canned tomatoes, or prepared sauce), I would not experiment with a just-paste sauce. Save the tomato paste for other uses, or donate some to your local food bank.

            1. Thanks for all the answers. I'm making Cooks' Illustrated's chicken enchiladas - the ones with the red sauce - so I think I'll dilute it with chicken broth and season with salt and onion. Not sure on herbs, other than maybe the ones that go in the enchilada sauce. I actually hate the taste of plain canned tomato sauce, so maybe I can come up with a flavor I like better. Thanks!