5 Flavorful Ways Tomato Paste Can Come To Your Rescue In The Kitchen

what to use tomato paste for


The saying “small but mighty” describes tomato paste in a nutshell. Small cans of tomato paste — a thick paste that’s made by cooking down tomatoes for hours until the water is almost fully evaporated — pack a serious punch when you want to give a layer of rich tomato flavor to anything on your menu. Whether it’s in a slow cooker with short ribs or as the base of mac and cheese, tomato paste always comes in handy in a bind. Here’s everything you can make with a can of tomato paste.

1. Bolognese Sauce

Any homemade tomato sauce with layers of flavor is going to take you a while to cook. When you want to make bolognese sauce — a meat-based Italian tomato sauce — a can of tomato paste works wonders. It’ll cut down the time it’d usually take to build up a body of rich flavor and it’ll give your sauce that deep brick-red color. Here’s a red wine-spiked bolognese recipe that calls for tomato paste and fettuccine.

what to use tomato paste for


2. Macaroni And Cheese

If you’ve ever had lobster mac and cheese, there’s a good chance tomato paste was used in the process. Here’s a lobster mac and cheese recipe that’ll make you a believer in some kind of higher food power. It’s that magical. The base of this rich cheese sauce is made with butter, shallots, garlic and tomato paste, and followed by cream, paprika, cayenne and bay leaf. Any time you want your mac and cheese to have a deeper color and flavor, add tomato paste to the roux or scoop a few tablespoons into the cheese sauce before you coat the pasta.

3. Curry

Tomato paste is one of the main ingredients used in the base of a curry. If you have onions, garlic, curry powder, tomato paste and coconut milk on hand, you have a basic curry toolkit on your hands. For an easy chicken, coconut and tomato curry, here’s a recipe that’ll only take you 20 minutes to make.

what to use tomato paste for


4. Tacos

For a homemade taco seasoning that you can bring to your company’s Mexican potluck dinner, tomato paste will come to the rescue. While prepared taco seasoning might be faster, a homemade version will always take the cake. This taco seasoning recipe calls for spices like hot chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes. The tomato paste helps serve as a rich and creamy base for your ground beef, chicken, tofu or veggies.

5. Stew

Come time for the colder weather, you’ll be ready for all things stewed. When you think of stew, your brain might go straight to red meat, but there’s a whole wide world out there of veggie stews that have a can of tomato paste written all over it. Any stew with hearty vegetables and complex flavors and spices — like red wine, cayenne or cumin — is an opportunity to add tomato paste. A little bit of concentrated tomato will help you to build up that sought-after umami taste.


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