Substitutes for Roma Tomatoes

Best Substitutes for Roma Tomatoes: 6 Alternatives

Making tomato paste? Lots of experts go for Roma tomatoes. They have more flesh and less water than regular tomatoes, so they’re great for thick sauces.

There are different types of tomatoes, all with a similar tangy flavor but varying textures. The texture of Roma tomatoes makes them perfect for canned tomato sauces found in stores.

If you can’t find Roma tomatoes, don’t worry! You can easily find other tomatoes in stores that work just as nicely. Let’s check out some substitutes here.

What are Roma Tomatoes?

Roma tomatoes are plum tomatoes known for their smooth, red, meaty flesh with fewer seeds and less moisture than other tomato varieties. They are shaped like elongated eggs and typically grow about three inches long. These tomatoes are perfect for making canned tomato paste or sauces.

The plants that produce Roma tomatoes are resistant to diseases and usually reach an average height of four to six feet. Since they are determinate plants, the fruits grow to a specific height and ripen around the same time, resulting in one large crop typically toward the end of the growing season.

Roma tomatoes come in different varieties. The red-colored ones are the most popular. Roma tomatoes also come in yellow and orange colors, which taste milder. Additionally, there is a smaller-sized version known as the baby Roma.

The Origins of Roma Tomatoes

Despite its Italian-sounding name, the ‘Roma’ tomato is an American creation. The USDA’s Agricultural Research Service developed the first ‘Roma’ hybrid in 1955. This tomato has Italian heritage, as it is a cross between the famous ‘San Marzano’ tomato, known for its flavor and grown in the volcanic soil near Mount Vesuvius, and the ‘Pan America’ tomato.

‘Roma’ tomatoes are sometimes called Italian plum tomatoes and are known as paste tomatoes.

The ‘Roma VF’ tomato variety was developed in 1963 to resist verticillium and fusarium wilt diseases. Because of this early breeding, many tomato cultivars, including heirloom varieties, now share this disease resistance.

Nutritional Benefits of Roma Tomatoes

Roma tomatoes have a low calorie content, providing only 37 calories per cup. They are rich in antioxidants like vitamins A and C, which can help prevent diseases by fighting free radicals.

These tomatoes contain nutrients such as potassium, niacin, folate, and vitamin B6, which support heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Roma tomatoes are high in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant known for its anti-cancer properties and ability to repair cell damage. They also provide iron and fiber, making them a nutritious addition to your diet.

Substitutes for Roma Tomatoes

When looking for substitutes for Roma tomatoes, remember they are a type of plum tomato. So, other varieties of plum tomatoes make the best alternatives to Roma tomatoes.

Plum tomatoes have a slender shape, sweet taste, firm flesh, and lower acidity compared to other varieties. These qualities make them excellent for eating fresh, canning, or making tomato paste.

1. San Marzano

San Marzano tomatoes are considered some of the best plum tomatoes available. They have a rich, meaty texture and a perfectly balanced sweetness.

San Marzano Tomato

San Marzano tomatoes are usually more expensive and less commonly found worldwide.

Compared to Roma tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes have a longer, slimmer, and pointed shape. They also have thicker flesh, fewer seeds, and a sweeter, stronger flavor with less acidity.

2. Amish Tomato

The Amish tomato is a type of plum tomato that is said to have originated in an old Amish community in Wisconsin around the 1870s. It is commonly used to make tomato paste but can also be enjoyed fresh in raw and cooked dishes.

This tomato thrives in warm climates and has an indeterminate growth pattern. The Amish tomato tastes like San Marzano and is suitable for Roma tomato recipes. Use the same amount of Amish tomato as Roma tomato in any recipe.

3. Big Mama

Big Mama tomatoes have a similar shape and flesh to Roma and Amish tomatoes. They are ideal for making thick, creamy sauces and are great for pizzas due to their rich and juicy nature.

What makes Big Mama unique is its large size. These tomatoes can grow up to 5 inches long and 3 inches in diameter, perfect for larger families who enjoy plum tomatoes.

4. Ropreco

Ropreco tomato, Substitutes for Roma Tomatoes

The ropreco tomato is another type of plum tomato known for its fleshy texture, often used to make canned tomato paste. It grows in a specific way, comes from open-pollinated seeds, and is resistant to diseases. Many cooking enthusiasts prefer the ropreco tomato for its sweetness, which some say is even better than Roma tomatoes. It works well in recipes, including salsas, salads, soups, sauces, sandwiches, and roasted dishes. You can substitute ropreco for Roma tomatoes using a 1:1 ratio in recipes.

5. Beefsteak Tomatoes

Beefsteak tomatoes are large, meaty substitutes for Roma tomatoes that work well in sauces and pastes, although they have thicker skin. You need to carefully remove the skin to make pastes, sauces, and more.

These tomatoes have fewer seeds and more flesh compared to Roma tomatoes. They are typically pink or red and are perfect for summer sandwiches or sliced snacks with light seasonings. Beefsteak tomatoes complement nearly any dish you can think of.

6. Oxheart Tomato

The Oxheart tomato is another large option, weighing almost 3 pounds. Like Roma tomatoes, they are low in seeds and very meaty, which makes them ideal for sauces and paste.

These tomatoes taste like beefsteak tomatoes. They are meaty, seedless, and not acidic, making them perfect for salads! They work wonderfully in dishes like Steak Bruschetta with Tomato and Mozzarella.

Substitutes for Roma Tomatoes When Out of Season

When Roma tomatoes are out of season, consider using cherry tomatoes like Sungold, Sweet 100, or Red Currant for fresh and tasty alternatives. San Marzano tomatoes can be expensive during winter and spring, so cherry varieties are great options.

See Also – The 15 Best Substitutes for Jalapeños: Spicy Solutions

When your favorite tomatoes are out of season, try using tasty alternatives or high-quality canned varieties to save the day.

As we’ve discussed, there are several great substitutes for Roma tomatoes, such as Big Mama, Beefsteak, or Ropreco. These options all offer promising flavors for your meals.


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