I don’t like using canned tomatoes because of the chemicals that leach from the can lining so I figured out how to make tomatoes that can substitute for canned diced or crushed tomatoes.

We can’t get good tomatoes around here, so I buy several pounds of roma tomatoes when they are on sale. I wash and dry them then set them on a paper towel covered pan for a week or two until they’re ripe. Perhaps someday I’ll harvest tomatoes from our own garden, but right now I’m just not willing to contend with the rattlesnakes that would be attracted to a garden at my house.

If you are only doing one batch of tomatoes at a time, you can use an oiled cast iron pizza pan. However, I did boxes of tomatoes once and the tomato acid ate through the seasoning. Now I make these on stainless steel jelly roll pans. (The kind with sides all around so you don’t get drippings on the bottom of your oven.)

Makes about 4-5 cups (depending on how long you broil)


6 pounds ripe Roma Tomatoes
Avocado Oil for the pan

Turn the oven on to broil. Lightly oil a baking pan with sides. Cut the tomatoes in half length-wise and remove the seeds. Place cut side down on the pan. Place the pan on the top shelf and broil for 30 minutes until most of the liquid is gone. The longer you keep these in the oven the more liquid will cook off. The skins should blacken.

Remove from the oven. Allow to cool. Remove and discard peels. Place in a bowl. For diced tomatoes, chop (or cut with scissors) into smaller pieces. For crushed tomatoes lightly blend with an immersion blender.

I freeze in 1 ½ cup amounts which is about equivalent to a 15 ounce can of tomatoes. I freeze in pint mason jars, though I’ve also used freezer bags. If you have less than 1 ½ cups remaining, you can turn it into tomato paste by cooking it longer or draining it through a nutmilk bag.


Follow the instructions for Fire Roasted Tomatoes. If you will only be making tomato paste from the batch, continue broiling an additional 10 to 15 minutes. If you have just a small amount of roasted tomatoes left, you don’t have to cook them longer, though they may need to drain longer. Allow the tomatoes to cool then remove skins. If liquid is present you can strain it off with a nut milk bag then harvest the tomato paste. When using nut milk bags I have the seam outside the bag to make emptying and clean up easier. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and blend with an immersion blender.

The tomato paste can be frozen in 1 Tbsp amounts. Place a reusable silicone baking sheet on a cookie sheet. You can use wax paper or parchment paper instead of the silicone sheet. When frozen place in a freezer container. For easy removal from the storage container you may wish to put a layer of parchment paper between layers of tomato paste.

I do not know what brand my pans are. This is a budget priced pan with reasonable reviews. For more money there are other, heavier, brands.

“Fire”-Roasted Tomatoes and Tomato Paste (Alternative to Canned Tomatoes)

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One thought on ““Fire”-Roasted Tomatoes and Tomato Paste (Alternative to Canned Tomatoes)

  1. I made these fire-roasted tomatoes from fresh paste tomatoes from the farmers’ market and put them on enchiladas. They were great! Here is the recipe:


    6 fire-roasted tomatoes
    2 medium onions
    1 jalapeño pepper or a few drops of jalapeño pepper sauce
    2 cups cooked black beans (cook them overnight in a crock pot, or use Eden organic or Westbrae canned organic)
    2 carrots – steamed lightly
    1 small yellow or green bell pepper
    Pinch Mexican oregano (optional)
    2 teaspoons Sunflower or Safflower oil
    6 or 7 corn tortillas


    Make the fire-roasted sauce and set aside to cool.

    Chop one onion, bell pepper and carrots. Heat to a moderate temperature a small non-reactive skillet (cast iron or stainless steel). Add 1 teaspoon oil and swirl pan to cover bottom. Add the chopped vegetables and sauté a couple of minutes. Add a little water to the pan and cook about five minutes. Add the beans, cover and cook over low heat another five minutes. Add a little water only if needed to prevent sticking.

    In another small skillet, sauté the other onion using the same method. Remove skin, seeds and pith from the roasted jalapeno and add it.

    Puree the fire-roasted tomatoes with the second onion and the jalapeno. If you do not like the heat from the jalapeno, leave it out and just add a few drops of hot sauce to taste – just enough to enliven the sauce, but not enough to cover the flavor of the other ingredients.

    Heat the puréed sauce over low heat in a skillet and soak the corn tortillas in the sauce a few minutes one by one, just until they absorb some sauce and are soft enough to roll. As one becomes ready, remove it and place another in the pan to soak. Place a couple tablespoons of the bean mixture in the middle of the tortilla and roll it. Place in an oven-safe pan. When all enchiladas are made, spread the rest of the sauce over all. The pan should be full and soupy. Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees
    Serve this with a large, fresh salad to avoid eating too many enchiladas.

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