Tomato Soup Substitute

07cZanzettiBowlbfLOBack in the days before take and bake convenience foods and ‘helpers’ in a box, there were still some simple, fast, and tasty dishes a mom (’cause, it was always the mom in those days) could whip up at the opening of a can.

My Aunt Buzz’s specialty was Zanzetti – kindofa riff on Johnny Mazetti Spaghetti – made with mac and cheese dinner, a bit of ground beef, and a can of tomato soup; and I was eagerly anticipating making a batch when I was marketing.

01bTomatoSoupIngredientsBestbfLOI’d picked up some fresh ground beef and onions, but knew I had the mac and cheese and tomato soup in the pantry, so didn’t bother going down those aisles.


Mac and cheese, check.

Tomato soup?

Not so much.

Still, a quick search of da Google yielded a LOT of ways to do without the little red and white can.

I chose to try the no cook option offered by Alea Milham at, and I was pretty pleased with the results.

•8 oz tomato sauce
•1 tbsp sugar
•1 tsbp cornstarch
•1/2 tsp salt
•1/2 tsp Earl’s (optional)

Whisk the ingredients together in a bowl.


Condensed tomato soup substitute made and ready to use – for that batch of zanzetti, or mebbe even as soup (!)

03aSeasoningsbfLOI added the Earl’s (hot sauce), because I wanted a bit of a zip to my soup, and used the minimum amount of sugar Ms. Milham recommended. Feel free to omit the sauce, and, if you like your soup base sweeter, go for it and add two tablespoons of sugar.

You’ll more than likely also want to add some seasoning – I went with this Pasta Sprinkle, a bit of powdered garlic, and some black and Aleppo pepper.

02cTomatoSoupSubbfLOThe end result certainly looked like the tomato soup from a can, and the flavor profile was pretty much spot-on for what I wanted: less sweet and salty, and with a bit more zing!

By the way, if you aren’t planning on making zanzetti, but have a hankering for tomato soup, simply add a cup of milk or water and heat gently – mebbe with a bit of fresh basil.




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