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  • Writer's pictureStacey @RealWorldAIP

Faux-Matoes: The Perfect Tomato Substitute!

A slice of tomato on your burger...

Chopped tomatoes in your salad...

Crushed tomatoes in your curry or soup...

Tomato bits in your stir-fry or breakfast skillet...

Chunky No Tomato Marinara...Tapenade...

You don't have to miss these things on AIP!๐Ÿคฉ

View the video tutorial below & subscribe to Real World AIP on YouTube for new AIP recipe & inspiration videos every Thursday!

I make Fauxmatoes two ways- because I can't decide which way is most delicious and they both shine in their own ways for different uses!

I use papaya as the base of these because it has the texture and level of natural sweetness similar to that of a ripe tomato. Then I add color (beet juice), acidity (balsamic for its tartaric, malic and acetic acids which best mimic the acids found naturally in tomato) and umami (balsamic, mushroom). Voila- fauxmatoes!!๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Method #1 Salad Fauxmatoes

These are amazing tossed into salads, on a burger or as a tapenade minced with a little basil, onion and garlic. They can also be oven-roasted!

(These are small batches, feel free to double, triple or quadruple these amounts!๐Ÿ˜‰)


1/4 fresh whole papaya, seeded, peeled and sliced. See video for demo. You don't want an overripe papaya, choose one that is still firm and mostly green with maybe a few yellow specks on the outside.

1 T Extra virgin olive oil

1 T Balsamic vinegar

salt to taste, I use about 1/4-1/2 tsp

*Beet juice for color (See note)


Combine all in a covered mason jar, shake well and let sit overnight to let flavors meld. Keeps in fridge for up to a week.

Method #2 Cooking Fauxmatoes

These really shine in a stir-fry, skillet dinner, soup, curry, no-tomato marinara sauce, lasagna, cheesy plantain rice or casserole. They are also excellent on top of a burger!


1/4 fresh whole papaya, seeded, peeled and sliced. See video for demo. You don't want an overripe papaya, choose one that is still firm and mostly green with maybe a few yellow specks on the outside.

1 cup filtered water

5 grams (about a palmful) dried organic oyster mushrooms (Oyster mushrooms are low fodmap! Use any type of mushroom if fodmaps are not an issue for you. A heaping 1/2 c of fresh mushrooms may be used instead of dried.) **See note below on mushrooms.

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp Balsamic vinegar

*Beet juice for color (See note)


Blend the water, mushrooms, salt, balsamic vinegar and beet juice in a high speed blender on high. Let it run for about 3-4 minutes, until the mixture gets hot and steamy.

(If you don't have a high speed blender, simply blend the mix, then pour into a saucepan and cook on medium for about 4-5 minutes to heat and cook the mushrooms)

Pour this mix over the papaya slices in a mason jar, cover and refrigerate overnight to let the flavors meld.

**Note: These WILL taste mushroomy straight out if the jar!! The mushroom flavor blends into whatever you cook them in and adds a nice umami flavor. I like the mushroominess, but you could experiment with using less mushroom in the mix if you'd like.

Keeps in fridge for about a week.

These freeze and thaw pretty well too!


I find that when using beet juice from canned beets for food coloring it is not very concentrated in color so you have to use more (about 2-3 T), and then you risk getting beet flavored fauxmatoes.

What I like to do is take a bunch of fresh beets (3-4 large beets).

Wash and slice them (peeling them is optional).

Put them in a glass baking dish with 3-4T water and cover tightly with foil.

Bake at 450 degrees F for an hour.

There will be a small amount of very concentrated beet juice left at the bottom of the dish- this makes the best concentrated food coloring!! I save it by freezing in mini ice cube trays. It only takes about 4-5 mini cubes (about 1-2T) to color a batch of fauxmatoes.

Toss the remaining cooked beets into salads, stir fries, soups, etc. You can even freeze the beets until you're ready to make your next batch of AIP Marinara!


Want more inspiration & Recipes? View free behind-the-scenes clips or sign up for monthly exclusive recipes like AIP Hot Sauce, English Muffins, Jibarito sandwich bread, Sweet & Sour sauce, Piccata Meatballs & more on Patreon!

As seen on Phoenix Helix's Recipe Roundtable #275

(Links in this post may be affiliate links. That means if you purchase through the link it helps to support the blog without any cost to you๐Ÿ™‚)

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