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Three good alternatives to fresh tomatoes

As prices of fresh tomatoes have tripled in less than a month, many Nigerians now look for alternatives to the vegetable which is a major ingredient in the preparation of the country’s legendary jollof rice.

Tomato prices in Africa’s most populated nation, have jumped by 350 per cent to N45,000 for a 25kg basket as against N10,000 three weeks ago, while a big basket has surged to N120,000 from N40,000 in the period under review.

Many households have now cut down on the consumption of jollof rice and other foods where fresh tomato is a key ingredient because of the sudden escalating prices.

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This price surge is hinged on a pest infestation called Tuta absoluta or Tomatoes Ebola affecting tomato crops in many major producing states around the country. Also, unconducive climate change is affecting the production output of the vegetable.

While the federal government is working towards a solution, in no particular order, BusinessDay has identified three vegetables that are good alternatives for fresh tomatoes and that can be adopted into the diets of Nigerians.


In its blended form, carrots are a good alternative to fresh tomatoes. The vegetable not only has a sweet taste but can also give off the bright red colour of fresh tomatoes when used in large quantities.

It contains a load of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support immunity, heart, kidney, and liver health, and provide other health benefits.

When mixed with peppers, carrots can give the reddish colour of fresh tomatoes in jollof rice and stews.

Carrots are sold for N200 and above, depending on location. They make a cheap alternative to fresh tomatoes.


While it might not give dishes the reddish colour customary to fresh tomatoes, eggplant is a good alternative to fresh tomatoes.

It contains a good amount of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and only a few calories. Eggplants make a fine sauce due to its thick consistency and sweet taste.

The fruit is a large egg-shaped berry with a glossy surface that varies in colour from dark purple to red, pink, yellowish, or white.

It could be used for cooking stew that can be eaten with rice, yam, potatoes and plantain, among other dishes.

Eggplants are sold in many markets around Nigeria at a more affordable price than fresh tomatoes.

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With its red colour, beets are another alternative for fresh tomatoes. When blended, beets can be added to different dishes ranging from salad as a colouring agent, to jollof rice and stews.

Beetroot juice has been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increased exercise performance.

It is also not as expensive as fresh tomatoes and can function in the stead of fresh tomatoes, as well as contains a lot of beneficial nutrients to human health.

Beets are sold in many markets around the country.