What happens when unexpected guests come over for dinner, and your recipe calls for fenugreek? You have no time to rush to the grocery store since you just came home from the office.
Or what if you want a different flavor profile for a recipe that you wish to cook and you want another ingredient aside from fenugreek?
Don’t you worry because fenugreek has many substitutes!
- Curry Powder
- Masala Curry Powder
- Maple Syrup
- Mustard Greens
- Yellow Mustard Seeds
- Black Mustard Seeds
- Celery Seeds
Just go over your supplies in the pantry or the fridge. I’m sure you will find some of these alternatives.
Let’s explore more about fenugreek.
What Is Fenugreek?
Fenugreek is a plant with golden-brown seeds, tiny, white flowers, and green leaves.
You can eat raw fenugreek seeds and leaves. It will taste bitter. However, if you cook it, it will mimic the taste of burnt sugar and maple syrup.
Overall, fenugreek gives an earthy and nutty flavor. Fenugreek seeds are available anytime. But the leaves are accessible during fall.
Fenugreek is essential in cooking and medicine.
It is an important ingredient in making spices and as a flavoring additive in beverages and food. It is also used as a dietary supplement for menstrual cramps.[Source]
Fenugreek is a spice and herb used commonly in Middle Eastern, Indian, and North African cuisine. The leaves serve as a herb and the seeds as a spice.
Spice blends like panch phoran, an Indian five-spice, garam masala, or dry meat rubs contain ground or whole fenugreek seeds. [https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-cook-with-fenugreek#how-does-fenugreek-taste]
On the other hand, fenugreek leaves that are either dried or fresh will make a tasty addition to your soups, curries, sauces, and vegetable dishes.
Benefits of Fenugreek
Fenugreek has a lot of health benefits aside from making your food delicious.
According to webmd.com, fenugreek stimulates insulin, and slows down the absorption of sugar in the stomach. It will lower the blood sugar levels of diabetic people.
Furthermore, eating fenugreek raises estrogen and testosterone levels, improving the interest in sex.
Fenugreek also stimulates milk production in nursing mothers and serves as a digestive aid.
15 Best Substitute For Fenugreek
If I were to choose among the many substitutes of fenugreek. I would pick maple syrup because it has the same flavor and aroma as fenugreek. Maple syrup is a fantastic option for both fenugreek seeds and leaves. It is also easier to find.
It has many culinary applications, not just in cooking my favorite dish that calls for fenugreek but in baking too.
Now let’s see the other options. You may check out the following alternatives of fenugreek. I hope you pick the right one for your recipe.
Curry powder is a known product of Indian cuisine. It blends well with other ingredients in your recipe and gives a unique taste. Just remember that curry powder also carries other spices aside from fenugreek. It would mean you won’t get a strong fenugreek flavor.
Curry powder blends usually have fenugreek as their main ingredient. Be sure to cook curry powder in olive oil before using it, so the aroma and flavor of fenugreek will come out.
Using curry powder as a substitute for fenugreek may mean trial and error on your part since it does not apply to all recipes.
Masala Curry Powder
Masala curry powder or garam masala is another alternative product to fenugreek.
It gives sweetness and a cinnamon-like trace to your dish. It also tastes like a mixture of cardamom and cloves. Recipes like chicken curry, mutton curry, and kurmas need masala curry powder.
It is a little stronger than fenugreek. Use only a few amounts in substituting.
Maple syrup is a mixture of sweet and bitter like fenugreek. The bitterness of maple syrup is not very pronounced.
Both maple syrup and fenugreek contain a chemical compound called sotolon. Because maple syrup has sotolon, it is an ideal substitute for fenugreek.
Remember that maple syrup is a sweetener. Using it may not apply to all dishes as a replacement for fenugreek.
Only add small amounts of maple syrup, if not, your dish will be too sweet. Do this at the end of your cooking, so it will not lose its flavor.
Mustard greens have a bitter taste and are a little spicy. It has a similar flavor to fenugreek. That is why it is being used in many dishes that require fenugreek.
Mustard greens can be cooked or used raw, and make a fantastic blend to stir fry and curry dishes.
Substitute 1 tsp. of fenugreek leaves with 1 tsp. of mustard greens.
Yellow Mustard Seeds
Yellow mustard seeds have an earthy aftertaste, a little bit of bitterness, and a nutty flavor. It serves as another option for sauces and soups that require the bitter and salty taste of fenugreek.
Use yellow mustard seeds to obtain an original fenugreek flavor. You may toast the mustard seeds to get the fullness of the taste.
Yellow mustard seeds can replace fenugreek leaves. Use the 1:1 ratio in substituting.
Black Mustard Seeds
Another substitute for fenugreek is black mustard seeds. They have a slightly bitter taste and give an intense flavor. You may lessen the amount when using them.
You may add maple syrup to your black mustard seeds if the recipe has to be sweet. Like yellow mustard seeds, you can roast black mustard seeds if they are too spicy for your dish.
Celery seeds are brown and small. They have an earthy smell, and give a little bit of crunchy texture. They are good with soups, salads, and relishes.
They provide a bitter and pervasive flavor, and give off an astringent aftertaste. Celery seeds are a substitute for both fenugreek leaves and seeds.
You can use celery seeds in your dry rubs, sauces, brines, salads, and dressings. Use a 1:1 ratio in substituting.
Fennel bulbs have a similar aroma to licorice and maple. They make a viable option for fenugreek.
You may chop fennel bulbs and use them as another option for fenugreek leaves. You may eat them cooked or raw.
Fennel seeds give a strong flavor. You don’t need to use them a lot when adding them to your dish. They offer your beverages, stews, curries, bread, and desserts a scent and sweet taste like licorice.
They offer the same fresh taste as fenugreek. Fennel seeds are the ideal replacement for desserts that require fenugreek seeds.
In addition, it has a unique anise flavor and is a fantastic option for savory dishes and meat rubs. You may mix fennel seeds with mustard seeds to make a blend similar to the taste of fenugreek seeds.
Spinach leaves are another substitute for fenugreek leaves and are great for stews and salads. They taste a little bit sweet and have a leafy texture.
When you use spinach, you get the whole pack of nutrients closely resembling the flavor profile of fenugreek. The good thing about spinach is it is readily available.
If you don’t like the spiciness of fenugreek, then spinach is a great option. Use a 1:1 ratio in substituting.
You may use kale leaves as a substitute for fenugreek leaves. You may use it for curry, stir-fry recipes, stew, casseroles, and salads.
The bitterness of kale leaves is much more noticeable. Thus, you have to cook them before mixing them into your dish.
Kale has the same appearance as fenugreek. Use 1 tsp. of fenugreek leaves and 1 tsp. of cooked kale with ½ tsp. of sugar.
Chinese Celery Leaves
Chinese celery leaves have the same appearance and flavor as fenugreek. They give a bitter and nutty flavor.
They make a great addition to your sauces and chutneys. You may add a pinch of sugar to the dish so the flavor will come out.
You may use half of the Chinese celery leaves as a substitute for fenugreek.
Use regular European celery as a substitute for fenugreek leaves if the taste of Chinese celery is too strong for you. It is fresh and has an earthy flavor, making it a delicious addition to your sauces and salads.
You may eat celery either raw or cooked or bake or steam it. It is great for meat rubs too.
It will enhance the taste of your juices, smoothies, soups, and stir-fries.
Celery needs to be blanched for it to have a mild flavor. Or else, it may be too bitter as a fenugreek substitute.
Alfalfa sprouts are also a fenugreek substitute. Cooking alfalfa sprouts will make them produce a mild, slightly bitter, and sweet taste similar to fenugreek.
You can add alfalfa sprouts to your salads and sandwiches, allowing more nutrients to your diet. Alfalfa sprouts have a drawback because it is not readily available.
Use alfalfa sprouts at a 1:1 ratio when substituting.
A teaspoon of Dijon mustard may be used as a substitute for fenugreek if you don’t have any other alternative. It works nicely for meat rubs and sauces.
It is creamy and soft, and adding it to your vinaigrette would allow the oil to mix well with vinegar.
It gives a tangy, sharp, and spicy flavor to your dish. It may give you a different taste, but it still works.
Fenugreek Substitute Related FAQs
What is the spice that is nearest to fenugreek?
Fennel seeds. This spice may overpower the dish flavor, but by adding small amounts, it enhances the taste of your recipe.
Fennel seeds are part of the carrot family and are an integral part of Chinese, European, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisines.
What are the other names of fenugreek?
They are the following; Greek Hay, Bird’s Foot, Bockshornklee, Alholva, Bockshornsame, Greek Clover, Fenogreco, Greek Hay Seed, Feonugraeci Semen, Chandrika, Trigonella, Hu Lu Ba, and Methi.
What is the scientific name of fenugreek?
Can you replace fenugreek seeds with leaves?
You may replace fenugreek seeds with the leaves. Don’t expect the flavor to be the same since it will change. Be sure not to overheat the seeds, or they will taste very bitter.
Roast the seeds before using them. It will lessen the bitterness and enhance the flavor.
Are fenugreek seeds and leaves the same?
No. The seeds are the spice and the leaves are the herbs. They both come from the same plant and are closely similar in taste.