A kitchen with an empty bin of herbs and spices is like a body without a soul. And one of the most popular herbs in world cuisine is parsley. Its unique flavor, enticing scent, and beautiful color can definitely upgrade a dish to a whole new level.
“Parsley – the jewel of herbs, both in the pot and on the plate.”
Parsley is often used as a flavoring and garnish in dishes. Like other herbs, it can either be used fresh or dried. On top of its culinary benefits, parsley is very nutritious because of its high vitamin content.
But what if your kitchen suddenly runs out of parsley? A total nightmare, I agree. But fret no more because here are some other herbs (or spices) you can use as a substitute for parsley.
- Celery Leaves
Read on if you are so unlucky and still unable to find any alternatives from the above mentioned.
In this article, you’ll find the full comprehensive list of substitutes for parsley you can use in cooking.
13 Best Substitute For Parsley
Chervil is considered a close relative of Parsley; thus, probably the best substitute for your favorite herb. In the flavor department, Chervil has a milder and more subtle taste than Parsley. So, if you are looking for the peppery and earthlike taste of Parsley, you may need to add more of the chervil.
As for aesthetics, Chervil is an excellent garnish. It is even better than parsley, if you ask me. This is because Chervil has a brighter shade of green that just makes any dish pop and dazzle.
Most importantly, Chervil is on par with parsley in the nutrition department as it contains rich amounts of vitamins and minerals that boost your health.
The following are some of the recipes you can use Chervil in:
- Creamy Mussels with Chervil
- Roasted Lobster with Tarragon and Chervil
- Cream of Carrot Soup
- Cream Pasta with Chervil
Tarragon is an aromatic herb widely used in French cuisine as well as in fines herbes. It is often mixed with other herbs: chervil, parsley, and basil.
Compared to parsley, tarragon has a stronger flavor profile. It tastes more peppery and bitter with a tinge of sweetness. So, remember to use it in as little amount as possible (compared to parsley) to avoid the overpowering taste of tarragon in your dish. Moreover, dried tarragon is more recommended than its fresh counterparts, especially when used as a parsley alternative.
On the other hand, Tarragon is an excellent alternative to Parsley as a garnish because of its bright green and very parsley-looking appearance.
The following are some of the recipes you can use Tarragon in:
- Creamy Tarragon Chicken
- Tarragon Lemon Bread
- Chicken Noodle Soup
The very first thing you must keep in mind before using oregano as a parsley alternative is that it must be dried. This article strongly advises you against the use of fresh ones mainly because of their strong and bold flavor.
Oregano has very savory, herby, and earthy flavors. It imparts these flavors strongly in any dish even in small amounts; thus, add it in small amounts. Make sure to taste your dish every time you add oregano to avoid unwanted flavors.
Since dried oregano lacks the liveliness that is in the herbs’ green colors, it might not be as good as parsley in aesthetics.
Nutrition-wise, oregano is also packed with a lot of chemical compounds, vitamins, and minerals that help you maintain good health.
The following are some of the recipes you can use Oregano in:
- Lemon Oregano Chicken Pot
- Fresh Vegetable Salad
- Chicken Bolognese with Crispy Fried Oregano
Next to Chervil, Chives are probably the next favorite alternative to Parsley. First, chives have a more subtle flavor profile. The taste is quite like onion and garlic which works well for any dish, be it baked or sauteed.
There is also a lot of freedom in using Chives because you can use them fresh and dried. Furthermore, chives are very ubiquitous that you can buy them everywhere.
Chives are also excellent herbs for garnish, more so if fresh. The bright and popping green color of Chives makes the dish more appetizing and enticing. On top of these things, chives are very nutritious.
The following are some of the recipes you can use Chives in:
- Stir-Fried Chicken
- Vegan Pancake
- Chive Garlic Bread
Unlike the previous ones, Arugula is not really an herb but a salad green. That being said, Arugula has larger and broader leaves than parsley. So, if you are planning to use it as a garnish, make sure to chop it as finely as possible.
This is to preserve the texture and aesthetics of the dish. The flavors of Arugula are a little bit different from parsley because it tastes more bitter and peppery. Unless you enjoy these bold flavors, use Arugula in smaller amounts.
The following are some of the recipes you can use Arugula in:
- Mushroom Arugula Cheese Mini Tarts
- Linguini Pasta
- Tuna Pasta
- Chicken Piccata
- Fig Tart
There are two major varieties of parsley – curly leaf and flat-leaf. Appearance-wise, curly leaf parsley looks like small broccoli clumped together while flat-leaf parsley looks more disorderly but broader.
Endive is actually a good alternative to curly leaf parsley because of its close resemblance. Like Arugula, Endive is not really an herb but a leafy vegetable. So, you must prep it properly by chopping it in a finer form, especially when used as a garnish.
In the flavor department, endive is also a lot more like Arugula than Parsley. It tastes earthy and peppery with a touch of bitterness. If you are not a fan of these flavors, try to add as little amount as possible.
The following are some of the recipes you can use Endive in:
- Baked Endive Meunière Recipe
- Chicory And Dolcelatte Tart
- Fried Brown Rice
- Vegan Risotto
- Grilled Shrimp
Cilantro, also known as Coriander, is often considered a good alternative to Parsley. If fresh, it can be used perfectly for garnishing purposes. Like parsley, it has a bright and popping shade of green that just makes a beautiful platter.
Cilantro has a stronger presence than parsley in the flavor department. It has citrusy and peppery tastes that you can either love or hate in a dish.
This is why you must use Cilantro sparingly in place of parsley because you might just end up with bread with strong cilantro flavors.
The following are some of the baked recipes you can use Cilantro in:
- Tahini-Scallion Rolls
- Tuna Cakes
- Skillet Chicken
- Sauteed Mushroom
Basil is a kitchen staple that you can find everywhere even in your by-the-window garden. Both Basil and Parsley are great garnishing materials, more so when used fresh. However, you must chop the basil nicely and finely before using it on a dish since it has broader leaves than regular parsley.
Although basil has a seemingly different flavor than parsley, the herb remains a good alternative. This is because the flavor of the basil is not so strong that it will overpower other spices in your dish.
The good news is that you can also opt to use dried basil leaves in your cooking.
The following are some of the recipes you can use Basil in:
- Lemon Chicken
- Tomato Sauced Pasta
- Tofu Vermicelli Chicken
- Pound Cake
If there’s anything that looks so close to parsley, it will be celery leaves. Both of them have bright green colored and flat leaves. Celery leaves can be used as a substitute for parsley in garnishing. The aesthetics of the platter will be enticing just the same.
Understandably, you may worry about the flavor celery may contribute to your dish. The good news is that celery leaves have milder tastes than their stalk which lowers the impact of the herb on your dish.
The following are some of the recipes you can use Celery in:
- Mediterranean Tart
- Split Pea Soup
- Braised Short Ribs
If you are in a great pinch, this trick is perfect for you. Carrot tops are often thrown away, but the thing is that you can use this “scrap” as a parsley substitute. These greens make a good garnish.
Just a pro-tip though, make sure to only use the young ones. The first reason is its color that dazzles any dish on a plate. Chop it finely and sprinkle nicely on top. The second reason is that old carrot greens tend to taste bitterer. Keep it young and tasty!
Originating from the Mediterranean, thyme is a popular herb that is commonly used as a substitute for parsley. So, it’s completely natural that Thyme is used vice-versa.
The first thing you must do is to hang your thyme to dry. Many chefs and food technologists advise using the dried form as an alternative to parsley.
Taste-wise, both have the same kick of flavors – slightly woody and earthy. This is another good reason why Thyme is a good Parsley substitute.
Lovage is quite rare among many stores but when you bump into it, make sure to pick up some. If celery leaves are the closest look-alike of parsley, lovage is the taste-alike counterpart.
Like parsley, lovage has sweet, peppery, and earthy flavors that go well together with almost all types of dishes. You can safely use lovage in almost all recipes with parsley as an ingredient.
As for garnishing, the green color of lovage definitely livens any food platter served on the table. Just make sure to chop it nicely for better effects.
If you’re being fancy, then try having rosemary in place of parsley. Some people consider this aromatic herb a top-tier upgrade of parsley – flavor and scent-wise.
Not only that, but rosemary (whether dried or fresh) is also a kitchen staple in many parts of the world. So, you won’t have problems looking for it.
Like parsley, rosemary has peppery, sweet, and earthy flavors. Its major strength is its not too overpowering taste.
As for aesthetics, there isn’t much to say about rosemary. Well, it’s gorgeous, and adding it to your plating will just bring an ounce of beauty to it.