Sage is one of the go-to herbs to use just around the holiday season. This herb belongs to the mint family and it is most often used for flavoring fatty meat like turkey or chicken, in marinades, vegetable dishes, and stuffings, giving them a minty and earthy flavor.
There is nothing more that reminds me of the atmosphere on Thanksgiving than coming into the house and smelling fresh sage right at the door. Since sage is wildly popular around the holiday season, you may not be able to find it that easily.
Don’t worry, we got your back. Here are some alternatives to Sage that you might find in the grocery store and even in your own spice rack.
The best substitutes for Sage are
- Winter Savory
- Summer Savory
- Poultry Seasoning
- Fresh Basil
- Fresh Mint
- Bay Leaf
If you want to find out more herbs and spices to use around the holiday season instead of sage, then keep on reading this article.
The Best Sage Substitutes
Marjoram is an aromatic herb that just like sage, belongs in the mint family. Marjoram is very often used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine.
The aromatic herb mixes with almost anything you want to pair it with. Seriously, Marjoram is a great flavor enhancer in marinades for meat and fish, salad dressings, and even mushrooms. Marjoram gives every dish a nice, savory taste.
Thyme has a stronger flavor than Sage but they both have woodsy and citrusy notes that are very similar to each other.
When you’re going after a replacement for Sage, I strongly recommend choosing fresh Lemon Thyme since its flavor profile matches Sage perfectly. Fresh Thyme has a woodsy flavor and lemony notes that go well in most savory dishes as well as savory baking.
Rosemary is a fragrant plant that is also a part of the mint family. This plant is used to give an excellent flavor to meat, fish, soups, stews, pasta dishes, and even some savory loaves of bread.
Fresh Rosemary has a pine-like flavor and scent. But this herb is not just used for its magnificent flavor and smell in cooking, especially in Mediterranean dishes, it is also used in perfumes, essential oils, and cosmetics in general.
Rosemary is also considered a great medicinal herb, used to help relieve muscle pain, boost the immune system, help with digestive issues, promote hair growth, and improve memory.
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I don’t even doubt that you have this green herb in your spice cabinet. Well, at least the dried version of it which is so much better for cooking with it as it releases a subtle, but strong flavor. Fresh leaves of Oregano have a more pungent taste than dried Oregano and go well into Italian pasta sauces, salad dressings, and stews.
Oregano has many purposes in the kitchen. You can add it to a pizza sauce or pasta sauce, and on top of salads or in salad dressings. As you can probably guess by now, Oregano goes amazing in Italian dishes.
Winter Savory And Summer Savory
Winter savory is a herb with peppery notes that are also used around the winter holidays. This type of herb perfectly compliments slow-cooked meats and seasoned sausages.
Even though summer savory and winter savory come from the same family of plants, they are quite different in flavor. Winter Savory has a more potent flavor than the Summer savory one, with just a hint of sage and thyme flavor.
Summer savory has a sweet and peppery taste. It is an annual plant that’s harvested from summertime to autumn, and mostly grows in Southern Europe. Summer savory has a sweet taste that closely resembles the taste of sage, making it a very effective substitute for it.
Poultry seasoning is a spice blend that’s most often used for seasoning chicken and turkey. This spice blend includes sage in it as well as some other spices and herbs we mentioned like thyme, savory, marjoram, and rosemary.
Poultry seasoning also includes onion powder and parsley in its ingredient list. Poultry seasoning is also a great combination in stuffing, stews, and soups(especially in pumpkin soup to enhance the earthy taste).
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If you ever feel like your salad or pizza can use some extra taste you know who is here to save the day? Why Basil of course. Honestly, if I could pick only one herb to cook with for the rest of my life it would be this one. Just add a bit of basil and you don’t have to worry about your dishes not being flavorful anymore.
Fresh basil is the most versatile and one of the most common herbs to have around the house. Basil can blend into any flavor profile and into any recipe. I mean, pizza, pasta, salads, this herb can make any type of food taste amazing.
This green herb belongs to the Lamiaceae family, originating from Africa. Of course, with times changing, basil has been cultivated and can be grown in cold regions as well.
You can also use dried basil as a substitute for sage if you don’t happen to have the fresh version already.
Having mint around your house is very useful for every occasion. You can use this refreshing herb to make tea, cocktails, in salads, pestos, and even some desserts. I mean, who doesn’t love come fresh-baked mint chocolate chip cookies?
Tarragon, also known as ”The King Of Herbs is an aromatic herb that is mostly used in French cuisine. It is paired well with chicken, fish, eggs, sauces(the famous Bearnaise sauce), and vegetable dishes.
Tarragon has a piney flavor and can be used either dried or fresh. Many experienced chefs will advise you to go with the fresh version of Tarragon since it has a more potent taste and aroma. If you compare dried and fresh Tarragon you will notice that dried Tarragon has almost no taste or smell.
So, in conclusion, you might have to use much more of this dried herb in order to get the aroma and taste of fresh Tarragon.
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Bay leaves are a key ingredient when making soups, stews, seafood, vegetable dishes, brines, meat, and sauces. These aromatic leaves are used to flavor many Italian and French dishes.
The bay leaves are usually used whole and removed just before serving the dishes. When using Bay leaves in your dishes, please don’t forget to remove them before eating the dish as the abrasive leaves can cut the inside of your mouth and lips.