Parsley seems to be everywhere as it is part of many cuisines, from Italian to Middle Eastern. It can be hard to find fresh parsley sometimes though, and the dry kind may not be enough.
There is also a small percentage of people that hate the smell or taste of it. Whatever the reason may be, you can use other ingredients instead, to get a delicious flavor.
What Is Parsley?
What is parsley, anyway?
This herb comes from the Apiaceae family and it has a fresh and versatile flavor. Original from the Mediterranean region, this herb is now used as a garnish and as the main ingredient in many soups, sauces, and dips.
Because it has anti-inflammatory properties, some people like to drink parsley tea, as a way to promote digestion and detox the body.
What Can I Replace Parsley With?
If it’s time to cook, then let’s talk about what parsley substitutes could work best for your favorite dishes.
If you haven’t heard of Chervil before, it’s time to add it to your repertoire. This herb is closely related to parsley, but it is considered to have a milder flavor, which is why it can be used dry or fresh. Chervil is common in French cuisine, and it is high in vitamins and minerals, including iron.
You can replace parsley for the same amount of chervil, and if you’re not sure how to use it, consider using it in egg dishes, sauces, soups, and as a condiment for poultry. Though not as common, chervil can usually be found in grocery stores and farmer’s markets.
#2. Celery Leaves
While they look very similar to flat-leaf parsley, celery leaves have a different flavor, which is almost peppery and very subtle.
You can use these leaves in dips, sauces, and as a garnish for every other dish. Celery leaves are very common, which is why they are high up on this list. If you buy fresh celery stalks, you can just use the leaves they come with.
You can replace parsley for the same amount of celery leaves, but you may need more because this herb has a less potent flavor. Also, don’t add the stalk without trying the flavor, as it is much more bitter than its leaves.
Since they belong to the same family as garlic and onions, the flavor is somewhat similar to these foods. Chives are more pungent than parsley, but they can work well in the same dishes. You can find chives in any grocery store, and it is usually available at any time of the year.
Fresh or dried chives work well as a substitute for parsley, but you may want to add ½ of what the recipe calls for since the flavor is a bit stronger. Chives are also very nutritious, as they are rich in beta-carotene, which works as an antioxidant.
This strong and lime-tasting herb is used widely in Latin American and Asian foods. It looks very similar to parsley, but it shouldn’t be confused with it, because the flavor is different.
Because it is stronger, most people resort to using cilantro as a garnish and sometimes add it at the end of the cooking process.
You can buy cilantro in any grocery store or farmer’s market. We recommend you use ½ of what the recipe indicates, but consider adding more as you taste. Keep in mind that just as with parsley, some people dislike the very strong smell and flavor of cilantro.
This member of the mint family has a strong savory and peppery taste. Oregano is commonly used in Mediterranean dishes, like Italian or Greek food.
You can use dry or fresh oregano, but keep in mind that the dry leaves are stronger. So, if you are planning on replacing parsley with it, we suggest you use half the amount.
Oregano is considered very healthy because it contains antibacterial compounds and can help fight off infections in the digestive tract. You can buy fresh or dry oregano in any grocery or organic store.
Curly leaf endive looks very similar to parsley, but the flavor is bitter and peppery. Endive is commonly used as a garnish in fish, poultry, and some meat dishes, and sometimes as part of soups. You can use fresh endive, but you may want to use less instead of parsley, as its flavor is stronger.
While not very mainstream, endive can be bought in the produce section of grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and organic stores. Endive is also rich in fiber, so consuming it can help promote digestion.
Another staple in French food, tarragon is often used alongside parsley, chives, and chervil, especially as a mix known as “fines herbes.”
You can find dried tarragon easily in any grocery store, but fresh tarragon can be a bit harder to come by, though if you do, use this one instead. This herb can help control blood sugar and cholesterol, so it is good to consume it regularly.
Though the flavor is a bit more bitter, it is very similar to parsley, so it can be used in its place without a problem. If you have fine herbs mix instead, consider using it as well.
Yes, thyme can be used instead of parsley, but the flavor is not the same, so you should consider mixing it with chives or chervil. Also, dry or powdered thyme is too strong, so we recommend you use fresh.
Spinach can be used instead of parsley, but you may want to keep the amount small and consider using more condiments, as spinach alone doesn’t have a strong flavor. Also, spinach shrinks very easily when cooked, so you should use more if you are sauteing the food.
It depends on what you want to accomplish, but for general cooking purposes, parsley is more adequate. However, if you are preparing Thai or Latin American food, cilantro is the way to go.
If you don’t like parsley or you run out of it suddenly, these seven alternatives are a great way to add flavor to your meal. All these herbs have a different flavor, so you should always try them first. You may also feel free to combine them for a tastier product.
*Photo by NataliiaMelnyc/depositphotos