Parsley is a versatile bright green herb often used as a garnish or adds herbaceous flavor to many delicious dishes. It has a clean, mildly bitter, peppery taste with a touch of earthiness to it.
There are two varieties of parsley: flat leaf and curly leaf. Both varieties are quite a common herb used in the culinary world, and each type got its name from the way they look. Both varieties have a robust flavor.
Flat-leaf parsley or known as Italian parsley has flat broad leaves that have a bold aromatic flavor. Curly leaf parsley has a thicker truffled leaf with an earthy and bitter taste that is reminiscent of grass. Because curly parsley has an extremely mild taste, it is often used as a garnish, while flat-leaf parsley is used more in cooking.
The best substitute for fresh parsley is dried parsley. Dried parsley is much more potent and concentrated than fresh parsley, so you only need to use a fraction of it in your dish. And as a fun fact, dried parsley has 17 times more antioxidants than fresh.
However, if you don't have any parsley on hand and your recipe is calling the ingredients, here are a number of substitutes you can use in cooking and as a garnish.
The best 8 Substitute For both Fresh parsley and dried parsley
Arugula has a similar taste profile as parsley. It has a slightly bitter and peppery taste, making this green is a great substitute for parsley in dishes or as a garnish.
Since arugula is larger than fresh parsley, it needs to be finely chopped into small pieces. You should also use a smaller amount at a time and adjust as needed.
The physical appearance of curly-leaf endive looks very similar to curly leaf parsley, making this green a great substitute for parsley as garnish or dishes. And because this green has a strong and bold flavor, start with small quantities.
I'm sure at one point in your life, you have mistaken cilantro for flat-leaf parsley. Don't worry, you are not alone. The two herbs look very similar. And like parsley, cilantro is also used to garnish and add flavor into dishes, especially in Mexican and Asian food.
Cilantro has a very bright and unique flavor that could clash with some parsley dishes. It is best to use cilantro as a swap in Mexican or Asian recipes.
Basil is a bright-colored herb with a bold taste. Basil is a great substitute for parsley in Italian cuisine. Because like parsley, basil is often used in sauces and garnish in Italian dishes.
Celery leaves look very similar to flat-leaf parsley, making them a great alternative. However, celery leaves taste just like a celery stalk. It has a very subtle flavor, so it is not a good substitute for cooking. Therefore, it is only recommended to use it only as a substitute for garnish.
Carrot tops or known as carrot greens have an earthy and bitter flavor. Some may even say it tastes like a cross between parsley and carrots, making them a great substitute. Because carrot tops have bold flavors that are even more bitter than parsley, they are a better garnish than a replacement for fresh or dried parsley in cooking.
Chervil is a spring herb that looks almost identical to flat parsley, and it is commonly used in French cuisine. Chervil has a delicate, mild flavor and a faint of anise or licorice. Some may even describe a cross between tarragon and parsley. In French food, chervil is often paired with herbs like parsley, so making chervil a great parsley substitute in dishes.
Italian Seasoning or Herbs De Provence
Check your spice draw and see if you have any Italian seasoning or herb de Provence on hand. If so, check out the ingredient list and see if dried parsley is in the product. These herbs usually contain commonly used herbs in Italian recipes, making them a great replacement for parsley.
Parsley is a delicious and highly nutritious herb to add into or as a garnish to your dish. It is packed with rich nutrients like vitamin A, C, beta carotene, vitamin K, folate, iron, and antioxidants. It is very low in calories but packed with bold flavor.
However, if you don't have parsley on hand, there are many fine herbs and greens that you can use to substitute parsley. They can offer a similar flavor and appearance.