Parsley has a bright, herbaceous taste with peppery undertones. Available in both fresh and dried forms, this herb is commonly used as a garnish and helps emphasize the other flavors in a dish. You can even add it to salads and soups or as a flavoring in other savory dishes.
As you can tell, finding substitutes similar to parsley can be quite a challenge. But don’t worry; we’ve got your back! Here’s a list of some best substitutes for parsley that are similar in taste and aroma while also offering a host of health benefits!
Arugula is a peppery and slightly bitter salad green with a flavor that’s similar to parsley. It is also rich in calcium, so it’ll keep your bones strong and heart healthy. While not a herb, arugula can still be used as a flavorful substitute for parsley, especially as a garnish.
Arugula works well in many dishes that call for parsley, such as soups and stews. However, remember that it has large leaves, so you will need to chop it finely before using it. Additionally, because arugula is more pungent than parsley, it would be a good idea to start with a small amount of what your recipe calls for, then adjust to taste.
1 tablespoon fresh parsley = 1/2 tablespoon freshly chopped arugula.
Basil is a key ingredient in Italian cuisine. This potent herb can be used both fresh and dried and has a sweet, mildly-pungent taste. In addition, it contains antimicrobial compounds, which help protect you against bacteria, yeast, and mold. So, while its flavor differs from that of parsley, you can still use it in a pinch.
Basil performs exceptionally in everything from Caprese salad to homemade sauces to add a dash of fresh, aromatic flavor to your meals without overpowering them. You can also use it as a garnish on soups, pasta, and roasted veggies. Its dried version also comes in handy and is best used as a seasoning mixture for meat and fish.
1 tablespoon fresh parsley = ½ tablespoon fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil.
3. Carrot Greens
Carrot greens, a member of the parsley family, have a mild flavor with a bitter and earthy aftertaste. They are also a good source of vitamin C, which can help boost your immune system. Given the similarities to parsley, it works as a great substitute for the original ingredient.
You can use carrot greens as you would use salad greens — chopped finely and as a garnish. They also work well in recipes like soups, sauces, and stews, where you need a subtle flavor to complement the flavor profiles of other ingredients.
1 tablespoon fresh parsley = 1 tablespoon carrot greens. (This substitute works only if the carrot greens are fresh.)
4. Celery Leaves
Celery leaves are intensely flavored with a taste similar to fennel or anise. The flavor is strongest in the dark outer leaves and delicate in the inner leaves. They’re also nutritious and appear similar to flat-leaf parsley, so you can use them to replace parsley in just about any dish without altering the final result.
The inner leaves of celery work best as a garnish or in salads because they have a mild flavor and a tender texture. The outer ones, which have a more pronounced flavor, work best in soups, stews, sauces, and purees. Remember that the outer leaves have a tough, fibrous texture, so you’ll need to either blend or cook them until tender to make them more palatable.
1 tablespoon fresh parsley = 1 tablespoon fresh celery leaves.
Chervil, also known as French parsley, is a herb that has a delicate, curly texture and a mild flavor with hints of anise and licorice. It’s a member of the parsley family and even looks similar to parsley. So, you can use the two interchangeably, but remember that the taste of chervil is mild, so you may need to add more.
Chervil works as an excellent garnish for a variety of dishes, just like parsley. However, if you want to get the most out of this substitute, use it in dishes from French cuisine. Just make sure to add it to the very end of the cooking process; otherwise, its delicate flavor will be lost in the sea of contrasting flavor profiles of the other ingredients.
1 tablespoon fresh parsley = 1 tablespoon fresh chervil leaves. (Avoid chervil leaves that have blossoms, as it’s a sign that they have turned bitter.)
Cilantro, also known as coriander, is a popular herb used in a variety of cuisines. It has leaves that look similar to parsley and a warm aroma. Cilantro is known to have a fresh citrusy flavor with hints of peppery notes and a musk-like, soapy taste that not many like. The herb also has trace amounts of essential nutrients, making it a healthy substitute for parsley.
Cilantro is best used in Indian, Thai, and Mexican cuisine. However, because it has a peppery and citrus flavor that may clash with other ingredients, it’s best used as a garnish for prepared dishes or raw in cold dishes. However, remember that the herb is more pungent than parsley and can overpower a dish, so use it sparingly.
1 tablespoon fresh parsley = 1/2 tablespoon fresh cilantro.
Oregano is a member of the mint family and has an earthy and slightly sweet flavor that stands in contrast with the peppery flavor of parsley. While it may not offer an exact flavor substitute, it works as a great substitute in Italian dishes.
Oregano performs incredibly well as a garnish on pizza, but you can also use both fresh and dried oregano for cooking mouthwatering dishes or as a seasoning for meats. Just keep in mind that it has a much stronger flavor than parsley, so you’ll need to use less than what the recipe calls for to avoid overpowering your dish.
1 tablespoon fresh parsley = 1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano.