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Parsley substitutes

10 great alternatives for parsley

Parsley is a versatile herb that adds a fresh, herbaceous flavor to many dishes, but if you've run out, there are plenty of possible replacements. Here are 10 great substitutes for parsley.

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Parsley substitutes: 10 great alternatives
Last updated on June 24, 2023, and last reviewed by an expert on July 21, 2022.

Parsley is a mild and versatile herb that adds a fresh, herbaceous flavor to many dishes. The bright green leaves are also commonly used as a garnish.

Parsley substitutes: 10 great alternatives

The two varieties of parsley are flat leaf and curly leaf. Plus, it’s available fresh or dried.

The herb contains few calories and is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals.

However, if you don’t have parsley on hand, you may wonder whether any substitutes offer a similar flavor or appearance.

Fortunately, several herbs and other greens can be used in place of parsley in cooking and as a garnish.

Nevertheless, you should try to replace dried parsley with a dried herb and fresh parsley with a fresh herb when possible. Dried herbs are stronger in flavor than fresh, so a smaller amount is needed.

Here are 10 great substitutes for fresh or dried parsley.

1. Chervil

Chervil is closely related to parsley, but it has a milder flavor — making it well suited for substituting fresh or dried parsley. It’s commonly used in French cuisine.

It’s relatively high in iron, with 1 teaspoon of dried chervil containing 1% of the daily value. Iron is vital for building healthy red blood cells and preventing fatigue.

Chervil is almost identical in appearance to flat leaf parsley, though you will need to use more chervil than parsley in cooking because of its milder taste.

2. Tarragon

Tarragon is a staple herb in French cuisine. It’s used alongside parsley, chives, and chervil to make the French herb blend “fines herbes.”

The herb may help improve blood sugar control in people with high blood sugar levels.

Although it has a slightly different taste than parsley, it can be used to substitute parsley as a garnish or in cooking in small amounts. Like parsley, it complements many flavors.

Additionally, dried fines herbes are an excellent substitute for parsley if you have some on hand.

3. Oregano

Oregano is a member of the mint family, although it has a strong savory taste.

It can be used to substitute parsley as a garnish, or fresh or dried in cooking, although you should use less oregano than parsley, as it has a much stronger flavor.

Oregano contains a potent antibacterial compound called thymol, which can kill harmful bacteria according to some test-tube and animal studies.

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4. Chives

Chives taste very similar to onions and garlic, and they resemble small green onion sprigs. They are bright green and an excellent way to add color and flavor to dishes as a replacement for parsley.

Fresh or dried chives can be used as a substitute for parsley in all types of dishes, as they have a flavor that lends itself well to many types of food.

Chives are rich in beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. Beta carotene is a powerful antioxidant that can help promote healthy cell growth and development.

5. Arugula

Arugula is not an herb, but a salad green. However, it’s very peppery and slightly bitter, making it a flavorful substitute for parsley. It can also be used as an edible garnish.

Arugula has larger leaves than most herbs, so it will need to be finely chopped for culinary purposes. You should also only use a small amount to substitute for parsley due to its bitterness.

Arugula is fairly rich in calcium, which helps promote strong bones and healthy muscle and heart function. Just five arugula leaves provide 1% of the daily value for calcium.

6. Endive

Endive is another salad green that can be used as a substitute for parsley. Curly leaf endive looks nearly identical to curly leaf parsley.

Like arugula, endive is bitter and peppery, so it can be used as an edible garnish or as a replacement when cooking with parsley. However, you may want to use less endive than you would parsley due to its strong flavor.

Most of the carbs in endive come from fiber, making it a fiber-rich food. The fiber in vegetables like endive can promote regularity by adding bulk to your stool and feeding your beneficial gut bacteria.

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7. Cilantro

Cilantro is a strong-flavored herb that is commonly used in Mexican and Thai food. It looks similar to fresh flat-leaf parsley, making it an excellent choice for a garnish.

Like parsley, 1/4 cup (4 grams) of fresh cilantro leaves are low in calories, containing less than 1 calorie per serving. Plus, it has trace amounts of several vitamins and minerals.

However, cilantro has a very bright flavor that may clash with some dishes in that parsley is typically used. It’s best used as a replacement garnish, although fresh or dried cilantro can be used as an alternative to parsley in Mexican or Thai dishes with strong flavors.

8. Basil

Basil is a strong herb with bright green leaves. It’s a key flavor in Italian dishes and the main ingredient in pesto, a sauce made with herbs, olive oil, and pine nuts.

Basil is rich in vitamin K, with only 5 leaves containing 9% of the daily value. Vitamin K can help strengthen bones and ensure normal blood clotting.

Basil is a great substitute for parsley when used as a garnish. However, for flavor, it should only be used as a substitute for dried or fresh parsley in Italian dishes because of its bold taste.

9. Celery leaves

Celery leaves are a surprising substitute for parsley, but they’re similar in appearance to flat-leaf parsley, making them an excellent garnish.

However, celery leaves have an extremely subtle flavor and may not be a good substitute for parsley in cooking.

Like celery stalks, the leaves contain mostly water and very few calories.

10. Carrot greens

Carrot greens are another unexpected substitute for parsley as a garnish. Although long considered inedible by some, they are perfectly safe to eat and have some health benefits.

Like carrots, carrot greens contain a fair amount of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that can help boost your immune system.

However, carrot greens can taste bitter, so it’s not recommended to use them as a replacement for fresh or dried parsley in cooking.

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Parsley is a great herb to use in cooking and as a garnish, but several alternatives can stand in its place if you don’t have any on hand.

Cilantro, celery leaves, and carrot greens are excellent replacements for parsley as a garnish.

Meanwhile, chervil and chives — either fresh or dried — are the most ideal parsley substitutes for culinary purposes.

These 10 substitutes will help you keep cooking, even if you happen to run out of parsley.

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