Parsley is a vibrant, green herb. It is native to the central Mediterranean region, including southern Italy, Algeria, and Tunisia. Many people use fresh or dried parsley to add flavor to certain dishes. However, some people may not like the taste of parsley, or they may have none to hand.

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Some herbs or leaves have a more intense flavor than parsley. This means that people may have to adjust their measurements.

However, even with those that a person can substitute on a one-to-one ratio, it may be wise to use the substitute in moderation initially. This way, people can better understand any flavor changes to their dish.

Dishes such as falafel, meatballs, and garlic bread pair very well with parsley, but several substitutes may also give them the right flavor and look. Read on to learn more.

Arugula is a salad green rather than an herb. In some parts of the world, people call it rocket or roquette. It has a peppery taste similar to parsley. This makes it great for dishes where the flavor of parsley is crucial. It could also be a useful garnish.

Arugula leaves are large, so people will need to chop them finely in order to use them as a parsley replacement.

Half a cup of arugula provides 10.9 micrograms of vitamin K, which is about 9% of a person’s Daily Value. Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting and wound healing.

Basil is a strongly flavored bright green herb that people can use as a parsley replacement in Italian cooking. Dishes from other parts of the world that feature tomatoes could also work well with its flavor.

Basil could also make a great garnish.

Basil is high in antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage due to free radicals. It also contains high levels of vitamin K.

If a person has fresh carrots, they can use the green tops instead of parsley.

Like parsley, carrot tops have a bitter taste, but they handle heat well. Therefore, they would be great cooked in certain dishes, such as chimichurri. They could add a little spice to dishes and would make a great garnish if a person chopped them finely.

The leaves of celery have a very subtle flavor, so they may not be a good substitute in dishes where replicating the flavor of parsley is important. However, they look quite similar to flat-leaf parsley leaves, so they could make a great substitute as a garnish.

As with the stalks of the celery, the leaves are mostly water and contain few calories.

Some people call chervil French parsley. It tastes a little like licorice and looks very similar to parsley leaves, so it could make a great garnish.

Chervil can be useful either fresh or dried at the same quantity as a person would use parsley. It does have a milder taste than parsley, however, so a person may want to add more chervil in cooking if the flavor is not strong enough for them.

Chives are bright green, so they could be a great replacement for parsley as a garnish. Chives have a mild flavor that complements many dishes, making them useful as a parsley substitute in cooking as well.

Although chives have a mild flavor, a person should add them gradually to dishes, as they taste more like garlic and onion than parsley. Chives work well with a variety of different flavor profiles.

Chives also contain high levels of beta carotene, which is an antioxidant important for eye health and cardiovascular health.

Cilantro could work as a substitute for parsley as a garnish or in cooked dishes.

However, some people notice a soap-like taste when they consume cilantro. This can happen because of a specific gene that some people have. Therefore, it is best to use caution when using cilantro in recipes that call for parsley, as it can often overwhelm the rest of the flavors.

Cilantro contains important vitamins, such as vitamin C, provitamin A, and vitamin K.

Oregano is a member of the mint family of herbs and has a fairly strong flavor. A person should use it sparingly as a replacement for parsley so as not to overwhelm the flavor of the meal.

It may complement the flavors of Mediterranean dishes, such as Greek or Italian food, especially well.

Oregano contains a compound called thymol, which some studies have suggested has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Tarragon often features in French cooking, and it is one of the ingredients in the French herb blend fines herbes.

This herb works best when substituting for parsley as a garnish rather than in cooking, as the flavor of tarragon is fairly different from the flavor of parsley. It can be useful in cooking but may be best to use in small amounts.

One 2016 study suggested that tarragon may be able to improve blood sugar control in people with high blood sugar levels. However, this study used a concentrated tarragon extract, so the same effect may not be possible with fresh or dried tarragon.

Some recipes call for fresh herbs rather than dried herbs.

If substituting fresh with dried herbs, a person should use 1 teaspoon (tsp) of dry herbs for every tablespoon (tbsp) of fresh herbs that the recipe calls for. If substituting the other way round, they should use 1 tbsp of fresh herbs per tsp of dried herbs in the recipe.

Heat can diminish the flavor of fresh herbs, so people should add fresh herbs to recipes toward the end of cooking.

The following parsley substitutes may work especially well in the following dishes:

  • For fish: In Mexican or Thai dishes involving fish, cilantro can add a depth of flavor.
  • For meatballs: Replacing parsley with fresh basil in meatballs can create an authentic Italian flavor.
  • For garlic bread: Using dried oregano or Italian seasoning can give garlic bread a flavorful kick.
  • For falafel: Celery tops are the best option for falafel if a person does not have any parsley to hand.

The following parsley substitutes may work well as a garnish:

  • Carrot greens: These can make a brilliant replacement for parsley as a garnish. Also, using the whole carrot creates less waste.
  • Chervil: This looks almost identical to flat-leaf parsley, so it makes a great substitute as a garnish.
  • Curly-leaf endive: This looks almost identical to curly-leaf parsley, making it an excellent replacement for garnishes.
  • Cilantro: This looks similar to flat-leaf parsley, meaning that it is often a good choice for a garnish.

Parsley is an herb that features in a wide variety of dishes, either as an ingredient or a garnish. It has a peppery taste.

Some good substitutes for parsley include basil, oregano, cilantro, carrot tops, and arugula.