Basil Substitutes: oregano, parsley, thyme, kale, dried tarragon or arugula.
There is nothing worse than pulling out the ingredients to cook a recipe to realize your missing one sole component. If Basil is the ingredient missing from your spice rack, the good news is there are a number of substitutes that can be used in place of it.
If the recipe requires fresh basil, dried basil which is kept on most spice racks is the next best thing. While dried basil won’t be as vibrant as the fresh version, the taste is much the same. In fact, dried basil is concentrated meaning a sprinkle is equivalent to a couple of fresh basil leaves. The rule of thumb when converting is 3 parts fresh is equal to 1 part dry and this is much the same for basil. It’s best to stir and taste when using basil in a dish as too much can be overpowering.
If your cupboard is bare and you do not have either fresh or dried basil, the next best substitute is fresh or dried oregano or thyme.
Don’t get caught again. Purchase dried basil below to fill your spice rack or better yet, purchase a complete spice rack.
If basil is a required ingredient in the recipe you wish to cook and a trip to the shop isn’t an option, one of the substitutes below may be suitable. For example, if you’ve began creating a pesto to only find that you do not have enough basil, then a small portion of spinach leaves can be added to the mix. If you’re creating a tomato pasta sauce, oregano is a suitable basil alternative.
Basil Substitute #1 – Fresh Oregano
Oregano is similar in taste to basil. You may notice that oregano is slightly more pepper in taste compared to basil.
Basil Substitute #2 – Fresh Thyme
Fresh thyme tastes much more earthy than fresh basil. For some recipes, thyme works out as a suitable alternative to basil. You can replace basil in a recipe with the same quantity of thyme.
Basil Substitute #3 – Parsley
If the basil is to be used to garnish a dish, parsley is a great alternative. While parsley does not have the strong taste within a dish like basil does, it looks much the same and adds green contrast when placed on top of pizza/pasta.
Basil Substitute #4 – Oregano
Oregano boasts a strong flavor when added to a dish just like basil does. Oregano is a great basil replacement in pasta sauces.
Basil Substitute #5 – Mint
If the basil is being used for decorative purposes or in a slow cooked meal, mint can act as a substitute. If you choose mint as your basil substitute be aware of the strong taste of mint.
Substituting Basil in Cooking
|Recipe / Dish||Substitute for Basil|
|Pesto||Parsley / Mint|
What is Basil?
Commonly used in cuisines such as Italian, Thai and Chinese, basil is a vibrant, aromatic, green leaf herb. Basil belongs to the mint family making it somewhat similar to lavender, mint, oregano, rosemary and thyme who also belong to the same family. Basil is most commonly seen in Italian pesto sauce, on top of pizza and in Thai noodle dishes.
Basil is often available fresh and dry at big brand supermarkets, although many opt for the dry version as it lasts longer and is often a lot more cost effective. While dry basil works well in most dishes, the vibrancy, aroma and taste of fresh basil is hard to beat.
If your cupboard is bare and only contains one herb, more than likely the herb is basil. If it’s not basil and it’s a container of mixed herb and 9 out of 10 times, you’ll find a sprinkle of basil in there!
Basil and Cooking
In terms of what goes best with basil, often tomato based dishes will include fresh or dried basil. Take pesto and pizza for an example, these both include tomato and basil. Basil also pairs great with meals containing garlic and olives.
When using basil in cooking always ensure you follow the recipe and add it at the appropriate time. Basil is often introduced towards the end of a recipe as this herb wilts easily. Many recipes even suggests adding basil last. Where possible avoid cutting basil with a knife as this will leave black edges which will be disappointing if the basil is being used to bring life to the dish. Use you hands and pull the leaves apart if you wish for the basil to maintain it’s vibrant green color.
Spotlight on Basil
The use of herbs and spices in western countries is minute compared to their use in those eastern countries. Take Indian dishes for example, each dish is comprised of multiple herbs and spices. While western meals often lack herbs and spices, if you have a love for basil, we’ve listed a number of dishes/drinks that require this vibrant herb that you’ll love below:
- Basil Ice cream
- Thai Basil Fried Rice
- Sweet Potato Fries with Basil Salt
- Basil Garlic Bread
- Basil and Strawberry Mock-tails
- Tomato and Basil Quiche
- Caprese Skewers
- Flatbread Caprese
- Pasta with Pesto Sauce
- Zucchini and Basil Soup
- Pad Thai with Basil
- Basil Hummus
Perhaps you have basil but your pantry is missing another required herb. Below we’ve gathered a collection of herb substitutes.
|Herb Required||Herb Substitute|
|Basil||Oregano / Thyme|
|Chives||Onion / Leek|
|Mint||Basil / Rosemary|