Have you ever found yourself stuck in the middle of making a dish that requires rosemary because you don’t have it? If yes, this article will help you choose the perfect rosemary substitute to use for your dish.
This will help to prevent unwanted trips to the grocery store when you run out of rosemary before or while preparing a dish that requires it. Keep reading to discover 15 alternatives you can use instead.
What Is Rosemary?
Rosemary is a small evergreen shrub rosemary that grows in warm climates throughout Europe. The leaves of this plant have a spruce-like flavor that is mostly used to give flavor to dishes.
Rosemary is related to oregano, thyme, basil, and lavender as they all belong to a mint family called Lamiaceae. As culinary condiments, these herbs are not only flavorful, but they also have several health benefits. Rosemary is a good source of vitamin B6, iron, and calcium.
Rosemary leaves are good for seasoning lambs, chicken, sausages, stews, beverages, potatoes, vegetables, and many others. It is available in different varieties such as dried, fresh, liquid, and powdered forms.
1. Bay Leaf
You should be familiar with this herb as it is common in stews and broths for its flavor profile. Bay leaves are a Mediterranean herb that comes from the Laurel trees. It is similar to rosemary in terms of taste and flavor but is quite milder.
The fresh form has a hint of bitterness so the best form to use as a substitute for rosemary is a dry bay leaf. The dryness helps to enhance the aroma and eliminate bitterness. It has a hint of mint with a mild pine aroma along with notes of black pepper.
This flavor profile is best for meats, stews, broths, and vegetables. Use equal parts of bay leaf in place of dry rosemary in your recipe.
Marjoram is another option you should try when you run out of rosemary. It has a similar flavor and taste to rosemary. It has a delicate flavor that combines a slightly sweet flavor with a hint of bitterness. The distinct lemony and mint flavor of marjoram makes it a good option to try.
To substitute marjoram for rosemary, you need to use a lot more marjoram because it has a delicate and mild flavor. Use 2 to 3 times the amount of rosemary your recipe requires. This is the best substitute you can use in place of rosemary for your soups, stews, salads, rice dishes, and others.
Sage has a pine-like flavor, and that makes it a perfect alternative for your recipe if you ever run out of rosemary. It has a distinctive astringent aroma with citrus and mint undertones that can give your dish a complex flavor profile.
You can use sage fresh or dried depending on your taste and the recipe you want to add. Sage has a very strong flavor, so don’t use equal amounts of it to substitute rosemary. Use ½ the amount of fresh or dried sage in place of rosemary.
Sage is the best rosemary substitute used for meats, eggs, bread, pickles, soups, vegetables, seafood, cheeses, and butter. It will complement your recipe well and enhance the flavor of your dish.
Thyme is also a part of the mint family which rosemary belongs to and is one of the best substitutes you can use. It has a flavor blend of lemony, earthy, and piney notes with an intense eucalyptus freshness.
Even though they don’t have similar appearances, both thyme and rosemary have a warm and peppery tone. However, thyme has a more gentle flavor than rosemary. You can use fresh or dried thyme in your recipe depending on the dish you want to prepare.
For your crostini or salad, you can use fresh thyme in place of rosemary. For your stews, soups, barbeques, pasta, risottos, and potatoes, you can use fresh or dried thyme. Use equal parts of thyme in place of rosemary in your recipe.
5. Caraway Seed
Also known as Persian cumin, caraway seed is a popular spice in Eastern Asia, North Africa, and Europe. Caraway seeds belong to the carrot family and can be used in place of rosemary in your recipe. It has a pungent flavor that can easily make you forget about rosemary.
Caraway seeds have a peppery and intense flavor with a slightly bitter and lemony tone. It works great in several dishes, be it cooked or fresh ones. You can use it for sausages, shepherd pies, cheeses, salads, stews, and baked goods.
To substitute caraway seeds for rosemary in your dish recipe, use equal amounts of powdered or fresh caraway seeds.
Oregano is another Mediterranean herb that belongs to the same mint family as rosemary. It is popular and common in Italian and Greek dishes with its aromatic flavor of cool and minty tone blends. The herb is slightly bitter yet sweet and also spicy even though it is earthy.
Oregano is a suitable substitute for rosemary if you hope to achieve a similar flavor to it in your dish. Use equal parts of fresh oregano to replace fresh rosemary in your recipe. Likewise, replace dried rosemary with dry oregano in your recipe.
Oregano works great in cooking fresh dishes as it is a versatile herb that complements other ingredients and foods well. Use it for your salads, fish, meat, sauces, soups, pasta, and others to add flavor to them.
Basil is another herb that belongs to the same mint family as rosemary that you can use in several recipes. The herb has a savory and slightly sweet taste that will compliment your dish greatly. The minty, peppery, lemony, and spicy flavor of Basil will give your dish a wonderful flavor blend.
The best time to use Basil is at the end of the cooking process. Use equal parts of basil in place of rosemary in your recipe. You can use it for several dishes but wait till you remove the food from heat before doing so. You can use it for your salad, pasta, soups, seafood, meats, vegetables, and cheeses.
Mint has a sweet, fresh, and aromatic flavor that gives your dish a mixture of warm touch and cool aftertaste. It has a similar flavor to rosemary as rosemary is a minty herb. You can use mint in place of rosemary in salads, meats, cold soups, bread, stew, dressings, and dips.
To use mint in your recipe instead of rosemary, add equal parts of it to achieve a similar flavor.
Parsley has a mild, fresh, peppery aroma that gives a blend of anise and lettuce flavor. Its sweet, delicate flavor will give your dish a little crunch. You can use it in place of rosemary at the end of the cooking process of your favorite dish.
This substitute is good for many vegetable dishes, cheeses, pizzas, sauces, and bread. It is also a good addition to seafood, pasta, risotto, and salad recipes. Use equal parts of parsley in place of rosemary at the end of the cooking process of your dish.
Also known as estragon, tarragon is a leafy green herb with a complex flavor profile. Along with its bittersweet flavor, tarragon has a spicy, minty, flavor blend that gives off warm touches and cool aftertastes. It is quite popular for the hint of licorice flavor that gives it a strong intense flavor.
Due to the overpowering nature of tarragon, it is best to use smaller amounts than you would use rosemary in your recipe. This will prevent it from taking over the entire flavor of the dish. Use ½ tablespoon of tarragon in place of every 1 tablespoon of rosemary.
You can use tarragon for complete dishes of vegetables, meats, fish, eggs, soups, and many more. If the meal takes a longer time to cook, add the tarragon at the end of the cooking process.
11. Summer Savory
Even though savory is generally considered a great rosemary substitute, the best kind of savory to use is summer savory. Winter savory has a bitter and mild flavor that’s different from rosemary.
Summer savory has a rather strong, minty, peppery taste yet sweet enough to work perfectly as a rosemary substitute. You can add summer savory to cold soups like gazpacho to give it a notch. Likewise, you can use it in meat recipes, sauces, beans, lentils, vegetables, and even desserts.
Dill is highly aromatic and has a complex flavor profile. It has a blend of citrus, sweet, and lemony, with earthy tones of anise and fresh mint. It has a slightly bitter, yet pungent taste with warm touches.
Because of the complex flavor profile and intensity of dill, you will need to add it only when the dish is fully cooked. Use ½ tablespoon of dill to replace every 1 tablespoon of rosemary your dish requires.
Dill is an ideal rosemary substitute to use for fish, seafood, eggs, pasta, vegetables, meats, soups, broths, salads, dips, and many more.
13. Italian Seasoning
Italian seasoning is a blend that combines several herbs and spices. This is a less common substitute but is worth trying. You can use it in place of rosemary in your recipe to achieve a more complex flavor profile.
You can use ½ tablespoon of Italian seasoning for every 1 tablespoon of rosemary your recipe requires. Use Italian seasonings for recipes that aren’t using lots of spices and herbs already. You can use it for your pasta, meat, sauce, cheese, and so on.
Why Does Rosemary Need Substitutes?
Running out of rosemary sometimes inevitable and you may not have time to stop by a grocery store to buy one. The availability of alternatives will help you prepare your dishes successfully even without rosemary.
Rosemary also contains a chemical that’s quite similar to aspirin. This chemical can trigger allergic reactions in people who are allergic to aspirin. Therefore, your recipe screams for alternatives if you have any form of allergy to aspirin.
Too much consumption of rosemary in food can cause side effects like vomiting. Therefore, use a good alternative when you notice you have been consuming a lot of rosemary in your food lately.
Are rosemary and thyme the same?
No, they aren’t. Rosemary and thyme are different even though they have similar flavors and belong to the same mint family.
However, rosemary had a stronger flavor with a pungent, bitter taste compared to thyme. Rosemary also has needle-like leaves that are different from the small soft leaves of thyme.
Can you use rosemary and thyme together?
Yes, you can. You can use rosemary together with thyme in a recipe as they compliment each other well. They are often used together to enhance and elevate the flavor profile of a recipe.
What herbs can you use with rosemary?
There are several herbs you can use with rosemary in your recipe. Blends like Herbs de Provence combine rosemary with other similar herbs like thyme, oregano, savory, and marjoram.
You can pair rosemary with other herbs like sage, basil, bay leaves, nutmeg, mint, and many others.
What you can do when you run out of rosemary or get tired of using it in your recipe is to find an alternative that works. There are several herbs you can use in place of rosemary in your recipe and some of them include oregano, thyme, sage, and others.
Choose your rosemary replacement according to your recipe and the overall flavor profile you want for your dish. Pick according to your want, be it the appearance, flavor, or taste of the dish. Swap rosemary with any of the recommended substitutes and enjoy your meal.
Thanks for reading.
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