Have you ever been looking for an ingredient to take your dishes to the next level? Dried basil leaves could be just what you need.
It brings the big flavor with a small size and can be used in a multitude of ways.
Not only are they delicious when made into pesto, but they can also be added to sauces, vegetables, fish, and so much more.
If you don’t have access to dried basil leaves, however, fear not.
There are five substitutes that can provide the same savory flavor – from fresh basil to dried coriander seeds.
Let’s take a closer look at these five substitutes to find out which one is best for your next dish.
What are Dried Basil Leaves?
Dried basil leaves are simply fresh basil that has been dried for preservation and future use.
Categorized as an herb, the leaves have a bright, peppery flavor profile often associated with Italian cuisine.
In their dried state, they’re crunchier than the fresh variety and can be used to add both flavor and texture to a dish.
Depending on the intensity of a specific recipe, you can either use the seeds from inside or finely ground powder from the basil itself.
Dried basil is particularly well-suited for marinades, pasta sauces, rubs for roasted vegetables and proteins, as well as garnishing salads or soups.
Adding dried basil at the beginning of cooking gives it enough time to simmer in your dish and develop its flavor, while adding some near the end lends it an intense finish.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Dried Basil Leaves
If you’re out of dried basil leaves, don’t worry.
There are several other herbs and spices that can be used as substitutes to bring a similar flavor profile.
Here are the five best alternatives to use in place of dried basil:
1 – Fresh Basil
Fresh basil is an aromatic herb that adds a delightful flavor to many dishes.
Its bright leaves range from dark green to purple in color and have a hint of peppery taste.
Its leaves are also quite soft to the touch, making it very pleasant for culinary use.
An interesting fact about fresh basil is that its aroma intensifies when chopped or cut and releases fragrance when cooked.
It can be used to substitute dried basil leaves which tend to produce a duller flavor in any dish.
To substitute, use three times the amount of fresh basil you would normally do with dried leaves, and make sure you add it towards the end of the cooking process, so its flavor stays preserved.
2 – Dried Oregano
Dried oregano is a common ingredient in many Italian-inspired cuisines, and for a good reason.
This fragrant dried herb offers a pleasing scent and flavor that is difficult to replicate without oregano.
The aromatic oils found in dried oregano provide a distinct, pungent taste that can’t be matched.
Its texture varies depending on the age of the leaves, with heavily crumbled leaves having a more dusty consistency while slightly larger crumbles will provide more crunch.
If you’re short on dried basil but have oregano in your pantry, you can substitute it by using the same measurement of oregano as what the recipe calls for basil.
This herb adds a unique flavor that pairs exceptionally well with recipes featuring olives, tomatoes, garlic, and other Italian flavors.
3 – Dried Italian Seasoning
Dried Italian seasoning is an excellent addition to many dishes.
It’s composed of a variety of ingredients, such as oregano, thyme, marjoram, basil, rosemary, and garlic.
This flavorful combination creates an earthy aroma that brings any meal to life.
As it’s dried, it provides a texture similar to coarse crumbs and really complements heartier recipes like lasagna or spaghetti and meatballs.
The best way to use it is by crushing the blend with a mortar and pestle before adding it to the dish.
If you don’t have any fresh basil leaves on hand, you can sprinkle some of this dried seasoning over your creations and get that same delicious taste without waiting for it to grow in the garden first.
4 – Dried Marjoram
Marjoram is a delightful herb that adds a unique flavor to dishes.
Its mellow, slightly sweet characteristic provides a varied and interesting taste profile when eaten fresh or dried.
When dried, marjoram has a softer aroma than when fresh and holds its flavor exceptionally well while losing some of its vibrant colors.
Typically, it has an earthy taste with a subtle bitterness, as well as notes of citrus and camphor.
If you’re in need of a substitution for your traditional dried basil leaves, try marjoram instead.
It provides an intriguing texture to any dish and delicious background to highlight other ingredients included in the recipe.
5 – Dried Coriander Seeds
Dried coriander seeds make an excellent alternative to dried basil leaves in a variety of recipes.
Originating from East Indian and Mediterranean cuisines, coriander has a subtle citrus flavor with earthy, sweet undertones.
When ground, the dried seeds take on a slightly coarser texture than their fresh counterparts, making them perfect for dishes like stews and spicy curries.
The best way to use this aromatic spice as a substitute for dried basil leaves is to use 1 teaspoon of crushed coriander seeds for every ½ teaspoon of the basil.
When combined with other ingredients, such as chili powder or oregano, it adds an extra layer of flavor that will liven up any dish.
In conclusion, dried basil leaves are a common ingredient found in many recipes.
But if you find yourself in need of a substitute, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Fresh basil, dried oregano, Italian seasoning, marjoram, and coriander seeds all make for great substitutes when used appropriately.
With the right measurements and preparation techniques, these ingredients will provide the same flavor and texture as dried basil leaves in any dish.
So next time you’re looking for a substitution, try one of these herbs to add an extra layer of flavor to your meal.