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The 5 BEST Substitutes for Lovage

Have you ever heard of lovage, the herb that looks similar to celery and smells fragrant, like the Mediterranean?

Whether you’re a budding chef or an experienced home cook, it can be perplexing to know how to use this green leafy vegetable.

Fortunately, lovage has many uses that range from spicing up salads to being an integral part of soups.

But if you don’t have any on hand, there are plenty of good substitutes for lovage, including tarragon, thyme, caraway seeds, fennel, and parsley.

For a bit more guidance on these substitutes and how to use lovage in general, follow this guide for cooking with lovage and its top five substitutes.

What is Lovage?

Lovage, not to be confused with the herb lemongrass, is an herbaceous plant of the Apiaceae family that is native to Europe and Central Asia.

Similar in appearance to celery, this sturdy-stemmed herb was used in ancient Roman times as a medicine and a condiment.

Lovage has celery-like leaves which are bright green when young but become darker as they mature; the taste is reminiscent of a mix of parsley and celery.

The root of lovage is particularly aromatic with a slightly spicy yet acidic scent.

Its flavor may be likened to a combination of dillweed and celery seed, making it ideal for use in recipes such as sauces, stews, and salads.

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On top of its culinary applications, lovage can also make an interesting addition to certain drinks like beer or cocktails.

It even has traditional uses in folk medicine; tinctures made from the leaves or roots can help reduce stomach problems like gas or nausea.

To put it simply, lovage is an intriguing and multifaceted ingredient worth exploring.

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Lovage

If you’re looking for the perfect ingredient to replace the distinctive flavor of lovage in your dishes, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of delicious alternatives available.

From celery root to parsley, here are our top five picks for the best substitutes for lovage.

1 – Celery Leaves

Celery leaves are often overlooked, but they are an incredibly versatile ingredient to keep in your kitchen pantry.

With a flavor similar to dill and parsley, celery leaves pack an incredible punch in soups, stews, and salads.

In fact, the distinct herb-like taste of celery is said to reach its peak when eaten in leaf form.

Furthermore, these leaves can also add a useful dose of texture, with a subtle crunch that livens up any plate.

If you want to dial it back even more, celery leaves make for great loving substitutes because they share similar qualities, such as a bright lemony bite and grassy scent.

So skip the lovage next time and try some celery leaves instead.

2 – Lovage Seeds

Lovage seeds are unique little delights that pack a big punch.

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With a flavor many liken to celery, lovage seeds are earthy and assertive and add complexity to any dish they touch.

Lovage seeds can be used in salads, stews, and even sauces; their texture is crunchy when raw and softens slightly when cooked.

If you’re looking for a substitute for lovage, try using equal parts celery seed mixed with parsley flakes.

This combo will bring a taste similar to that of lovage but without all the complexity.

Try out these delicious ingredients today and experience the tantalizing flavor of lovage.

3 – Celeriac

Celeriac is a root vegetable that has gained a lot of prominences lately.

It has a knobby, tan exterior and white interior and looks like it could be related to its close cousin, the celery.

The texture of celeriac shares similarities to that of potato, however not as starchy, making it an ideal addition to mashed potatoes for added creaminess.

Its flavor is often described as somewhat nutty with delicate hints of celery, making it an excellent addition to salads or as a standalone roasted vegetable dish.

One unique way you might use celeriac is in place of lovage; simply substitute the two ingredients out cup-for-cup in any recipe you choose.

Whichever way you decide to use it, celeriac provides an exciting twist on ordinary root vegetables that will have your taste buds begging for more.

4 – Flat-leaf Parsley

Flat-leaf parsley is a herb that has many compelling uses.

It is a staple in Mediterranean cuisine, and it’s often used as a colorful garnish and as an enhancer of flavor.

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The fresh leaves of flat-leaf parsley have a sharp, slightly bitter flavor with notes of citrus and pepper.

Its texture can range from slightly chewy when raw to tender when cooked.

As for culinary uses, flat-leaf parsley complements fish, lamb, vegetables, salads, soups, sauces, casseroles, and egg dishes with its unique flavor.

Flat-leaf parsley can be used in place of lovage if the latter is not available; both herbs offer some comparable notes, so they can usually be exchanged without much impact on the final dish’s flavor profile.

5 – Fennel

Fennel is a tricky ingredient to work with, as its flavor and texture stand out amongst other components in a dish.

It has a crisp, crunchy texture with sweetish, anise-like notes dominating the flavor – so it’s not uncommon to get some strange looks when adding it to a recipe.

With its unique taste and texture, fennel can easily be substituted for lovage, which is another herb with similar profiles.

By sautéing or roasting the fennel before adding it to the dish, one can bring out the sweetness of the vegetable and instantly add more character.

Although the possibilities are endless when using fennel, always remember its intense flavor and proceed carefully when cooking this ingredient.


In conclusion, if you’re looking for a substitute for lovage, there are plenty of options available.

Celery leaves, lovage seeds, celeriac, flat-leaf parsley, and fennel all offer unique flavor profiles that can be used in place of the herb.

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Each one has its own distinct qualities, so it is important to experiment and see which works best for you and your dish.

With these five ingredients, you will never be without a lovage substitute when needed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is lovage same as parsley?

No, lovage is not the same as parsley. While both are leafy herbs with a similar flavor profile, lovage has a more intense, earthier flavor and aroma than parsley. Lovage also grows much larger and has thick, textured leaves that can be used in soups, stews and other dishes.

What can I use instead of lovage celery?

You can use celery leaves as a substitute for lovage. Celery leaves have a similar flavor profile and texture, although the flavor is more mild than lovage. They are also great for adding flavor to soups and stews, as well as making salads and coleslaws.

What tastes like lovage?

Celery seed, fennel and dill are all good substitutes for the flavor of lovage. All three have a similar earthy taste, although celery seed has a more pronounced flavor than the other two. Fennel gives dishes a subtle sweetness that makes it an excellent substitute for lovage in salads and coleslaws, while dill is perfect for adding to soups and stews.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Lovage

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Lovage
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Celery Leaves
  • Lovage Seeds
  • Celeriac
  • Flat-leaf Parsley
  • Fennel


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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