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Smart Substitutions: Vegetables, Herbs and Spices

  1. AK Home Cooking SolutionsYou may use dried herbs in place of fresh herbs, simply add about half the amount of dried herbs as fresh (for example, 1 tablespoon fresh herbs equals 1 to 1 - teaspoons dried).  The flavor of dried herbs is more concentrated so you don't need as much.

  2. Blend 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder with 1 teaspoon white vinegar or water to use in place of 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard.

  3. If you don't have fresh ginger, use 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger for each tablespoon fresh ginger called for in the recipe.

  4. Two teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning equals 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves.

  5. If a recipe calls for tarragon, it's fine to substitute the same amount of basil. They both have a similar, licorice-like flavor.

  6. Parsnips are a root vegetable that looks like a white carrot. Although parsnips are sweeter, it's fine to use an equal amount of carrots in place of parsnips in recipes.

  7. There are two varieties of parsley: flat-leaf and curly. Flat-leaf is milder tasting than curly, but they may be used interchangeably.

  8. Dried sage comes in two forms: rubbed, which is crumbled pieces of dried sage leaves, and ground, which is powdery. They may be used interchangeably, but crush the rubbed sage with your fingers to break up.

  9. If a recipe calls for crystallized ginger, substitute an equal amount of minced fresh ginger root or half the amount of ground ginger.

  10. Shallots look like small, torpedo-shaped red onions. They have a mild onion flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked. If you don't have shallots, use finely minced red or yellow onion.

  11. To make your own version of Cajun or Creole seasoning, combine equal parts paprika, ground black pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano leaves and dried thyme leaves. It's usually fairly spicy, so add cayenne to taste depending on how hot you want to make it.

  12. Although the flavor of different dried herbs varies, most can be used interchangeably with each other. So don't worry if you don't have dried basil, swap it out with dried oregano, thyme or marjoram. The dish will still taste terrific.

  13. It's fine to use 1/2 a sweet yellow onion in place of 1 bunch of green onions (scallions) in recipes. It's a good idea to sauté the onion in a little vegetable oil first to eliminate any strong taste.

  14. Some stew and soup recipes call for adding a bay leaf to the liquid for flavor. But other hearty herbs work well too try fresh rosemary or thyme sprigs. The flavor will be a little different but still good.

  15. Lemongrass is a long, reed-like herb used extensively in Thai cooking. In place of 1 lemongrass stalk, use the minced zest of 1 lemon and 1/8 teaspoon minced fresh ginger.

  16. For each teaspoon of poultry seasoning called for in a recipe, substitute 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves and 3/4 teaspoon dried (rubbed) sage.

  17. Generally, it's okay to use different hot fresh chiles interchangeably in recipes. Depending on the variety, heat levels vary so you may need more or less than the recipe calls for. Jalapeños and serranos are the mildest (but still spicy); habaneros are the hottest.

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