When it comes to tarragon, there is no true Tarragon substitute. However, there are some herbs that come close in flavor. If you’re looking for something to replace tarragon in a recipe, here are four options to consider. Each of these herbs has a slightly different flavor profile, so be sure to experiment until you find the one that works best for your dish.
1. Fresh basil – Tarragon Substitute
Garlic cloves (for elephant garlic)
Parsley (for lovage)
Fresh tarragon or basil (for dill weed ) – up the volume a bit since dried doesn’t have much taste here. I used dried and can barely taste it at 1Tbsp, so I added another tablespoon. It’s a great suggestion to try if you have trouble finding fresh herbs during wintertime though!
Dried parsley flakes – omit completely because they have very little flavor in this recipe.
Onion salt – omit salt from onion, or use plain salt instead of brined or granulated varieties for fresher flavors. Salt is also an essential ingredient for pasta water which helps form a starch-based sauce.
Fennel seed (for caraway)
Ground black pepper (for white pepper)
Celery seed (for celery leaves)
Italian seasoning (for herbes de Provence)
– this is a great suggestion to try if you have trouble finding fresh herbs during wintertime though!
Extra-virgin olive oil (for vegetable oil)
Since I can’t find elephant garlic, I’m going to use 2 cloves of garlic. I also omitted the onion salt and celery seed because I couldn’t find them. And I only used 1 tablespoon of dried dill weed because that’s all I had. It turned out great!
If you’re having trouble finding fresh herbs, don’t worry! You can easily substitute dried herbs in most cases. Just remember that dried herbs are more potent than fresh, so you’ll want to use less. Here’s a guide to help you out:
1 tablespoon of dried herbs=3 tablespoons of fresh herbs
1 teaspoon of dried herbs=1 tablespoon of fresh herbs
As you can see, it’s easy to substitute dried herbs when you don’t have access to fresh. Dried parsley is one exception; since it has very little flavor in this recipe, I’m going to omit it entirely. I also omitted the onion salt and celery seed because I couldn’t find them. And I only used 1 tablespoon of dried dill weed because that’s all I had. It turned out great! The sweetness from the carrots was a tasty pairing with the savory chicken broth and herb-infused pasta.
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves (or 2 tsp elephant garlic)
salt (for the pasta water)
1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped
handful of dried parsley, or a couple fresh sprigs if you have them!
Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant (~1 minute). Add salt to boiling water and cook pasta for 1-2 minutes less than recommended by the package directions. Drain and set aside. In the same pot used to cook the pasta, add carrots and saute until soft (~5 minutes). Stir in cooked pasta and dill weed. Season with salt as needed.
2. Fennel fronds Tarragon Substitute
Golden and white fennel bulbs
You’ve seen this guy before, right? He’s a great find; he lives for fresh herbs. Wait until you pick up the rest of the haul though!
I bet that was unexpected… what do we have next? A bulb of these guys:
These are regular old fennel. Since I had golden fennel leftover from last time, I figured I’d get two colors this week too! Look at them glow in there together with all their frilly bits 😀 They don’t look it in this photo, but they’re bigger than a golf ball. It is possible to buy small or baby bulbs though if that’s your preference, so don’t let this put you off.
They taste a little sweet, a little licorice-y, and are great roasted or in salads. You can also braise them with some white wine and butter for a delicious side dish.
The white fennel is good for everything the golden fennel is, but with a slightly different flavor profile. If you have both kinds on hand, try using them in combination– it’s really interesting to taste the two together.
Dried fennel is the workhorse of the bunch. It has a much stronger licorice flavor than either fresh variety, so it’s great in savory dishes or in baked goods.
More reference: grilled green tomatoes
3. Dill (for fresh or dried tarragon) Tarragon Substitute
Tarragon is a French herb that grows quickly and is quite easy to maintain. For tarragon, try growing dill instead! They look similar, taste similar, and are even in the same family. Dill leaves can be used as an alternative for tarragon leaves in many dishes. The flavor of fresh dill is often described as being reminiscent of anise or caraway with lemon overtones while cooking dulls its flavor so it makes a good addition to recipes at the beginning of cooking.
Bay (for chervil)
Chervil is an underused herb — probably because most Americans have never heard of it before! Bay can be grown easily from seed, leaves are smaller than bay leaves but have a similar flavor. When using either, the whole leaf should be removed before serving because they are not meant to be eaten. You can grow bay more easily by splitting the plants when transplanting — this way you will have two plants instead of one!
Mints (for dill weed)
Another underused herb with an incredible scent is Dill Weed. However, it may take some time for dill weed seeds to germinate. To make things easier, try growing mints in their place! It’s safe to experiment with different varieties of mint since most are easy to grow and maintain — just be sure that whatever mint you choose does not flower or set seed. This includes peppermint which a hight intensity
4. Dried oregano or marjoram (for dried tarragon)
Grated Romano 1/2 cup
White wine 1/4 cup
Parsley (chopped) 2 tbsp
Garlic (minced) 1 tbsp
Olive oil 4 tbsp, divided use (for garlic and toast)
Dry chicken breasts with paper towels. Mix together the first five ingredients; rub over both sides of chicken breasts.
Lightly brown both sides of chicken in a pan with half of the olive oil (1 tablespoon each); place the cooked thighs in a baking dish. Pour remaining oil over top and bake at 400F for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm or cold as desired, cutting into thin slices.
This dish is perfect for a summer get together! The chicken can be cooked ahead of time and served cold or at room temperature. And it’s easy to double or triple the recipe if you’re feeding a large crowd. So invite your friends over and enjoy this delicious Italian inspired dish!
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