From pasta dishes to meat marinades, Italian seasoning is one of the must-have ingredients. It incorporates a complex flavor that will make your food stand out!
A lot of times, however, you might end up not having Italian seasoning. It could be that you run out of it in your pantry or out of stock in the grocery. What should you do? Luckily, you can use an Italian seasoning substitute. Read on and we’ll let you know the best options.
What is Italian Seasoning?
As the name implies, Italian seasoning is a type of seasoning that is most common in Italian dishes. It is a blend of herbs and spices that are commonly added to savory pasta sauces and delicious marinades.
Despite the name, it is not often found in traditional Italian cooking. Even in Italy, it is seldom that you will find this ingredient.
Some of the most common herbs that you will find in an Italian seasoning include oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and basil.
The Best Italian Seasoning Substitutes
If you cannot find Italian seasoning anywhere, here are some of the best substitutes that will allow you to replicate the same great flavor.
1. Herbes de Provence
The name can be intimidating, but do not let such hold you back from using it in your mouthwatering kitchen creations. It is a typical flavoring used in the Provence region in France.
It was in the 1970s when this blend of herbs and spices became popular commercially. Its most common ingredients include oregano, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram. In North America, most of the seasonings sold under this name are inclusive of lavender leaves.
While you can swap it with Italian seasoning, take note of the differences between the two. The most obvious is the region where they are from. In terms of ingredients, Herbes de Provence has lavender, which is responsible for its distinctive flavor.
2. Herbes de la Garrigue
Like the one mentioned above, this is another intimidating ingredient. Most of you will not even know how to pronounce it correctly. Nonetheless, it has distinct and aromatic flavors that will make it a great pick when Italian seasoning is unavailable.
It is almost similar to the more popular Herbes de Provence. It has almost the same ingredients, but it also includes Turkish bay leaf, mint, and fennel. You can expect bolder flavors.
There are many ways to make the most of this ingredient. One of the most common is to use it in grilling meats, especially as a marinade. You can also incorporate it in bread, cakes, and other baked treats. We also love it in pasta sauces.
3. Greek Seasoning
Now, let move to Greece, at least, in terms of the origin of this seasoning. It has more ingredients compared to the other Italian seasoning substitutes. It has more complex flavors, which might not work for every dish.
The ingredients can differ depending on the specific brand of the Greek seasoning that you will be using. However, in most instances, it is inclusive of oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, dill, basil, salt, and black pepper.
The traditional Greek flavors from this mix are possible because of dill, oregano, and basil. Meanwhile, onion powder and garlic powder are great aromatics. On the other hand, salt and pepper will help make your dish more savory.
4. Creole Seasoning
If Italian seasoning is nowhere to be found in your kitchen or in the grocery store, Creole seasoning is another substitute that will work. You can opt to make your mix or you can also buy it commercially.
Some of the main ingredients that you will find in Creole seasoning are onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried thyme, dried basil, cayenne pepper, black pepper, white pepper, salt, and paprika.
You can use Creole seasoning in many ways, just like Italian seasoning. Some of its most popular applications include stews, soups, meats, and even rice. It is a great addition to any dish that requires a flavor boost.
Unless you are a seasoned chef or someone who likes experimenting with different ingredients, it is probably your first time hearing about Za’atar.
Using this culinary herb will add hints of being toasty, nutty, herbal, and tangy in your dish. It blends not only flavors and aromas but also texture. A common ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes, it will be a sensory experience having it in your food.
Some of the main ingredients that you will find in Za’atar include dried thyme, cumin, coriander, toasted sesame seeds, sumac, kosher salt, and chili flakes. You can use it in different dishes, including curries.
6. Dried Basil and Oregano
As you should know by now, dried basil and oregano are two of the main ingredients that you will find in an Italian seasoning. If these two are available in the kitchen, you can mix them and replicate the flavors that you would like to incorporate in your dish.
Dried basil is more concentrated than fresh basil. With such, a little goes a long way, so be careful with your measurements to avoid an overpowering flavor. Meanwhile, the overall taste will depend on the variety. If you want subtle pepper flavors with a minty hint, sweet basil is for you.
Another main ingredient in this DIY mix is oregano. It has a balance of sweet and spicy flavors, resulting in earthy and bold taste. It has aromatic compounds, which will make your dish more mouthwatering.
However, take note that dried basil and oregano are the strongest flavors that contribute to Italian seasoning. Hence, you should adjust the flavors accordingly if you do not want the taste to be too strong.
7. Dried Basil, Oregano, and Thyme
Above, we have already talked about two of the main ingredients in this DIY alternative to Italian seasoning – dried basil and oregano. If you want to make the flavor more complex, then you might want to consider adding thyme as well.
For those who do not know, thyme is a small herb that grows small leaves in thin clusters. It is used for seasoning many dishes. Most of the time, it is incorporated with other herbs, which is why this substitute calls for using it with dried basil and oregano.
When adding thyme, make sure that you understand its flavor, so that you won’t be surprised with how your dish will taste like. It has sharp wood and floral notes, which are comparable to rosemary and lavender. Meanwhile, the concentrated flavor means you must go easy.