How I love my herb garden! I adore that time of year when my herbs are all growing abundantly and are at their most prolific. There is nothing better than picking your own fresh herbs to use in your cooking. My favorite at the moment is dill weed, but if you don’t have any, there are numerous substitutes for dill weed.
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Herbs are truly a gift from nature. These plants, whose aromatic leaves and seeds are used for flavoring and garnishing so many different dishes, are easy to grow yourself.
If you have a garden, it is wonderful to dedicate a small patch to growing herbs. In your own little herb garden, you can plant a variety of herbs to suit your personal taste and preference.
If you stagger the planting, you will have an ongoing supply and might never need to look for substitutes for dill, parsley, fennel, or anything else that grabs your fancy.
But what if you do not have a garden? Do not despair. Herbs will grow quite happily in little pots on your kitchen window sill. Even in the tiniest apartment, you can enjoy the satisfaction of picking that sprig of fresh dill and popping it into your pot.
Fresh dill weed is a popular ingredient in many different types of cuisine. It will add incredible flavor to dishes like soups, seafood, salads, and sauces.
There is no better pickle than one that has been made with fresh dill weed. Later on, I will share my secret Dill Pickle recipe with you. Luckily, these tangy, delectable pickles can also be made with substitutes for dill weed, and I will explain what to do.
What Can You Use Dill Weed For?
Dill weed is a common ingredient in many recipes. It is not only aromatic and tasty but also has numerous health benefits. It is filled with Vitamin C, which is essential for the healthy growth of all body tissues and developing a strong immune system.
Dill weed is rich in antioxidants and is also a valuable source of magnesium, which is an electrolyte that helps to promote a healthy heart and normal muscle development.
In your kitchen, dill weed will add a special flavor to so many dishes. While it is always best to use fresh dill, if it is not available, you can either use dried dill or you can experiment with a few substitutes for dill weed.
Dill is a soft-leafed herb, and both the leaves and seeds can be used in cooking. Like fennel and tarragon, it has undertones of aniseed, giving it a wonderful aroma. It has a hint of lemon, which makes it ideal for adding a unique zing to your fish dishes.
What Are The Best Substitutes For Dill Weed?
Of course, one of the things that are so special about herbs is that every one of them has unique properties. Each individual herb has its own distinctive fragrance and taste. Therefore no substitute for dill weed, or for any other herb, will ever taste exactly the same as the original, but you can still certainly get a very good result if you choose your substitute carefully.
Because dill weed is a soft-leafed herb, you can use a few other soft-leafed herbs as substitutes for dill weed. Let us take a look at some of the options and possibilities.
Chervil As A Substitute For Dill Weed
Chervil may be one of the lesser-known herbs, and might not be as popular as the better-known varieties, but it is a wonderful addition to your herb garden. Like dill weed, chervil is quite delicate and has a mild flavor, comparable to dill weed, tarragon and anise.
Chervil comes from the carrot family, and its leaves look a lot like carrot leaves. It has undertones of licorice flavor because it is very similar to anise. It is often used in French haute cuisine.
Many egg dishes call for dill weed. When making dishes like scrambled eggs, a sprinkle of chervil instead of dill weed works very well. Chervil can also be used as a substitute for dill weed in things like sauces, salads and soups.
Fennel As A Substitute For Dill Weed
Fennel makes an excellent substitute for dill weed because it comes from the same family of herbs. It is also a root vegetable belonging to the carrot group, with leaves resembling carrot leaves.
Fennel is a light herb with a sweetish flavor and a hint of licorice fragrance. When eaten raw, it has a crunchy texture and a mild flavor. But when cooked, the flavor is enhanced and the texture becomes much softer.
As a substitute for dill weed, fennel can be used in soups, stews, sauces and many other dishes. It works well when sauteed, or added to baked or braised dishes.
Fennel leaves are wonderful in salads and can be used as a substitute for dill weed in many salads that call for dill.
There are many vegetable recipes featuring dill. Fennel can usually be used as a substitute in these dishes, without changing the flavor too drastically.
When chopped up finely, fennel leaves look very similar to dill weed, and you will hardly notice the difference when substituting fennel for dill weed as a garnish in salads or soups or sauces.
Basil As A Substitute For Dill Weed
Basil is quite an unusual herb. It is one of my firm favorites because it is so versatile. There are a few species of basil, with some of them being strong and spicy, while others lean towards the sweet side.
Many Italian dishes are made with sweet basil, which gives them their distinctive flavor and mouth-watering aroma. Think Pasta Napoletana. It just would not be the same without sweet basil.
When using basil as a substitute for dill weed, it is better to go for the more pungent, spicy variety. This will give you a flavor that more strongly resembles dill weed.
In my pickles recipe, coming up soon, you can successfully use basil as a substitute for dill weed, and they will taste just as tangy and scrumptious.
Rosemary As A Substitute For Dill Weed
Rosemary is a wonderfully aromatic Mediterranean herb. It features very prominently in both Italian and French cuisine. It has a strong, intense aroma, making it highly suitable in dishes with lamb, chicken and fish.
As a substitute for dill weed, rosemary complements many foods, such as potatoes, salad dressings, meats and stews.
Rosemary is a good substitute for dill weed when paired with mushrooms, peas, beans, spinach, and various grains.
Quick And Easy Tangy Dill Pickles
As promised, here is my secret quick and easy recipe for the best Dill Pickles you will ever eat. And if you don’t have fresh dill weed, you can use one of the substitutes for dill weed, and no-one will ever know. In fact, you can even still call them ‘Dill Pickles’, because they will taste so similar.
- 10-12 pickling cucumbers
- 4 cups of water
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- Large bunch fresh dill weed ( If you can’t get dill weed, I would use a spicy variety of fresh basil )
- 1 head of garlic, skins removed and cloves smashed
- 10-12 peppercorn kernels
There are two different ways to make these pickles. You can either slice the cucumbers into thick slices, or you can pickle them whole, and slice them as you use them.
I have tried both methods, and I prefer to pickle them whole because I like to eat my pickles very thinly sliced. If you slice them too thinly before pickling them, they tend to go soft, and the perfect pickle should be crispy and crunchy.
- Wash the cucumbers well. Prick a few holes in them with a fork, and set aside.
- Combine water, vinegar, salt and sugar in a saucepan.
- Bring to the boil, swirling around and stirring regularly to ensure that the sugar and salt dissolve fully.
- Remove from heat and cool slightly.
- Place cucumbers in a large container with an airtight seal.
- Add dill weed, garlic and peppercorns.
- Pour lukewarm brine liquid over the cucumbers and seal the container.
- Place in the fridge and leave for at least 4-5 days, giving it a bit of a swirl around once or twice a day.
- Your Dill Pickles are now ready to eat.
These pickles can keep in the fridge for weeks and weeks. If you prefer to use pickling jars instead of a plastic food storage container, that will also be fine. I just find it too much of a fuss and love the simplicity of one big container full of pickles.
An optional extra in this recipe is to add a spoonful of dill seeds to the brine. They are not always easy to find. Because they are not readily available, I usually leave them out and I am renowned for my amazing Dill Pickles.
I usually do not even let on to my friends that I sometimes use substitutes for dill weed in this recipe.