Have you ever tried lovage? It is a unique herb with a fresh celery-like flavour that is used in a variety of foods for flavour and as an aromatic addition.
If you’re not familiar with lovage, or looking for something to substitute it with, here are five alternatives to consider.
From chives and celery leaves to fennel fronds and tarragon, get ready to experiment and discover new delicious flavours.
When substituting, be aware that the flavours vary based on how much of each herb you use in your recipe so take notes as you go and adjust quantities to your taste preferences.
What is Lovage?
Lovage is an easily recognizable herb, which has a unique flavor.
The long, hollow stems and leaves of the plant look similar to celery, but with a more round shape.
Its distinctive taste adds depth to dishes like soup and salads when used fresh or dried.
It has a robust flavor that is slightly stronger than celery, yet surprisingly sweet.
The texture of the leaves ranges from crisp to chewy.
Delicious when cooked in butter or added to roasted vegetables, lovage can also be blended into sauces and dips in small amounts to add intense fragrance and incredible complexity to your favorite dishes.
Keep in mind that a little goes a long way since its strong flavor can take over a dish quickly.
The 5 BEST Substitutes for Lovage
If you are unable to find fresh lovage or don’t have time to buy it, here are some of the best substitutes that can provide similar flavors:
1 – Celery Leaves
Celery leaves are the best substitute for lovage because of their similar bitter-astringent flavor.
They are often used in place of lovage in soups, stews, and salads to give the dish a bit of bitterness and herbaceous notes.
These leaves usually have a deeper green color than those found on regular celery stalks, but they can have a more delicate taste and texture.
They should be harvested while they are still young and tender in order to get the most flavor out of them.
Additionally, they are also high in vitamin C so adding them to your dishes gives an added nutritional benefit.
Try using celery leaves as a substitute for lovage in stocks, sauces, or any other dish that calls for it.
2 – Lovage Seeds
Lovage seeds are another great option for a lovage substitute.
When it comes to taste and texture, lovage seeds provide a similar flavor profile to that of the leaves and stems of lovage.
Lovage seeds have an earthy nuttiness to them, with underlying hints of aniseed and celery.
The flavor profile is much stronger than the mildly flavored leaves and stems, so you should be careful to not use too many in your recipe.
As a general rule, you should reduce any measurements for lovage seeds by about half compared to what your recipe calls for in terms of fresh or dried leaves.
It’s also important to note that since lovage seeds are so small when compared to the fresh or dried stems and leaves, it can be difficult get an even distribution of the ground seed throughout your dish.
To ensure equal distribution throughout your dish, you can try grinding the seeds in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle before adding it as part of your recipe.
3 – Celeriac
Celeriac, otherwise known as turnip-rooted celery or celery root, is one of the best substitutes for lovage due to its similar flavor profile.
Celeriac has a much milder taste than celery stalk and a slightly nutty flavor.
It is also far less stringy than celery stalks, making it easier to prepare.
Its tender bulbous root is perfect for roasting and its leaves can be used in salads or as a garnish.
One advantage of substituting with celeriac – it’s commonly much more affordable than lovage.
4 – Flat-leaf Parsley
Flat-leaf parsley (also known as Italian parsley) comes in at #4 on the list.
This herb is widely available and has a mild, sweet flavor with a hint of aniseed.
It’s perfect for flavoring dishes that call for Italian herbs, and it works particularly well in potato dishes, soups, dips and sauces.
Unlike lovage, parsley won’t have any effect on the appearance of your dishes.
It’s also lower in essential oils than lovage so be prepared to use more of this herb to get the same flavor intensity.
To keep its freshness longer, store flat-leaf parsley as you would with other herbs – either wrap it in damp paper towels or place it upright in a glass jar filled with an inch of water and then cover it with a plastic bag before storing it in the refrigerator.
5 – Fennel
Fennel is a well-known herb that is similar to Lovage in terms of its taste and aroma.
It also shares the same characteristics as Lovage, such as its aniseed flavor, which makes it a great substitute for recipes calling for Lovage.
Fennel can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads and soups to fish, poultry and vegetable dishes.
In cases where you want to dial down the licorice flavor of Lovage, fennel is the perfect substitute.
However, you should note that while fennel has most of the same characteristics as Lovage, it lacks some of the powerful essential oils found in this herb — so you may need to increase the amount used in your recipe if you are substituting with fennel.
In conclusion, lovage is a unique and flavorful ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes.
To substitute for lovage, celery leaves, Italian parsley, fennel tops, celeriac, and and dill are all excellent options.
Each of these herbs provides its own unique flavor that can help to create delicious dishes without the use of lovage.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect herbal alternative or wishing to add different flavors to your meals, these substitutes provide great alternative.
With these options in mind, you’ll never need to worry about having access to lovage ever again.