If you’re a fenugreek lover, you might find yourself cooking, only to find that there’s none of the good stuff in your cupboard. To be sure that you can make a tasty meal, I’ve rounded up some of the best substitute for dry fenugreek leaves!
7 best fenugreek substitutes
Here are some of the best substitute for dry fenugreek leaves I think you’ll love!
1. Maple syrup
Maple syrup is probably the best substitute for fenugreek, despite how surprising that might sound. Both of them offer a mixture of bitterness and sweetness, a similar taste profile!
Start off by adding small amounts of maple syrup to the dish that you’re making, and then add more bit by bit. You don’t want to add too much, as that would make the food too sweet. Instead, little by little is the way to go.
2. Mustard seeds
Mustard seeds have quite similar nuttiness to fenugreek, making them a handy substitute that you might have in your cupboards.
The best way to use mustard seeds in this way is to toast yellow mustard seeds before adding them to your dish – this flavor is very similar to fenugreek. Using mustard seeds also means that you don’t have to contend with the sweetness of maple syrup, which is very handy indeed.
3. Curry powder
Most brands of curry powder contain at least a little bit of fenugreek, meaning that if you need to get the flavor across, then curry powder will work well.
It is worth bearing in mind, of course, that curry powder contains other herbs and spices as well as fenugreek. To that end, try to avoid using curry powder in recipes that have a lot of delicate ingredients – the flavor will likely be damaged by intense curry powder.
4. Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds have a pretty strong flavor, and this means that you don’t really need a lot of them to be sure that you’re getting a tasty flavor note in your food. They work well as a replacement for fenugreek because they have a similarly fresh, green taste, which works well.
Fennel will work well in savory dishes thanks to the anise flavor, but it won’t work as well in sweeter dishes or desserts, so bear that in mind before cooking with it.
5. Chinese celery leaves
Chinese celery leaves are very similar to fenugreek in both flavor and appearance. They tend to impart a fairly bitter and nutty flavor to a meal, which really is quite similar to fenugreek.
Chinese celery makes a great replacement for fenugreek in uncooked dishes, such as chutneys or sauces. Generally, use about half the amount of celery leaves as you would fenugreek – that will create a similar flavor.
6. Dijon mustard
Dijon mustard works well as a fenugreek substitute, though not quite as well as some of the other options. The reason that it works is that there’s a range of different herby and spicy flavors in dijon mustard, and that combination is a little like fenugreek.
Overall, though, it is a little stronger than fenugreek. Opt for a teaspoon or less to start with when cooking, and add more if needed.
Kale also looks quite similar to fenugreek, with the leafy plant having some powerful greens that make it especially eye-catching. It does work as a fenugreek substitute, but only if it’s cooked before adding. Otherwise, the bitterness of the kale can be bought to the front of the dish a little too much.
Consider sauteing the kale on its own in a rich fat, such as butter or coconut oil. That will mediate the bitterness a little before you even start to taste it in the main portion of your meal.
What does fenugreek taste like?
Fenugreek is a green herb that looks quite similar to clover – the leaves themselves have a lovely green coloring and burgundy veins. Fresh fenugreek is only really available in the autumn, but you can find the dried stuff year-round.
Fenugreek has an utterly unique taste, being both bitter and sweet. The best thing that I can think of to compare the herb to is maple syrup which has been slightly burned. The bitterness mellows as the herb cooks, leaving you with a tasty herb that matches up well with curbs like cinnamon or cloves.
Where is fenugreek from?
Fenugreek is the same as several leafy herb plants, it didn’t really come from any one place. Instead, it came from all over the world, with a number of different grounds of people realizing that they can use it in their recipes.
The herb is native to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, though it spread through Asia rapidly too. It’s used for both food and medicine, though more commonly for food in the modern day.
What does fenugreek taste like?
The best comparison for fenugreek is cooked, perhaps a little burned, maple syrup. It is quite sweet, and it also has an earthy nuttiness that makes it more complex.
Is fenugreek the same as cumin?
No, fenugreek and cumin aren’t the same. Fenugreek is a herb derived from the leaves of a plant and tastes quite sweet and nutty. Cumin is a spice from the seeds of a plant and is earthy, rich, and spiced.
Who should not take fenugreek?
The primary people that should avoid having fenugreek supplements in their diet are those that take diabetes medication. Fenugreek can lower your blood sugar naturally, making calculations involving insulin more complicated than necessary, and leading to a potentially dangerous situation. So before taking fenugreek, make sure to check with your doctor!
7 Best Substitute For Dry Fenugreek Leaves
- Maple syrup
- Mustard seeds
- Curry powder
- Fennel seeds
- Chinese celery leaves
- Dijon mustard
- Pick one of your favorite substitute for dry fenugreek leaves from the list above
- Prepare your meal as usual and replace dried fenugreek leaves with a substitute
- Bon appetit!
Wrapping it up!
I hope you enjoyed these substitute for dry fenugreek leaves! Fenugreek is probably one of my favorite lesser-known herbs, and it’s one that writing and researching for this article has made me appreciate all the more. The flavor is complex, and I can’t wait to use it in my kitchen soon.