Herbes De Provence: Substitutes, Ingredients, Uses, Flavor

French cooking is most admired for the rich blend of flavors that cooks coax out of every dish they prepare. Using the right blend of herbs and spices is what makes French dishes so amazingly delicious.

Herbes de Provence is an all-purpose seasoning that originated in the Provence region of France. Today, it’s the most commonly used seasoning blend in many French dishes also you’ll find it in several cuisines across the world.

This article explores the best herbes de Provence substitute to use in a pinch, and also a little about its ingredients, uses, and flavor profile.

What Is Herbes De Provence?

Herbes de Provence originated in the Provence region in Southern France, and is a mixture of dried, aromatic herbs and spices. This herb blend is mainly used in French cuisines, though the flavors pair well with several Mediterranean cuisines as well.

On record, the term “Herbes de Provence” was first defined by Julia Child in her famous cookbook ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking.’ Child is credited with enlisting the recipe for Poulet Sauté aux Herbes de Provence in her cookbook.  In the 1970s, the French brand Ducros launched the sale of packaged herbes de Provence to customers.

What Is In Herbes De Provence?

The ingredients in herbes de Provence consist of typical summer herbs commonly found and cultivated in the Provence region of France. Traditionally, this herb mixture includes basil, thyme, rosemary, savory, tarragon, marjoram, bay leaf, and oregano. Different variations of this blend may include other optional ingredients like lavender, orange peel, or peppercorns.

What Does Herbes De Provence Taste Like?

There isn’t a single flavor that can represent this herbs’ mixture but a complex flavor contributed by each ingredient. The dominant flavor of herbes de Provence is that of rosemary and thyme. Notably, the distinct feature of herbs used in this mix is their savory flavor and piney aroma.

The dried herbs have concentrated flavors and are more aromatic than the fresh herbs.  Generally, 2 teaspoons of fresh herb mix are equivalent to 1 teaspoon of dried herbes de Provence.

Use it cautiously like a seasoned cook or else it can overpower a dish with strong flavors.

How To Use Herbes De Provence In Cooking?

Herbes de Provence works like magic in traditional French dishes like roast chicken, grilled fish, roast lamb, and roasted vegetables.

Usually, herbes de Provence is whisked into sauces, soups, stews, and salads for extra savory flavoring.

Making your own herbes de Provence allows you to experiment with the ingredients in different ratios for an array of dishes and according to your taste preferences.

In Mediterranean cooking, a mixture of herbes de Provence and olive oil is used to flavor various roasted dishes like chicken, fish, tomatoes, potatoes, and more. This aromatic seasoning is frequently used for flavoring sauces, cheeses, salads, stews, and soups.

What Is A Good Herbes De Provence Substitute?

If you are making a classic Provencal dish, then you ought to have the crucial ingredient herbes de Provence. What to do if you don’t have it? Nothing to worry about!  There are other seasoning blends or herbs to use in place of this Provencal herbs blend. We have listed below the best ingredients to use as a substitution for herbes de Provence.

Make Your Own Herbes de Provence

In place of pre-made herbes de Provence, which you buy from a store, it’s easy to make this herb blend by yourself. Besides, it gives you the freedom to improvise the ratio of ingredients or to add additional ingredients according to the desired taste profile of your recipe.

To make your own herbes de Provence, you’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp dried tarragon
  • 1 tbsp dried summer savory
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf

Put together all these dry herbs and spices in the crushed and minced form in a mixing bowl and blend them till they are well combined. Preserve the mixture in an airtight container and store it in a moderately cool place. The shelf life of herbes de Provence made of well-dried herbs is one to three years but will start to lose their flavor over time.

Herbes de la Garrigue

Herbes de la Garrigue is an herb blend from Southwestern France and is an excellent substitute for Herbs de Provence and Italian seasoning. It contains all the ingredients used in herbes de Provence, but also includes a few additional ingredients.  By the way, additional ingredients like marjoram, mint, rosemary, or sage are often included in many common variants of herbes de Provence.

Herbes de la Garrigue is a good replacement for herbes de Provence because it can be used in almost all dishes that require this seasoning. Use them interchangeably in any dish in equal proportion.

Italian seasoning

Contrary to what the name suggests, Italian seasoning is actually made in America. The name is appropriate because it contains all the common herbs used in Italian cooking.

Italian seasoning is a wonderful alternative to herbes de Provence for they have almost the same ingredients except for a few. Thyme is the dominant flavor in both of them; also oregano and rosemary are focal to them. Other common ingredients in them are basil and sage.

While making a Provencal dish, you can comfortably swap Italian seasoning for herbes de Provence in the same ratio.

Fines Herbes

Fines herbes is another seasoning blend from Southern France with Provencal herbs.

Herbes de Provence includes dry herbs that pack a punch, like rosemary, thyme, and oregano but fines herbes are more subdued with a balance of flavor and aroma. Thyme and marjoram are commonly used in both of them. Fines herbes contain fewer herbs and usually fresh herbs are used in them. Despite some differences, fines herbes is a good herbes de Provence substitute to use in a pinch.

Italian Sausage

Traditional Italian sausage typically contains the same ingredients as in Italian seasoning with the addition of fennel seeds. The ingredients and flavor of this sausage are a close match for herbes de Provence. Note, that some variants of Italian sausage include garlic and crushed red pepper; don’t use them for substituting herbes de Provence. Similarly, you cannot use Italian sausage as a stand-in ingredient for herbes de Provence in dry dishes like grilled meat, fish, and others.

Final Thoughts

Herbes de Provence, a blend of aromatic herbs and spices from Southern France, is essential in French and Mediterranean cuisines. If unavailable, homemade versions or substitutes like Herbes de la Garrigue, Italian seasoning, and Fines Herbes can be used.

Homemade herbes de Provence includes thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon, savory, marjoram, oregano, and bay leaf. Italian sausage, sharing similar flavors but with additional ingredients like fennel seeds, can also be substituted, but not in dry dishes.

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