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Are you about to make a Caprese salad? Don’t have any basil? Then you might be wondering how to substitute for basil in Caprese salad and we will show you how right here!

substitute for basil in Caprese salad


Caprese salad is an Italian salad that is thought to have originated from Capri Italy. This salad is typically made with sliced mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, basil and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and salt.

This salad features the colors of the Italian flag which are green, white and red to pay homage to the flag and is a famous salad in Italy for this purpose…and because of how good it tastes of course.

Basil leaves typically add that sweet, peppery and spicy flavor with notes of mint, anise and clove to a Caprese salad, and it is also there to add that green color to the dish.

But, if you’re out of basil, or you don’t like the stuff, you may be wondering if  there are any other green leafy vegetables or herbs that can take the place of basil in a Caprese salad.
Thankfully, there are quite a few and we will share them here today.

What can I use instead of basil in Caprese salad?

The best alternatives for basil in Caprese salads are green vegetables and herbs like parsley, spinach, arugula, mint and even watercress! Each of these will be discussed in more details below with examples of how to use each substitute to make  this simple salad.

Substitutes for basil in Caprese salad




If you have it, fresh parsley leaves can be used as a good substitute for basil in Caprese salad. Parsley is a fresh green herb with a flavor that is fresh and peppery but, it is green and leafy and will work wonders for this type of salad. Especially if you enjoy parsley more than basil!




Another suitable alternative for basil leaves in a Caprese salad is spinach. Simply replace the basil with spinach leaves so you keep all the beautiful colors of the Italian flag, but add a slightly different type of flavor.


Caprese salad with arugula


If you have arugula available, this edible herb can also be used to replace basil in Caprese salads. Arugula is nice and peppery and will add those flavors to this easy salad without compromising the flavors too much. Obviously, it is not the same thing, but it works well in a pinch.




Another herb you can use to make this type of salad is fresh mint leaves. While it is not very popular, the mint lends a slightly sweet taste and cooling sensation to your Caprese salad that is quite unique and worth trying.


Another less popular leafy green that can be used in place of basil to make  Caprese salads is watercress. Watercress has deep green beautiful leaves and a pungent, peppery, slightly bitter flavor that will be welcome in a salad such as this one.

Recipes with each basil substitute for Caprese salad

Caprese salad is super easy to make and a very adaptable salad. Therefore not having access to basil should never get in the way of making this recipe. With these 5 leafy veggies and leafy herbs, that won’t ever be a problem for you again! 

More basil substitutes for specific recipes

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