It happens to all of us. We are in the middle of a recipe, to only discover that instead of fresh basil that the recipe calls for, we only have dried basil. What to do? In most cases, like a pizza sauce, you can substitute dried herbs for fresh ones. But you have to reduce the measurement called for! Why is that? Because dried herbs are more concentrated in flavor than fresh ones. If the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon (there are three teaspoons in a tablespoon), you will only add 1 teaspoon. So if you ever find yourself out of fresh rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage or any other fresh herb, you can usually substitute it with 1/3 of the amount called for with the dried version.
When does the dried version not work? Typically when adding the herb to finish the dish. Dried herbs need time to cook and infuse into the dish, such as sauces or soup. Often I will add fresh basil to the pizza after I take it out of the oven or use it as a garnish. You definitely need fresh not dried herbs to garnish any dish. You also need fresh herbs such as basil when making a pesto sauce where the ingredients are pureed, not cooked.
I hope this helps and saves you a quick and unnecessary trip to the store when you find yourself in this predicament. As I always tell my class, “It’s ok…. It’ll be fine!” At least that is true most of the time. And when it’s not… a quick trip to the store isn’t the end of the world. Just crank up those tunes in the car… a little car dancing is good for the soul!