9 Best Substitutes For Broccoli Rabe

In our kitchen, vegetables are always welcome. If you’re looking for a vegetable that’s both delicious and nutrient-dense, look no further than Broccoli rabe.

Broccoli rabe, or rapini as it is more commonly known, is a popular plant in the United States. It’s widely available in most supermarkets.

When sautéed with olive oil and garlic as a side dish, they are especially delicious. In addition to being easy to prepare, broccoli rabe can be grilled to a crunchy texture on a high heat source.

Does something else work in their place if you don’t have access to them?

Yes! There are a good number of substitutes for broccoli rabe, such as Mustard greens, Malabar Spinach, Collard greens, Chinese broccoli, Escarole, Spinach, Kale, Arugula, and Chicory.

So let us see these substitutes for broccoli rabe one at a time and what to serve with them.


Substitutes for Broccoli Rabe

1. Escarole


When cooking with broccoli rabe, try substituting escarole, a lettuce-like green vegetable. This vegetable tastes great both fresh and cooked.

The leaves are typically prepared for use in cooking because they are too astringent to eat raw. Salads made with the inner leaves are particularly delicious when eaten raw.

Escarole is also a good source of numerous vitamins and minerals. Any recipe calling for broccoli rabe can use this in its place.

2. Mustard Greens

mustard greens

It is possible to substitute mustard greens for broccoli rabe in a recipe. Their flavor and appearance are very similar and can be used in a wide range of dishes.

Broccoli rabe, despite its name, is more closely related to mustard greens than to broccoli itself. Despite their similarity in flavor, they have a distinct bitterness that may enhance your meal’s flavor.

They are less bitter compared to collards or kale. Whether eaten fresh or cooked, eating mustard greens is a rewarding culinary experience.

Mustard greens can be used in place of broccoli rabe because they provide similar health benefits and have a flavor profile that is similar to broccoli rabe.

3. Spinach


Spinach is a leafy green flowering plant that originated in central and western Asia. It is a nutritionally balanced leafy green that can be used in place of broccoli rabe in recipes.

Spinach leaves are usually used in cooking, but they can also be eaten fresh. They have a bitter, nutty taste and tender leaves are adaptable for many recipes.

4. Arugula


Broccoli rabe can easily be substituted with arugula in most recipes. They have a similar flavor to Broccoli rabe. It is often eaten because of its fresh, peppery, spicy flavor.

This peppery green vegetable contains a plethora of beneficial nutrients, including numerous vitamins. Arugula can be used in a variety of dishes, but it’s widely popular as a salad vegetable.

5. Malabar Spinach

malabar spinach

In the event that you don’t have access to broccoli rabe, Malabar spinach, also known as Ceylon spinach, is an excellent substitute. Its dark leafy vegetable adds a nice peppery flavor to your dishes.

Stews and soups can all benefit from this nutritious and flavorful green vegetable. To get an idea of how it tastes, you can compare Malabar spinach to the taste of broccoli rabe, but with a citrusy and spicy kick that will give your cooking an exciting new twist.

6. Chicory


The large fronds of chicory can also be used as a substitute for broccoli rabe.  Their bitter flavor makes them similar to rabe. The leaves of this plant are a delicious and healthy addition to any meal.

It has a wide range of health benefits because of its high antioxidant content.

When raw, the leaves have a strong, slightly spicy flavor that can be easily masked by cooking. In addition to salads, stews, and stir-fries, chicory is a delicious ingredient.

7. Kale


Kale, a member of the cabbage family, is known for its numerous health benefits. This nutrient-dense vegetable is an excellent substitute for broccoli rabe in stir-fries, soups, and stews.

No need to worry about the taste, Kale tastes a lot like broccoli rabe.

Almost any recipe calling for broccoli rabe can use this in its place. Kale is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, all of which are beneficial to the body.

8. Collards greens

collards greens

Collards are a type of green that is related to cabbage. They have large, dark, edible leaves that share a similar flavor profile to broccoli rabe. 

A wide variety of dishes can be paired with them, including pasta, salad, and more. They can also be served as a side dish with meat that has been sautéed, making them a versatile ingredient.

Your dish will taste better because of the bitterness of these ingredients. Collards that have been boiled lose their bitterness and take on a more earthy flavor afterward.

9. Chinese Broccoli

chinese broccoli

Chinese broccoli is a Brassica vegetable, also known as Chinese kalea that comes with a leaf vegetable with a flat, glossy blue-green leaves and florets similar to broccoli rabe.

However,Broccoli rabe’s leaves are much smaller compared to those of Chinese broccoli.

Chinese broccoli can be substituted for broccoli rabe. Steamed or sautéed, it takes on a delicious flavor and complements broccoli rabe’s slightly bitter flavor.

Brassica vegetables like this one are packed with nutrients that can be enjoyed by the consumer, making them a nutritious choice.

Read: 7 Best Substitutes For Horseradish 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all parts of Broccoli rabe edible?

Yes, they are. Using all of the broccoli rabe parts means that there is never any waste. The long, thin stems and buds, as well as the entire plant, can be consumed.

What about substituting broccoli rabe for broccolini?

No! Broccoli rabe cannot be substituted for broccolini. Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli, resulting in a hybrid vegetable. As opposed to broccoli rabe, broccolini has much smaller and fewer leaves.

What is the best way to clean the broccoli rabe?

In order to clean the broccoli rabe’s leaves and stems of dirt and grime, soak them in water for ten minutes before rinsing them under running water. Set it aside to dry after the third rinse.

Read: 9 Best Substitutes For Onions


Besides being delicious, broccoli rabe has a slew of health benefits. However, if you can’t get a green leafy vegetable or you are looking to try a more common vegetable with a bitterness that is more manageable. This guide got you covered.

These substitutes for broccoli rabe all have a similar flavor profile to broccoli rabe and have a wide range of health benefits.

We hope that this list of alternatives will help you and your family find a new nutritious vegetable to enjoy together.