12 Best Broccoli Rabe Substitutions

Veggies are always welcomed in our cooking. They are healthy, nutritious, and provide a nice taste to your meals, as part or as a side dish.

Broccoli is often used and there are a few varieties. One of them is the broccoli rabe which is also known as rapini. It is popular in the US and is available in most supermarkets. Broccoli rabe is leafy green broccoli florets that are typically used in Italian dishes.

They can be perfect as a side dish, especially if they are sauteed with olive oil and garlic.  Broccoli rabe is very easy to cook and it can also be roasted until it is crisp enough.

The leaves are bitter and the nutty taste makes them special and very nice for eating. However, if you have no reach or simply you want to try something else, is there a way to replace them?

You can substitute Broccoli Rabe with Mustard Greens, Turnip Greens, Collard Greens, Chinese Broccoli, Turnip Greens, Spinach, Endives, Dandelion Greens, Escarole, Kale, Arugula, Chicory, and Broccolini.

Substitutes for Broccoli Rabe

Check the list below and find out more about each veggie and which will be best for your recipe.

1. Mustard greens

Mustard greens

You can easily replace Broccoli Rabe with Mustard Greens. This is especially true if you are making pasta or sauteing with vegetables. Mustard greens belong to the cruciferous family and are described to be peppery.

What is important to note that is they can be eaten both raw and cooked. What makes them similar to broccoli rabe is the earthy, bitter taste. They also share very similar health benefits and can be used in most recipes as a substitute for each other.

2. Turnip greens


If you have no Broccoli Rabe, then Turnip Greens is the next option that we would recommend. The spicy flavored turnip greens are a good replacement for most recipes.

They taste like roots with peppery notes which makes them very tasty and unique. You can use them in most of the recipes and add them based on your recipe.

3. Collard greens

Collard greens

Collard greens are another way to replace broccoli rabe in your cooking. They come from the cabbage family and have a tough stem which is usually removed. These greens are perfect for salads, pasta, they’ll be a good side dish for meat or any other sauteed dish.

Collard greens have a bitter taste which is similar to the broccoli rabe. Once they’re cooked the taste mellows and it has an earthy taste. You can easily find them at local markets. 

4. Chinese broccoli

Chinese broccoli

Broccoli rabe can be replaced by Chinese Broccoli at any time. The large leaves and stalks are quite different from the ones on the rabe, but they can serve as a good substitute in most recipes.

The Chinese broccoli has a slightly bitter taste and since it is very unique it is a good source of vitamins and minerals, which can be beneficial to your health. Use the Chinese broccoli in any recipe that calls for rabe.

5. Spinach

Frying thawed frozen spinach

Another leafy green plant that is very healthy and nutritious and a good substitute for broccoli rabe is spinach. It is a common ingredient in many recipes. You can find it almost anywhere.

The leaves of the spinach are commonly used in cooking and also they can be eaten raw. They have a nutty and bitter taste which makes them similar to broccoli rabe. You can use it as a substitute for most of the recipes that call for broccoli rabe.

6. Endives


Endives can also be used as a way to replace broccoli rabe in your cooking. They can be eaten raw and cooked. When eaten raw but they have a bitter, crisp taste which makes it similar to rabe and it is good to use in salads.

However, once the endives are cooked, the taste mellows, and the taste turns nutty with traces of sweetness. Except for salads, you can also use them in most recipes but that is the best use.

7. Dandelion greens

dandelion greens

Dandelion greens will be best suited to replace broccoli rabe in your cooking. A useful tip for you to know is that you should use younger dandelion greens that have shorter stems and larger leaves. They are similar to the broccoli rabe and better for use.

They have a bitter taste which makes them very similar to rabe. You can also use dandelion greens raw and cooked. They have nutritious values which are good for you. Use in salads or in recipes that call for broccoli rabe. 

8. Escarole


Escarole is a green veggie that resembles lettuce and serves as a good substitute for broccoli rabe. You can eat this veggie both raw and cooked.

The leaves are usually used for cooking since they are bitter to be eaten raw. The inner leaves are typically used for salads and eaten raw. Escarole is also very healthy with many vitamins and minerals. Use it in most recipes that need broccoli rabe. 

9. Kale


Kale belongs to the cabbage family and has many health benefits. This is one of the many replacements for broccoli rabe. The bitterness will be practically the same so no need to worry about the taste.

You can use it in most of the recipes that call for broccoli rabe. But it will be best suited if you are making pasta and you don’t have broccoli rabe at hand. Also, Kale has many nutrients which can be beneficial to your health.

10. Arugula 


Arugula is suitable to replace broccoli rabe in most recipes. Actually, the taste is what makes them similar. Meaning, the tartness, and the bitter flavor are good for most recipes.

Salads are the best way to use them. Arugula has a lot of vitamins and minerals which will provide health benefits. Arugula will keep you hydrated and help you keep your bones strong. As we mentioned you can use it in most recipes, but the best way is to use arugula in salads.

11. Chicory

Another way in which you can substitute broccoli rabe in your cooking is by using chicory. They have large leaves. However, the bitterness makes them similar to rabe.

It has special tones with spiciness in its taste. But it mellows once it is cooked which makes it similar to if you have used broccoli rabe. You can use it as a substitute in most recipes such as salads, grilled, or as a side dish. 

12. Broccolini


A hybrid veggie that can serve as a substitute for broccoli rabe is broccolini. They are not closely related but they can serve as a substitute for each other.

The taste is different since broccolini has a milder taste than broccoli rabe. What makes them so different is the time that it takes for them to cook. Broccolini takes longer to cook. Make sure to cook it enough before use. You can use it in most recipes that call for rabe. 

Related Questions

Are broccolini and broccoli rabe the same thing?

Actually, broccolini is a hybrid vegetable that is a mix between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. Since broccoli rabe is not that large and does not have that many leaves that are not the same thing. 

Is broccoli rabe the same as mustard greens?

No, they are different. Actually, broccoli rabe and mustard greens can be used as a substitute for each other in cooking but they have their differences by which you can distinguish them. 

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