10 Amazing Broccoli Rabe Substitutes

by Raksha Hegde last updated -

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If you are looking for good broccoli rabe substitutes, you may be surprised to find what alternatives are here! It’s easier than you think to substitute this long, slender vegetable with something less exotic from your pantry.

While broccoli rabe (rapini) has become popular in the US and is usually available in supermarkets as well as at the local farmer’s markets, there may be times when you may not find it. These leafy greens with tiny broccoli florets are frequently used in Italian dishes like pasta. They also make for a delicious side dish when they are sautéed with garlic and olive oil.

Top Broccoli Rabe Substitutes

The top broccoli rabe substitutes are spinach, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, escarole, endive, chicory, and Chinese broccoli. Other options include dandelion greens, collard greens, and broccolini.

Mustard Greens

You can substitute broccoli rabe with mustard greens when you are cooking pasta or while sautéing it with other vegetables like potatoes and beans. While broccoli rabe shares its name with broccoli, it is genetically much closer to mustard and turnip greens and has a similar earthy, bitter taste.

Turnip Greens

Turnip greens have a signature spicy flavor which makes it a good substitute for rabe.

Collard Greens

These hearty greens can be a good substitute for rabe in salads, in pasta with meat, or sautéed side dishes.

A bunch of broccoli rabe oa wooden table

Broccoli rabe is a superfood packed with vitamins and nutrients to fuel your meal. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Chinese Broccoli

Chinese broccoli, with its large leaves, thick stalks, and tiny florets, makes for a good substitute as it is delicious when steamed or sautéed.

Endives

Use endives as a substitute in salads as they have a crunchy texture and a bitter taste. However, remember that they become slightly sweet on cooking.

Dandelion Greens

You can also substitute broccoli rabe with dandelion greens. Use the younger dandelion greens with shorter stems as the larger leaves are fibrous and overly bitter.

Kale

If you are making pasta for children who do not enjoy the bitterness of broccoli rabe, kale or spinach make a good substitute.

Kale leaves in a wooden bowl

Fresh kale can be an excellent substitute for broccoli rabe. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Arugula & Broccoli

While this combination may not be the best substitute, it works well in salads because of the texture of broccoli and the spiciness of arugula.

Chicory

Large-leafed chicory is bitter and spicy to taste, which mellows when grilled or sautéed. You can use this as a substitute in salads and as a side dish.

Broccolini

Even though broccoli rabe is not closely related to broccoli, the latter does work as a good substitute. Broccolini and broccoli are milder in taste than broccoli rabe and may take a little longer to cook.

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About the Author

Raksha Hegde is the content director at Organic Facts and helps oversee a team of brilliant, dynamic content writers. She completed her MS in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University, US. A former business news journalist and editor, Raksha followed her passion for wellness to become a certified Yoga teacher and a wellness festival curator. She believes that learning is a life-long process; she did a certificate e-course on “Introduction to Food and Health” in 2019 from Stanford University, US. 

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