Top 6 Chinese Broccoli Substitutes

by Raksha Hegde last updated -

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If you are looking for good Chinese broccoli substitutes, there are a number of alternatives that can work just as well in the kitchen. Chinese broccoli is from the same plant species as broccoli (Brassica oleracea) and has a similar bitter taste. However, in appearance, it is a dark green, leafy vegetable with short thick stalks and tiny broccoli-like flowers.

Also known as Gai lan, Kai-lan, or Chinese kale, Chinese broccoli is a common ingredient in Asian soups and dishes. It has a bitter taste which mellows when cooked and it tastes delicious when stir-fried, steamed, boiled or added in soups. But sometimes, it may not be easily available in the supermarket.

Top Chinese Broccoli Substitutes

The best Chinese broccoli substitutes include broccoli rabe (rapini) and bok choy. The other alternatives are regular broccoli, broccolini, kale, and spinach.

Broccoli Rabe

Also known as rapini, broccoli rabe is a slightly more bitter leafy green, although it shares many of the same physical characteristics and cooking uses as this broccoli.

Chinese broccoli substitutes

Bok Choy

With a more subtle, less bitter flavor, bok choy can be used to replace this specialty broccoli in broth-based soups and salads, and can also be used to prepare stir-fries to provide the same hearty consistency.


Broccoli has a similar bitter taste to Chinese broccoli, and it may be the best substitute in stir-fries.


Broccolini is a natural hybrid of Chinese broccoli and regular broccoli. If you are looking to recreate Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce, this may be the best substitute.


Kale has a similar crunchy texture as Chinese broccoli. However, when cooked, kale has a much stronger flavor than Chinese broccoli. So you may want to add a little less than the amount of Chinese broccoli in soups and stir-fries.

A soup pot of japanese miso soup of tofu, green onions, carrots, and udon noodles on a wooden mat


If you are looking to substitute Chinese broccoli in soups, you can add the same amount of spinach. While it may lack the slightly bitter taste, it can certainly provide a similar texture and nutrient profile. Protection Status
About the Author

As a content writer for Organic Facts, it’s no surprise that Raksha Hegde loves writing and is passionate about wellness. She’s been a television reporter, a news producer, a yoga teacher, and a wellness festival curator. She’s studied journalism at Boston University and now works in her favorite city, Mumbai. When not working, you can find her doing Yoga or Instagramming.

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