Broccoli Rabe Substitutions

Most of us grew up with strict parents who always insisted that we eat vegetables. It was always a struggle for me, but now that I am old enough, I know the importance of veggies.

It is funny how tables turn, seeing that I am the one who insists people eat veggies. 

Broccoli rabe is a vegetable that you can eat with your favorite pasta dish or even meat stews. You can eat it with any dish if you are anything like me. 


I love vegetables, but I have to admit I am not a huge fan of broccoli rabe. I don’t like the taste, and so I find myself using other veggies in its place. 

If you don’t like broccoli, you need a change, or you don’t have it at the moment, there are various veggies you can use as an alternative. 

The best broccoli rabe substitutes are kale, spinach, mustard greens, chicory, turnip greens, endives, and collard greens. 

Also, Check Out: Leek Substitutes You Can Use For Tasty Meals.

Broccoli Rabe

Also known as rapini, broccoli rabe is a leafy, slightly bitter vegetable. You can eat its leaves, stem, and bud. Despite being somewhat bitter, it is a well-known delicacy that most people savor. 

It is widespread in the United States seeing you can buy it from any grocery store. Its somewhat bitter taste sets it apart from other vegetables because some people enjoy that bitterness.

It is also effortless to prepare and does not take long to get ready. 

Most people think that broccoli rabe is the same as broccoli, which is a huge misconception. Broccoli rabe is not the same as regular broccoli.


They are not in the same family, seeing broccoli rabe is closer to turnips. You can make a lot of delicacies using broccoli rabe.

You can cook sausages with it, use it for cooking risotto, pair it with roasted pork or beef, and even pair it with pasta. Its bitterness especially goes very well with roasted meat. 

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Broccoli Rabe Substitutes

In this list of substitutes, I will recommend some of the best broccoli rabe substitutes that you can use in its place.

Some of these substitutes have the same characteristics as broccoli rabe, while others give you the same nourishment. Please keep reading to know them. 

1. Kale


Kale is a common vegetable, and I am sure you have used it in your cooking. It is a green leafy vegetable that is rich in fiber and nutrients. It has antioxidants and has vitamins c and k.

This vegetable is a suitable alternative for broccoli rabe because it shares various vital nutrients. It is also widely available, seeing you can buy kale almost anywhere. It is very cheap thus you can easily afford it. 

If you are looking to substitute broccoli rabe with a green vegetable, kale is the perfect alternative. It will give your dish the desired greens and not alter its taste.

Because kale is not as bitter as broccoli rabe, you can use some spices to achieve the same level of bitterness in your food.

2. Spinach


Spinach is another excellent substitute for broccoli rabe. It is also green and leafy, it is a perfect alternative, especially if you are interested in a green vegetable. Like broccoli rabe, you can eat the leaves and stems of spinach. 

This vegetable is a suitable replacement for broccoli rabe as it is widely available. It is possible you even have some in your kitchen already. So, if you are trying a recipe that requires you to use broccoli rabe and you have none, you can grab some spinach and use them instead. 

If you are keen, maybe you have noted that spinach tends to have a bitter taste at the end. This slight bitterness makes it a perfect alternative for broccoli rabe.

Spinach is still a suitable replacement if you are replacing broccoli rabe because you don’t like its bitterness. Its bitterness is very slight, and you may not note it at times. 

3. Mustard Greens


Have you eaten mustard greens in the past? If you haven’t, this is your cue to try them, especially if you are a fan of broccoli rabe.

If you have eaten mustard greens, you know they are bitter. Their bitterness is the main characteristic that makes them perfect as a broccoli rabe substitute. 

Other than that, mustard greens are leafy vegetables and green, as the name suggests. These greens are the closest thing to broccoli rabe that you will find. So, if you are looking for a substitute that is almost the same as broccoli rabe, mustard greens are perfect. 

Mustard greens share a lot with broccoli rabe. Other than the taste, these two types of vegetables have a lot of nutrients. They are rich in fiber have multiple vitamins, antioxidants, and a tonne of minerals. You can often substitute them for each other. 

Mustard greens are locally available, and you can buy them in most grocery stores. 

4. Chicory


Chicory is another excellent broccoli rabe substitute, especially after something bitter. It is leafy and very sore.

Chicory is available mainly during the fall season. This does not mean that you cannot find it during the other seasons. It means that it will be less in the market during the different seasons. 

This leafy vegetable is of the lettuce family; thus, it is perfect for making salads. It pairs perfectly with nuts and cheese due to its bitter taste. 

Other than that, you can use chicory for cooking some dishes. You can use it as a side dish to roasted meat, and it is perfect for preparing some stews. 

Due to its seasonality, chicory can be expensive during the off-seasons. It is, however, an excellent alternative to broccoli rabe mainly due to their similarities in taste. 

5. Turnip greens


Turnips and broccoli rabe belong to the same family. Turnips are like broccoli rabe in that it is entirely edible. What I mean by this is you eat the entire plant. In this concept, I will concentrate on the green leafy part of the turnip. 

Turnip greens are the leaves and stems of the turnip. People consume them as vegetables, and they are highly nutritious. 

The taste and nutrient combination make turnip greens a perfect substitute for broccoli rabe other than belonging to the same family.

They are bitter and are rich in vitamins and minerals. You can use them in place of broccoli rabe in any recipe that requires you to use them.

6. Endives


Endives is a leaf vegetable that you can use if you don’t have broccoli rabe. It is not green, but it has a bitter taste when eaten raw. When you cook it, the bitterness kind of melts away, and you are left with a nutty flavor. 

If you are looking to replace broccoli rabe with a bitter vegetable, you can only use endives as a replacement in salads.

Most salads do not require cooking; hence the endives will retain their bitter taste. In my experience with endives, I love using them in salads due to their taste as I would not have to add many spices. 

If you want to replace broccoli rabe due to its bitterness, endives are also perfect when cooked. As I have said, endives lose their bitter taste upon cooking; thus, it will be perfect for you. 

Endives have most of the nutrients that broccoli rabe has, whether raw or cooked. Using endives is like killing two birds with a single stone.

7. Collard Greens


Collard greens are the last substitute of broccoli rabe that I will talk about. These greens are from the cabbage family. They have edible leaves and semi-hard stems that you can not cook.

When eaten raw, collard greens have a bitter taste like broccoli rabe. The bitterness is no longer a characteristic they share with endives when cooked.

When raw, collard greens are perfect for salads. They are ideal as a side dish for roasted pork and meat stews when cooked. 

These greens are rich in vitamins c and k and minerals. They are highly nutritious when eaten either raw or cooked. If you cook them, avoid overcooking them. They will lose essential nutrients. 

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Bottom Line


Broccoli rabe is a type of leafy vegetable that is green. It is very bitter whether raw or cooked.

As we all know, eating vegetables is healthy as they contain all kinds of nutrients. Broccoli rabe is no diffrent. It has a tonne of minerals, fiber, and vitamins. 

The bitterness of broccoli is what sets it apart. You may sometimes find that you don’t have any broccoli rabe or want a different vegetable with the same qualities. What do you use then?

I have discussed the seven best broccoli rabe substitutes that you can use. Whether you are replacing it because you do not like the bitterness or have none, and you want something with the same taste, I have you covered. 

Read through them and try each out to see what you will like. After that, you will know what to use the next time you run out of broccoli rabe, and your recipe requires it. All the best. 

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