Broccoli Rabe Substitutes

Broccoli Rabe Substitutes

Aside from being nutritious, leafy vegetables are also suitable for one’s health. They contain high nutrients and are an excellent choice for people looking to eat healthily.

One of the most widespread leafy greens is broccoli rabe. It is a rare type of green with a unique combination of nutrients and taste. Unfortunately, it won’t be available every time. You might need to test a different kind of broccoli.

Although it’s usually a healthy alternative to broccoli rabe, mustard greens are the best choice for replacing it with other vegetables for taste and health reasons. Compared to broccoli, the flavor and nutrients of mustard greens are identical.

What Is Broccoli Rabe?

A leafy green belongs to the family of vegetables known as broccoli rabe. It has a similar appearance to the regular broccoli but doesn’t have its characteristic large head. Also referred to as rapini, this leafy green is perfect for salads and other dishes.

Aside from being easy to cook, broccoli rabe is also very nutritious. Most experts recommend removing it from its outer shell before cooking it to prevent it from developing rabies. Blanching helps remove the outer layer of the vegetable and prevents it from overcompensating with the other ingredients in your dish.

What’s the Difference Between Broccolini, Broccoli Rabe, and Chinese Broccoli?

A hybrid vegetable known as broccolini is a cross between Chinese broccoli and broccoli known as Asparation. Initially, this vegetable was referred to as Asparation because of its distinctive asparagus flavor. However, in the US, it was marketed as “broccolini.” This vegetable has a long stem and small leaves.

Also known as rapini, broccoli rabe is a type of bitter green similar to a kind of mustard green. This vegetable is present in Italian cuisines. It has a lot of leaves and thin stems, and you can use it in garlic and pasta dishes.

Like other types of broccoli, such as cauliflower and cabbage, Chinese broccoli is a member of the Brassica oleracea family. It has thick stems and large flat leaves, and its flavor is more robust and more similar to that of regular broccoli.

Top Substitutes for Broccoli Rabe

The main reason you should substitute broccoli rabe is that it’s not always available. Also, if you can’t find it around, you might want to try something different. 

A change of ingredients is also beneficial if you’re planning on trying something new. Although it’s costly, it can be very cost-effective to use broccoli rabe in your cooking.


Although you may already know that chicory is a coffee substitute, it can also be an alternative to rapini. Its large leaves provide a variety of nutrients and flavors.

It has high antioxidants and is known to contain various nutrients and minerals. It can also help nourish the body by providing fiber and nutrients.


Arugula is a good substitute for broccoli rabe in most recipes. Its taste is comparative to that of a seasoned vegetable salad. Also, the bitter taste makes it an excellent addition to many recipes.

It is an ideal choice for individuals looking for healthy and nutritious food. It has a lot of nutrients and minerals that can help keep them hydrated and firm. You can also use it in most recipes. However, the best way to use it is in salads.

Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is a type of vegetable that comes from the family of beets. It is nutritious and has high levels of nutrients. It also has low calories and vitamin A. The frim stem is mild, sweet, and slightly bitter. You can prepare it separately.

It is best to serve it raw, as it will retain its similar taste and texture. Its crisp green leaves also make it an excellent salad ingredient.

Mustard Greens

Green vegetables such as mustard greens are great for substituting broccoli rabe. They taste and look similar, and you can also use them for different purposes.

While the name broccoli rabe implies that it’s related to broccoli, this vegetable is more similar to a type of mustard green. Its earthy taste and bitterness could help make your meal more enjoyable.



A mild, bitter, and nutty flavor makes spinach a great alternative to broccoli rabe. You can also use it raw, adding a significant taste to various food items.

Try spinach if you’re looking for a healthy alternative to broccoli rabe. It’s high in fiber and nutrients, and it can also help lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes.


Kale is an excellent alternative to broccoli rabe when replacing it in stir-fries, soup, and stews. It’s also a nutritious and delicious vegetable.

This vegetable is a powerhouse for nutrition, and it’s also filled with vitamin K. You can use it in various ways, such as stir-fries and soup. Although it’s not as bitter as broccoli rabe, it can still taste bitter.

Is Broccoli Rabe the Same or Different as Mustard Greens?

Actually, they are somewhat different, although they can work as a substitute if you are stuck. One of the differences is that Mustard Greens are slightly more “dry” in taste.

Broccolini vs Broccoli Rabe

Ths difference is broccolini being a hybrid of Chinese style broccoli and regular broccoli. So they are different, it became popular in the mid 1990’s.

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