15 Broccoli Rabe Substitutes for All Your Delicious Recipes

Broccoli Rabe is a popular vegetable in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. Rapini (broccoli rabe) is a prominent component in American-Italian cuisine in the United States, mainly found in sub sandwiches, hoagies, and pasta meals.

However, the veggie may not be something you have on hand in the pantry. If you have a hankering for it, you may try replacing other veggies for the rabe.

Here are some of the 15 veggies that may be used in place of broccoli rabe.

  • Mustard Greens
  • Collard Greens
  • Chicory
  • Endives
  • Arugula
  • Swiss Chard
  • Chinese Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Spinach

Just to prevent any confusion.

Broccoli Rabe is related to broccoli and broccolini, although they are not the same.

Broccoli is a green vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family. Broccoli heads are composed of dark green florets on big green stalks coated in green leaves. Broccoli has an earthy smell and a somewhat bitter taste.

Broccolini is a cross-pollination of Chinese cabbage and broccoli. In comparison to broccoli, this vegetable features long, thin, and smaller florets. It has a gentle, refined, delicate, and sweet flavor comparable to asparagus.

Broccoli rabe has a flavor similar to broccolini, but it is bitter, with a nutty, earthy flavor from the leaves. Its appearance varies as well. Rabe contains more leaves than broccolini, but considerably fewer florets and a more slender stem.

As a result, we’ve produced a list of the greatest broccoli rabe substitutes. We have 15 different veggies mentioned, including cauliflower and broccoli leaves.

Continue reading to find out which veggie is in your kitchen. You could be in for a surprise.

What is Broccoli Rabe?

Broccoli rabe (pronounced rob) is a leafy green cruciferous vegetable with stems and floret buds that is edible.

This vegetable is native to Europe and is derived from the mustard genusbrassica. Rapini, broccoli raab, broccoletti, spring raab, and Ruvo kale are some of its other names.

What’s the Best Overall Substitute for Broccoli Rabe?

This section contains a list of 15 of the greatest broccoli rabe alternatives for different cuisines and recipes. The vegetable may be used in a wide range of recipes, snacks, side dishes, and even sauces.

Mustard Greens

Overall, mustard greens are the greatest broccoli rabe alternative. They belong to the same genus and species and have almost comparable flavors and textures.

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The only difference is that the broccoli rabe has floret buds instead of leaves.

They both have an earthy, bitter, nutty, and peppery flavor, but mustard greens are gentler. In terms of healthful nutrients, both provide the same benefits.

Mustard greens complement every cuisine. You may combine them with spaghetti to produce healthy vegan pasta, mix them with soup, use them as a salad item, or add them to any sandwich.

What Are the Best Substitutes for Broccoli Rabe as Side Dish?

Broccoli rabe may be roasted or grilled like a kebab, or served with crispy chips. If the vegetable is unavailable, this is the finest replacement.

Collard Greens

Collard greens are a member of the cabbage family. Broccoli is in the same family.

It tastes harsh and earthy, similar to broccoli rabe, but it softens when cooked. Collard green is high in magnesium and has similar health advantages as rabe.

It is leafy, like rabe, but has a strong stem. The stem is normally removed, but if you wish to include it, chop it off and blanch it to soften it.

It’s great as a sautéed side dish for meat or mixed in with other salad greens.


Chicory has large leaves, similar to broccoli rabe. It tastes somewhat bitter, comparable to rabe. The taste contains distinct tones and a hint of spiciness, which are diminished after cooking.

Chicory tastes great grilled or as a kebab. However, it may also be used as a salad element. Chicory is a fantastic side dish regardless of your choice.

What Are the Best Substitutes for Broccoli Rabe in Salads?

Salad is always served as part of a meal, whether for lunch or supper. For those on a diet, it serves as both an appetizer and a complete meal. Salad is an excellent appetizer for any occasion. Take a look at these broccoli rabe salad replacements.


Endives resemble chicory in appearance. Fiber is abundant in green vegetables. It has the same medicinal properties as rabe.

Endive has a crisp, bitter flavor comparable to rabe, making it an excellent salad replacement. The harshness is decreased and the taste becomes nutty and sweet after cooking.


Although arugula looks quite different from broccoli rabe, its sharp, bitter taste makes it a decent substitute.

This is the leafy green to use in lieu of rabe in any salad.

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is a member of the beet family. The green leaves of chard are very nutritious. It includes Vitamins A and K and is minimal in calories.

It has a mellow, earthy flavor that is sweet and somewhat bitter. Once cooked, the bitter flavor is diminished. Typically, the frim stem is separated and treated separately.

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If you want to keep the comparable flavor to rabe, serve it raw as a salad. Its crisp, green, crinkly leaves make it a wonderful salad element.

What Are the Best Substitutes for Broccoli Rabe in Main Dishes?

Your main course is the star of the show. Typically, it is beef, poultry, or fish. To balance the meal, vegetables are often included. What should you do if rabe is not available?Attempt any of the following:


Broccolini looks similar to rabe but has a sweeter and milder flavor. Broccolini floret buds are also larger and less leafy than rabe floret buds.

Broccolini takes longer to cook than rabe, so adjust the cooking time accordingly. It tastes best when cooked or sautéed. Please keep in mind that broccolini is a hybrid vegetable, so if you prefer organic and natural foods, this may not be a good option.

Chinese Broccoli

Free Stock photos by Vecteezy

Chinese broccoli is another vegetable that is comparable to rabe. This is not unexpected given that they are descended from the same genes.They share leaves, floret buds, stalks, and a bitter flavor and taste.

The difference is that the stem of Chinese broccoli is chunkier and thicker. Chinese broccoli has a lot of fiber and beta-carotene.It’s excellent steamed or sautéed.

Broccoli Leaves

Broccoli leaves are one of the most underappreciated veggies. They are not as well-known as broccoli florets, yet they contain the same, if not more, nutrients.

Broccoli leaves are higher in antioxidants and higher in fiber, calcium, and vitamins E and K.

They have a moderately bitter and earthy flavor that is comparable to broccoli. The leaves resemble kale and collards.

It is best served steamed or sautéed with other veggies.

[Related Article: 9 Best Celery Substitutes for Soup or Cooking]

What Are the Best Substitutes for Broccoli Rabe Pesto / Sauce?

Broccoli rabe, like basil, may be used as a pesto or sauce component, however if it is not available, substitute the following vegetables:


Photo by Adolfo Flix on Unsplash

Kale has the same bitter flavor as broccoli rabe and may simply be substituted for any rabe recipe meal.

When making broccoli rabe pasta or salad, kale is the ideal substitute. However, if you’re creating pesto, this leafy green is a great replacement.


Spinach is one of the pesto alternatives for basil and a perfect substitution if you want your pesto to taste like broccoli rabe.

Spinach tastes bitter and nutty, akin to broccoli rabe.

What Are the Best Substitutes for Broccoli Rabe in Pasta/Pizza/Panini?

Broccoli rabe is a popular vegetable in Italian cuisine, so it’s not unexpected that it appears in pasta dishes, pizza, and Panini.

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Turnip Greens

Turnip greens have a comparable earthy root flavor to rabe and a spicy flavor to mustard green.

And why not?

Turnip greens are related to rabe and mustard greens. Turnip greens resemble broccoli rabe in appearance, but they are just as nutritious and widely accessible.

Turnip greens may be used as a pizza topping, an element in a pasta dish, or a filler for a Panini.

Dandelion Greens

Dandelion greens, like rabe, are leafy, but the younger greens are best. The bigger leaves and shorter stems are comparable to those of rabe.

Dandelion greens are milder and drier than broccoli rabe.

While dandelion greens may be used in salads, they are best served cooked and wilted.

What Are the Best Substitutes for Broccoli Rabe in Sandwiches?

Broccoli rabe complements burgers and other sandwiches nicely.


Escarole’s green, curled leaves have a harsh flavor, although they may be eaten cooked or uncooked.

Because of their milder flavor and suppleness, the inner leaves of escarole are best utilized in sandwiches or salads.

The outer leaves are often used in soups, stews, and pasta dishes.

Cauliflower Greens

Cauliflower greens are another underappreciated veggie. The lush greens that act as a substrate for cauliflower florets are often overlooked and abandoned.

The leaves have a bitter flavor similar to kale, however the bitterness is mitigated after seasoned and cooked. The leaves may be either raw or cooked.

To create a nice sandwich, combine with pig, chicken, beef, and dill.

Why Do You Need a Substitute for Broccoli Rabe?

Broccoli rabe is a rare vegetable. Rabe is not a vegetable that is often found in a pantry. So, if your recipe asks for it, the best thing to do is locate a veggie equivalent.


Broccoli rabe is not always accessible. It performs best in cool temperatures, such as early spring, autumn, and early winter.

Because they are only available in a few stores, you may purchase them in transparent plastic at the crisper. Otherwise, you’ll have to look for them at farmers markets, specialized retailers, and agricultural co-ops.


Broccoli rabe is a costly vegetable. It is not a vegetable that you can eat on a regular basis unless you have a large budget.

Taste and Texture

Broccoli rabe’s harsh flavor and prickly texture are not for everyone. Some folks prefer a softer flavor and taste.

Broccoli rabe is a fantastic addition to any dish, but overuse of the vegetable would become monotonous. If you’re a daring eater, consider some of these alternatives.


What can I use instead of broccoli rabe?

Substitutes for Broccoli Rabe
Greens Collards: Collard greens are a kind of green leafy vegetable that is popular in the South.
Turnip greens are the top portion of the turnip root and are a good replacement.
Mustard Greens: These spicy greens have a leaf that looks a lot like broccoli rabe.

What takes the bitterness out of broccoli rabe?

Blanching it beforehand will help to extract some of the bitter taste. A few minute in boiling water removes the bitterness and kickstarts the cooking process.

What’s the difference between rapini and broccoli rabe?

There is no distinction between broccoli rabe and rapini; they are just different names for the same vegetable. However, it is known by more than two names, including broccoletti, spring rabe, Italian mustard, and Italian turnip.

What is healthier broccoli or broccoli rabe?

Broccoli and broccoli rabe are nutritionally equivalent. They both have about the same amount of protein and fiber per serving, but broccoli has twice as much carbohydrates as broccoli rabe, with 11 grams of carbs in 1 cup (160 grams) of broccoli (27).

Why is broccoli rabe so expensive?

It is gathered by breaking, rather than cutting, the stalks, which are then wrapped and stored in the field. When people question D’Arrigo why the vegetable is so pricey (usually approximately $2.50 per bunch), she points out the work needed. “With broccoli, you have two to three cuts per bunch,” the gardener explains.

What is the difference between broccoli rabe and regular broccoli?

The florets of broccoli rabe are significantly smaller than those of broccoli, the stems are more slender, and the leaves are more abundant. Unlike broccoli, broccoli rabe (Brassica rapa ruvo) is eaten in its whole; its stalks do not need to be peeled since they are not as thick and tough as broccoli’s.

What can be added to neutralize bitterness in foods?

Fats and sweetness may help smooth out a dish’s harsh edges, just as they can make coffee taste less bitter. To counteract the bitterness, add a teaspoon of sugar, milk, or butter.

Do you eat the stems of broccoli rabe?

Broccoli rabe may be cooked and consumed whole. sprouts from the leaves. Cut them into bite-size 2-inch chunks. It takes longer to cook the stems.

What kills bitterness in food?

Sweetness: Whether it comes from sugar, honey, fruits, or anything else, sweetness will balance off harsh and acidic flavors. It may also be used to cool down a very spicy dish.

What is broccoli rabe called in England?

This vegetable is known as Rapini or Turnip Tops in the United Kingdom, Broccoli Rabe or Raab in the United States, and Cime de Rapa in Italy, where it is said to have originated.

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