What are the substitutes for broccoli rabe?

In this brief guide, we will address and answer the query, “What are the substitutes for broccoli rabe?” and answer other related questions like “What are the best substitutes which can be used as an alternative to broccoli rabe?”

What are the substitutes for broccoli rabe?

You can use many other substitutes for broccoli rabe. There are many alternatives that can be used such as spinach, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, escarole, endive, chicory, and Chinese broccoli.


Spinach is a leafy green vegetable. It is a very healthy vegetable. Spinach is filled with many nutrients and high levels of antioxidants. Its leaves are edible, and are usually consumed fresh. It can also be stored using preservation techniques by canning, freezing, or dehydration. When consumed raw, spinach has a mild, slightly sweet taste. Its flavor becomes more acidic and robust when it is cooked.


Just like spinach, Kale too contains fibers, antioxidants, calcium, vitamins C and K, iron, and a wide range of other nutrients and is a good alternative to broccoli rabe. Kale is a cruciferous vegetable. It has a strong and earthy taste. 

Turnip greens

Turnip greens are full of calcium and vitamin K. Unlike broccoli rabe, it has a mild and slightly sweet, peppery flavor. Also has a bit of bitterness to it. Adding salt to it is one of the ways to cut the bitterness in turnip greens.

Mustard greens

Mustard greens are also known as curled mustard, mustard spinach, and Indian mustard, or leaf mustard. It is less bitter as compared to kale or collard greens. Has a more pepper taste similar to the taste of arugula. Tasting the raw leaf makes it easier to distinguish if it is a mustard plant. Mustard greens taste a lot like spinach when consumed fully cooked. But with more body unlike spinach.


Escarole is a leafy vegetable. Its leaves are curly. It is a part of the chicory family. Similar to turnip greens, it has a bitter flavor. It is a lot leafier than kale. It is also commonly known as endive. This is used as a common alternative to broccoli rabe. It can be consumed either raw or cooked.



Endive is an edible Mediterranean plant, the bitter leaves of which may be used in salads. It is also known as the chicory crown. They can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. When consumed raw, endives have a crisp texture and taste bitter. They are added commonly to salads. When cooked, the endive’s sharp flavor softens. This results in a mellow, nutty flavor.


Chicory is a plant. Its seeds, roots, and dried above-ground parts are often used to make medicines. In cooking, chicory leaves are eaten like celery. The roots and leaf buds are boiled and eaten. Chicory is also used as a cooking spice. It adds flavor to different foods and beverages. Many different types of coffee mixes include ground chicory to enhance the richness of the coffee.

Chinese broccoli 

Similar to broccoli, Chinese broccoli is a leaf vegetable. It has thick, flat, glossy blue-green leaves with thick stems and florets. This is supposed to be one of the most nutritious vegetables. It has high levels of calcium contents as compared to any other food. It is also rich in iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Chinese broccoli has a slightly bitter and earthy taste. It is best consumed after a quick steam or sauté, or in a stir-fry.

What is broccoli rabe?

Broccoli rabe is also known as Rapini. It is a green cruciferous vegetable. Its leaves, buds, and stems are all edible. The buds of the broccoli rabe somewhat resemble regular broccoli. But unlike broccoli, the broccoli rabe does not form a large head. It is known for its slightly bitter taste and is particularly associated with Mediterranean cuisines. 

Broccoli rabe is a very healthy vegetable. It offers good amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etcetera.

Broccoli rabe can be eaten either raw or cooked. However, consuming raw broccoli rabe may yield a more bitter taste. Usually, a quick blanch is recommended for a milder flavor. It can also be grilled and sautéed. 

The slender green florets are believed to be the best part of broccoli rabe. It is used as a side dish. When mixed with garlic, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice, the tender bitter greens brighten up.

Other FAQs about Broccoli that you may be interested in.

How long does broccoli last in the fridge?

When is broccoli bad?

Can bearded dragons eat broccoli?


In this brief guide, we have addressed and answered the query, “What are the substitutes for broccoli rabe?” and answered other related questions like “what are the best substitutes which can be used as an alternative to broccoli rabe?”



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.