Broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, is a leafy green vegetable with small buds that resemble miniature heads of broccoli. The taste of broccoli rabe is slightly bitter, nutty, and peppery. It is often used in Italian and Chinese cuisine.
They are used in dishes like orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage, sautéed broccoli rabe, and stir-fried beef with broccoli rabe.
If you can’t find broccoli rabe at your local grocery store or if you’re simply looking for something different, we’ve got you covered. So without further ado, here are the best broccoli rabe substitutes.
Table of Contents
- 11 Best Broccoli Rabe Substitutes
- Final Words
11 Best Broccoli Rabe Substitutes
1. Mustard Greens
One of the best substitutes for broccoli rabe is mustard greens. Like broccoli rabe, mustard greens are part of the brassica family, meaning they share a similar flavor profile.
In addition, they are just as nutrient-rich as broccoli rabe, providing a good source of vitamins A, C, and K. When shopping for mustard greens, look for leaves that are deep green in color and free from brown spots.
You can simply substitute mustard greens in any recipe that calls for broccoli rabe. Mustard greens can be eaten cooked or raw, so they’re versatile enough to use in a variety of dishes. You can cook them in a variety of ways – sautee them, steam them, or even eat them raw in a salad.
2. Collard Greens
If you can’t find broccoli rabe, or if you’re looking for a similar but slightly milder flavor, then collard greens are a good option. Collard greens are a type of cabbage that is common in southern cooking. They have large, dark green leaves and a slightly bitter flavor.
When cooking with collard greens, you’ll want to remove the tough stems and cook the leaves until they’re tender. They are perfect substitutes for salads, sautes, and other dishes that call for broccoli rabe.
3. Turnip Greens
Turnip greens are a leafy green vegetable that is related to the turnip root vegetable. If you’re looking for a broccoli rabe substitute that will give your dish a similar flavor without being as intense, turnip greens are a good option.
Spicy and slightly bitter, turnip greens can be used in any recipe that calls for broccoli rabe.
Turnip greens can be enjoyed sauteed, boiled, or baked. Whichever way you choose to cook them, they make a delicious and healthy addition to any meal.
4. Chinese Broccoli
Chinese broccoli, also known as gai lan, is a great option. This leafy green vegetable is similar in taste and texture to broccoli rabe, making it a perfect swap in recipes.
Chinese broccoli has a slightly bitter taste, which some people compare to mustard greens. It’s often used in Asian cuisine and can be found fresh or frozen at most grocery stores.
When cooked, Chinese broccoli turns a deep green color and becomes more tender. It’s delicious when stir-fried, sautéed, or steamed. So if you’re out of broccoli rabe or can’t find it at the store, don’t worry – Chinese broccoli is a great alternative.
If you’re looking for a broccoli rabe substitute, kale is a great option. This leafy green is nutrient-dense and packed with vitamins and minerals. It has a slightly bitter taste that goes well in salads, soups, stir-fries, and even smoothies.
While kale can be eaten raw, it’s often cooked before being added to recipes. It’s also delicious when baked or roasted.
Kale is also a good source of fiber and antioxidants. Another benefit of kale is that it’s low in calories and fat-free. If you’re on a diet or trying to eat healthier, kale is a great choice.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that is related to Swiss chard and beets. It’s one of the most popular greens in the world, and for good reason – it’s packed with nutrients.
Spinach has a milder flavor than broccoli rabe, making it a good choice if you’re looking for a subtler taste. It’s also less bitter than other greens, like kale and collard greens.
Spinach can be enjoyed cooked or raw. It’s often used in salads, soups, sandwiches, smoothies, and even pasta dishes. If you’re looking for a healthy and versatile broccoli rabe substitute, spinach is a good choice.
Broccolini is a hybrid vegetable that is part broccoli and part Chinese kale. It’s also known as baby broccoli, is a type of broccoli that is harvested before it reaches full maturity and has a similar taste and texture to broccoli rabe.
In terms of flavor, broccolini is also less bitter than broccoli rabe, making it a good choice for those who do not like the taste of bitter greens. Texture-wise, broccolini is similar to broccoli rabe in that it has a firmness that breaks down when cooked. This makes it ideal for roasting or sautéeing.
Finally, in terms of nutritional value, broccolini and broccoli rabe are very similar, so you can expect to get all the same benefits from eating either one. Overall, broccolini is a healthy and versatile vegetable that makes a great substitute for broccoli rabe.
Escarole is a type of endive that is often used in salads or as a cooked green. It has a slightly bitter flavor and crisp texture. Unlike other types of endive, escarole has broad, flat leaves. I
When cooked, escarole becomes tender and takes on a sweet flavor. Escarole is a popular ingredient in Italian cuisine, and it is often used in soups or sautéed with garlic and olive oil.
Overall, escarole is a good broccoli rabe substitute that can add a bit of bitterness and nutrition to your meals.
Endives are a type of leafy green vegetable that belongs to the chicory family. There are two main types of endives – Belgian endives and curly endives.
Both types of endives have a slightly bitter taste, making them good substitutes for broccoli rabe. Belgian endives are the milder-tasting of the two, while curly endives have a slightly more bitter flavor.
In terms of texture, endives are similar to broccoli rabe in that they are crispy and crunchy. They can be enjoyed raw or cooked, and are often used in salads and as a garnish. Overall, endives make a good substitute for broccoli rabe in both taste and texture.
Like broccoli rabe, arugula is a member of the brassica family, so it has a similar peppery flavor. It’s also rich in vitamins A and C, as well as iron and calcium.
Plus, arugula is easy to incorporate into all kinds of recipes. It can be eaten raw or cooked, and it can also be used as a garnish or as an ingredient in pesto sauce. Whether you’re looking for a healthy addition to your salad or a flavorful pizza topping, arugula is a great option.
11. Dandelion Greens
Most people think of dandelions as annoying weeds, but did you know that they can actually be a delicious and nutritious addition to your diet?
Dandelion greens are a type of leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Asteraceae family. They have a slightly bitter and astringent taste, and are often used in salads or cooked as a side dish.
Younger dandelion greens tend to be more tender and have a milder flavor, while older dandelion greens are more bitter.
There are many good broccoli rabe substitutes that can be used in a variety of recipes. Whether you’re looking for something to add to your salad or a delicious side dish, any of these options would be a great choice.
What does broccoli rabe taste like?
Broccoli rabe has a slightly bitter, nutty, and peppery flavor. It is often used in Italian and Chinese cuisine.
Is broccoli rabe the same as broccolini?
No, broccoli rabe and broccolini are not the same. Broccoli rabe is a type of broccoli that is harvested before it reaches full maturity and has a similar taste and texture to broccoli rabe. In terms of flavor, broccolini is also less bitter than broccoli rabe, making it a good choice for those who do not like the bitter taste of broccoli rabe.
Is broccoli rabe the same as mustard greens?
No, broccoli rabe is not the same as mustard greens. They are two different types of leafy green vegetables. Broccoli rabe has a slightly bitter, nutty, and peppery taste, while mustard greens have a spicy and tangy flavor.
What part of broccoli rabe do you eat?
The entire broccoli rabe plant is edible. The leaves, stems, and buds can all be eaten.
How do you make broccoli rabe not taste bitter?
There are several ways to make broccoli rabe less bitter. One way is to blanch the broccoli rabe in boiling water for 2-3 minutes before cooking it. This will help to remove some of the bitterness. Another way to reduce the bitterness is to add a sweetener, such as honey, sugar, or agave nectar, to the recipe.
If you can’t find broccoli rabe or don’t like the taste, there are several good substitutes that can be used in its place. Some of the best substitutes for broccoli rabe include mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, kale, and arugula.
Endives and dandelion greens are also good options. With so many choices, you’re sure to find a broccoli rabe substitute that you like.
Hope this article helped you. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below.