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Cooking with Freshness: 5 BEST Arugula Substitutes

Arugula’s got that peppery kick we all crave in our salads and sandwiches.

Sometimes, though, it’s just not on hand or the store’s out. No sweat.

We’ve got you covered with five stellar swaps that keep your dishes exciting.

Ever try spinach for a milder flavor? Or how about kale for a hearty crunch? Each substitute brings its unique twist to the table, making every bite as thrilling as the last.

We’re here to keep your meals fresh, delicious, and, most importantly, simple to pull off.

Ready to jazz up your plates with some easy-to-find alternatives? Let’s dive in and keep our food game strong!

What is Arugula?

what is arugula

Arugula, also known as rocket salad or roquette, is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the brassica family.

It has a peppery, nutty taste and a slightly bitter flavor.

The leaves are dark green and have a ruffled texture.

Arugula is low in calories and high in vitamins A and C.

It is also a good source of calcium and iron.

Arugula can be enjoyed raw in salads or cooked in recipes such as pasta dishes, pizzas, and soups.

It pairs well with other strong flavors such as Parmesan cheese, lemon, and garlic.

When purchasing arugula, look for fresh, crisp leaves with no brown spots.

Avoid wilted or yellowing greens.

Arugula should be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or container.

Used within two to three days for the best flavor.

To prepare arugula, rinse the leaves under cold water and dry them with a paper towel or salad spinner.

Remove any tough stems before using.

Arugula can be eaten raw or cooked.

To enjoy its peppery flavor, add arugula to salads or use it as a garnish on soup or pizza.

It can also be cooked like other greens and used in recipes such as pasta dishes or omelets.

When cooking arugula, be aware that its bitterness will become more pronounced with extended cooking time.

Add arugula towards the end of cooking time for best results.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Arugula

For those who don’t enjoy the peppery taste of arugula, never fear.

There are plenty of other greens that will suit your taste buds just as well.

Here are five of the best substitutes for arugula:

1 – Watercress


Watercress is a leafy green vegetable with a crisp, slightly peppery taste.

It has a delicate texture that is similar to spinach but with a slightly more fibrous texture.

Watercress is often used in salads or as a garnish, but it can also be cooked and served as a side dish.

When cooking watercress, it is important not to overcook it, as this will cause the leaves to become mushy.

For best results, cook watercress for only a few minutes until it is wilted.

Serve immediately with lemon juice and olive oil for a light and refreshing meal.

2 – Endive


Endive is a leafy vegetable with a slightly bitter taste.

It belongs to the chicory family, which includes other bitter greens like radicchio and Belgian endive.

The endive leaves are long and curved, and they grow in a rosette pattern.

Endive is a versatile vegetable that can add flavor and texture to any meal.

When eaten raw, the endive has a crisp texture.

It can be used in salads or cooked and used as a savory side dish.

Endive is also a popular ingredient in soup recipes.

The leaves of endive are often used as edible cups or wrappers for other dishes.

3 – Mixed Greens

mixed greens

Mixed greens are a versatile and flavorful addition to any meal.

They can be enjoyed on their own as a light side dish or used as a base for a more robust salad.

Mixed greens typically include a variety of lettuces, such as romaine, iceberg, and leaf lettuce.

The leaves are usually tender and have a mild flavor.

Some mixed greens contain other leafy greens, such as spinach or kale.

These added ingredients give the mix a slightly more bitter flavor and a slightly tougher texture.

Overall, mixed greens are a refreshing and healthy option that can be enjoyed in many different ways.

4 – Baby Kale

baby kale

Baby kale is a type of leafy green vegetable belonging to the Brassica family, including kale, cabbage, and collard greens.

It has a slightly sweeter flavor than its full-grown counterpart, and its tender leaves are perfect for adding to salads or soup.

Regarding texture, baby kale is somewhere between spinach and lettuce.

Its delicate leaves are easy to chew, making it a great option for those looking for a healthy and nutritious way to add more greens to their diet.

So if you’re looking for a leafy green that is both delicious and easy to eat, baby kale is worth trying.

5 – Radicchio


Radicchio is a bitter leafy vegetable with a crisp texture.

When cooked, radicchio’s leaves turn a deep red color, making it an attractive and flavorful addition to any dish.

It is often used in salads and its flavor pairs well with other strong-tasting ingredients like blue cheese or balsamic vinegar.

Radicchio can also be grilled or roasted, which brings out its natural sweetness.

Whether you are looking for a bit of bitterness or sweetness, radicchio is a versatile vegetable that is sure to please your taste buds.


In conclusion, arugula is a great leafy green vegetable that can be used in various dishes.

It has a slightly peppery flavor that enhances the taste of many foods.

If you cannot find arugula or if it is not in season, several substitutes can be used.

The best substitutes for arugula are radicchio, watercress, endive, baby kale, and mixed greens.

Each of these substitutes has a similar flavor to arugula and can be used in many of the same dishes.

When substituting, remember that some of these greens are more bitter than others.

Adjust the amount used based on your personal preference.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Arugula

Looking for alternatives to arugula? Look no further! We've compiled a list of the 5 best substitutes that will flawlessly complement your dishes in place of arugula.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Watercress
  • Endive
  • Mixed Greens
  • Baby Kale
  • Radicchio


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword substitutes for arugula
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