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Delicious Shifts: 5 BEST Substitutes for Broccoli Rabe

Finding the right substitute for broccoli rabe isn’t always a walk in the park.

Sometimes, we’re halfway through prepping dinner when – oops –we realize the broccoli rabe is missing from the fridge.

Not to worry. We’ve got your back with some top-notch swaps that’ll save your dish and maybe even amp up the flavor.

These alternatives aren’t just stand-ins; they bring their own unique flair to the table.

Ever tried swapping in kale or even mustard greens? The results might just surprise you.

And if you’re thinking texture’s gonna be an issue, think again.

We’ve considered that too, ensuring these substitutes blend seamlessly into your recipes.

No one will be the wiser – except for you, armed with these kitchen lifesavers.

Trust us, these swaps are game-changers.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Broccoli Rabe

When it comes to cooking with broccoli rabe, its distinct bitter and slightly nutty flavor is often desired.

However, if you don’t have access to broccoli rabe or simply want to try something different, there are several substitutes available that can provide a similar taste and texture.

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsProper Ratio
Turnip GreensPeppery and slightly bitter taste1:1 substitution
Chard GreensMild and slightly earthy flavor1:1 substitution
BroccoliniSimilar appearance, milder flavor than broccoli rabe1:1 substitution
SpinachTender texture and mild tasteIncrease quantity by 25-50% (as spinach cooks down faster)
Mustard GreensPeppery and slightly bitter taste1:1 substitution

Now let’s dive into each substitute in more detail:

1 – Turnip Greens

turnip greens

One of the most common and popular substitutes for broccoli rabe is turnip greens.

They’re typically sold in bunches with the leaves tightly bound together.

Although they look like collard greens, they taste much sweeter and milder than their cousin.

They are usually cooked with bacon or salt pork.

Furthermore, they may be eaten alone or combined with other greens.

Some people are even known to use them in various salads.

So, if you want to substitute your broccoli rabe, why not try turnip greens?

Proper Ratio: Use turnip greens as a 1:1 substitute for broccoli rabe in your recipes.

2 – Chard Greens

chard greens

Chard has a taste similar to turnip greens, but it’s milder than the former.

The leaves may also be cooked like spinach.

You can just put in less cooking time to keep its color and flavor.

These can be bought in bunches with the leaves tightly bound together.

They are typically sold in most grocery stores, but they may also be available fresh at farmer’s markets.

However, you must ensure that the stalks are still tender before cooking them.

Proper Ratio: Substitute chard greens for broccoli rabe in a 1:1 ratio. Adjust the quantity based on personal preference.

3 – Broccolini


Broccolini is another vegetable that can substitute for broccoli rabe.

It is usually available in most grocery stores in the produce section around 8 – 10 inches tall, with small florets tightly clustered at the top of each stem.

It has a slightly sweet taste and gets its name from broccoli rabe.

You can use it cooked or raw (in salads). Just like broccoli, you should steam, blanch, stir-fry, or boil it for best results.

Depending on the recipe, broccolini may take less time to cook than broccoli rabe.

Proper Ratio: Use broccolini as a 1:1 substitute for broccoli rabe in your recipes.

4 – Spinach


Spinach tastes somewhat sweeter than broccoli rabe, and it may be eaten raw.

Of course, you can saute it with some garlic and onions, together with other ingredients such as meat, seafood, or even cheese.

It may be eaten with pasta to make it more delicious and fragrant.

Spinach is also available in frozen form (either chopped or leafy).

It can be used in most recipes that call for broccoli rabe.

It is a good idea to use fresh spinach if you want to substitute your broccoli rabe because it has a stronger flavor and a better taste than frozen or canned spinach, although the latter two are still tasty.

Proper Ratio: Increase the quantity of spinach by 25-50% compared to the amount of broccoli rabe needed in the recipe, as spinach tends to cook down faster.

5 – Mustard Greens

mustard greens

Last but not least, another substitute for broccoli rabe is mustard greens.

They are usually sold in bunches with tightly bound leaves that tend to be thick and slightly curly.

They may be eaten raw in salads or cooked with other ingredients to make them tastier.

Mustard greens are best when sauteed with garlic or onions to remove their bitter flavor.

The flavor of mustard greens is also similar to that of turnip greens, but it’s considerably stronger.

Hence, it is best to use mustard greens to substitute your broccoli rabe while maintaining its strong taste.

Proper Ratio: Substitute mustard greens for broccoli rabe in a 1:1 ratio. Adjust the quantity based on personal preference.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Broccoli Rabe

Searching for alternatives to broccoli rabe? Your quest ends here! We've compiled a list of the 5 best substitutes that seamlessly stand in for broccoli rabe, ensuring your recipes maintain a delicious and satisfying taste.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 4 Servings


  • Turnip Greens
  • Chard Greens
  • Broccolini
  • Spinach
  • Mustard Greens


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