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The 5 Best Substitutes for Broccolini

Wondering what to do with Broccolini? This relative newcomer to the cooking world is quickly becoming a superstar in the kitchen.

But how does one cook it and use it in recipes? Equally importantly, what are the best substitutes for broccolini, just in case it’s not available?

Answering these questions is a great place to start as you explore this delicious vegetable.

What’s Broccolini?

Broccolini is an exciting and versatile vegetable that can easily transform a meal.

It looks like a mix of broccoli and Chinese kale, with its long stem topped with miniature florets.

Broccolini was actually created in the 90s as a hybrid between regular broccoli and kai-lan, a type of Chinese kale.

Its unique taste has hints of peppery spice overtones, while its texture provides firmness to any dish it’s included in.

Its delicate flavor also makes it easy to include in almost any food combo – you can simply toss it with oil and spices before roasting, add it to your favorite stir-fry or even blend it into soup.

There are endless creative possibilities; broccolini is the perfect ingredient for adding an extra vitamin-packed boost to any dinner plate.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Broccolini

If you’re looking for a nutritious vegetable to add to your meal but don’t have access to broccolini or just want something with a different flavor profile, there are plenty of great substitutes out there.

Here’s a look at five of the best options for replacing broccolini in cooking:

1 – Broccoli

Broccoli is a popular vegetable with a unique flavor and texture.

It has a crunchy texture and a slight bitterness that makes it distinct from other vegetables.

If you are looking for a substitution for broccolini, broccoli can provide the same nutty flavor with its green stalks and its small flower heads that are known for their tenderness.

To prepare broccoli, many people recommend lightly steaming or sautéing it in oil with onions and garlic to bring out the natural flavors.

You can also roast or grill it to give it extra flavor.

Broccoli is an easy and versatile vegetable to incorporate into your meal plans.

2 – Chinese Broccoli

Chinese broccoli, or gai lan, is a delicious vegetable dish with a taste and texture you won’t soon forget.

The succulent leaves have a crisp but tender bite when cooked correctly, and the stalks are sweet and juicy.

It is often traditionally used in Asian dishes but can also be substituted for broccolini as it shares some characteristics with its western counterpart.

To make a substitution, simply blanch the Chinese broccoli for 1 to 2 minutes before cooking it as you would with regular broccoli.

3 – Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli Rabe, more commonly known as rapini, is a unique member of the cruciferous vegetable family.

It has a slight bitterness to it, yet it still offers a delicate and savory flavor.

In addition, its thick stalks boast a marvelous crunchy texture when cooked for those looking for a broccoli substitute while shopping; broccoli rabe can easily serve as an alternative.

It cooks at roughly the same rate as broccolini and pairs well with just about anything.

Whether it’s dressed up for salad dishes or served alongside others vegetables in Italian stews – Broccoli Rabe will quickly become an essential kitchen staple within your home.

4 – Asparagus

Asparagus is an aromatic, slightly sweet vegetable that can add a burst of flavor to any dish.

Its texture is firm but tender, and its distinct flavor makes it a favored choice in many kitchens.

When substituting asparagus for broccolini, it can be cooked the same way: try roasting with garlic or caramelizing with balsamic glaze.

The vibrant green stalks can hold their own against other vegetables and will add a unique crunch to any meal.

Asparagus is certainly a worthy ingredient to be featured on your menu.

5 – Kale

Kale has a flavor that is quite unique, boasting traces of both mustard and pepper, as well as a delicate yet crisp texture when eaten raw or cooked.

It’s no wonder why kale has been increasingly used over the years as a healthy substitute for food favorites like broccolini – kale can be cooked in similar ways to broccolini, such as sauteed in oil or butter, boiled or steamed and served with other ingredients to make a delicious dish.

Roasted or baked kale also makes for an excellent snack option; just remember to massage the leaves with oil before baking for maximum crunch.


In conclusion, broccolini is a delicious vegetable that can be used in many dishes.

However, if you don’t have access to it or want something with a different flavor profile, there are several excellent substitutes out there – from broccoli and Chinese broccoli to asparagus and kale.

Experiment with these vegetables to see which one works best for you.

With the right preparation methods, you can easily create a flavorful and nutritious meal with whichever substitute you choose.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Broccolini

The 5 Best Substitutes for Broccolini
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Broccoli
  • Chinese Broccoli
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Asparagus
  • Kale


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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