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Gourmet Hacks: 5 Top Substitutes for Pea Shoots

Alright, folks, we’ve all been there. You’re whipping up a dish that calls for pea shoots, and lo and behold, there’s none to be found.

It’s enough to make you want to scrap the whole meal, right? Wrong.

Before you toss in the towel, we’ve got some clutch substitutes that will save the day.

Think baby spinach, watercress, and a few others you might not have considered.

These swaps are more than just stand-ins; they bring their own unique flare to your dishes.

And here’s the best part: they’re easy to find and a breeze to use.

No stress, just a seamless pivot to keep your culinary game on point. Ready to pivot like a pro? Let’s get into it.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pea Shoots

If you’re looking for an alternative to pea shoots, you have several options to choose from.

Here are five of the best substitutes for pea shoots:

1 – Radish Greens

Radish greens have a peppery, spicy bite that really brings life to any dish.

Fresh, these vivid-colored leaves can be eaten raw in salads for a crunchy texture and zing or as spinach would be added to soups or stir-fries.

The flavor of radish greens is distinct yet mild enough to blend with other ingredients in a dish.

For those looking to switch up their garnishing routine, radish greens make an interesting substitution for pea shoots – they look nearly identical yet add an unexpectedly fresh and bold flavor.

Best harvested young or when they’re very small, added in moderation to any plate will give each bite extra vibrancy and spice.

2 – Sunflower Shoots

Sunflower shoots, also known as sunflower microgreens, have become a popular addition to many dishes.

They are the edible sprouts of the sunflower plant that have just begun to produce leaves and measure approximately 1 inch in size.

Sunflower shoots are crunchy with a mild nutty flavor that makes them ideal toppings for salads and sandwiches.

Additionally, they can be served as a salad on their own or added to soups and vegetable dishes.

Similar to pea shoots, sunflower shoots can be used as a substitute for pea shoots in almost any dish but with some differences in taste.

The robust notes from the sunflower will add an earthy flavor, making it perfect for adding complexity when served in dishes such as stir-fries, tacos, or even pizza.

3 – Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that makes for a versatile ingredient in many delicacies.

It has a crunchy texture along with its fluted, lime-green leaves and thick stems.

The taste is slightly spicier than lettuce and has a semi-bitter flavor profile, which can be enjoyed raw or cooked.

Spinach is an excellent substitute for pea shoots as it can bring additional vibrancy and flavor to salads, sandwiches, and other dishes.

The bright leaves hold dressings well and still provide an enjoyable mouthfeel when cooked in soups or casseroles.

Spinach is also known to be a superfood full of essential nutrients.

4 – Watercress

Watercress is an edible leafy green plant that grows in ponds and slow-moving streams around the world.

Many cultures have found culinary and medicinal uses for this nutrient-rich plant – in Europe, Middle Eastern countries, and Australia; watercress is a celebrated part of the diet.

Its unique flavor is slightly peppery with a hint of mustard, making it an interesting addition to salads or sandwiches.

In terms of texture, watercress has crisp leaves, but its stems remain tender.

To substitute for pea shoots, use watercress as a vibrant addition to stir-fries or to top pizzas for an added flavor and ZIP.

Whatever you decide to do with it, watercress is sure to add life and excite taste buds.

5 – Arugula

Arugula, sometimes called rocket salad, is an incredibly popular green salad.

This nutritious vegetable has a unique, memorable flavor that will wake up any dish.

It has a peppery taste and crisp texture that make it the perfect addition to salads or as a garnish for soups and entrees.

To take its flavor up a notch even further, you can use arugula as a substitute for pea shoots.

Arugula’s mild combinations of sweet, sour, and savory making it a perfect ingredient in salads or on sandwiches.

And since it wilts quickly in the heat, roasting or sautéing it is a great way to bring out its spicy flavors.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pea Shoots

When pea shoots are unavailable, turn to our list of the 5 best substitutes to maintain that fresh, green flavor and crunchy texture in your salads, stir-fries, and more.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Radish Greens
  • Sunflower Shoots
  • Spinach
  • Watercress
  • Arugula


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