Skip to Content

Pea Shoot Substitutes: 5 Top Alternatives for Fresh Salads

Have you ever heard of pea shoots? These thin, tender greens offer an incredibly fresh flavor to any dish and are a popular choice when cooking.

If you plan to cook with pea shoots but don’t have access to them, there are some great alternatives to substitute.

Consider substituting with radish sprouts, spinach, microgreens, or others which can be used in the same way as pea shoots but may offer a slightly different taste.

With some research and experimentation, you’ll be able to find the best substitute for your specific dish that offers the same desirable texture and flavor as pea shoots.

What’s Pea Shoot?

Pea shoots are not a common sight in most grocery stores, but they make a great addition to any kitchen.

Pea shoots are the young branches and leaves of the pea plant.

They give off a light, delightful fragrance and their taste is mild, slightly sweet, and earthy.

In terms of texture, they offer a pleasantly crunchy bite when eaten raw and become silky and succulent when cooked.

They are typically cultivated for a few weeks and then harvested at their peak as soon as possible before development could interfere with the delicate flavor.

Pea shoots can be used in salads, sandwiches, risottos, soups, or just simply flash sautéed with some butter – it’s up to you to decide how best to enjoy these tasty green sprouts.

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.


In conclusion, there are many options available to substitute for pea shoots.

From the robust flavor of radish greens to the unique taste of arugula and sunflower shoots, these ingredients can bring an exciting level of flavor and texture to your meals.

Each one is packed with nutrition and can work in a variety of dishes – from salads to soups to stir-fries and more.

So, if you’re ever looking to liven up an ordinary meal or surprise your taste buds try one of these five best substitutes for pea shoots.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pea Shoots

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


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


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

About The Author

    Skip to Recipe