13 Best Substitutes for Broccoli to Save Your Meal

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Broccoli is one of the most popular, versatile vegetables that is often a household staple.

So, suppose you’re used to cooking with broccoli regularly or need it for a specific recipe.

In that case, it can be frustrating to realize you don’t have any in your kitchen at the last minute.

But not to worry, many delicious greens and other vegetables work well as a substitute for broccoli. 

Incredibly healthy, broccoli is one of the most popular everyday superfoods.

However, this vegetable is more than just a humble tree lookalike!

Broccoli on a cutting board
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Broccoli is packed with vitamins; it’s one of the best sources of vitamins K and C (broccoli contains just as much Vitamin C as an orange!).

Still, it also contains vitamins A, potassium, folate, and phosphorous.

It also contains iron and calcium, so it’s a great ingredient to utilize as part of a balanced diet.

But while broccoli is incredibly versatile, some of us – especially children – are put off by its slightly bitter aftertaste.

So if that’s the case, you’ll be relieved to know that the best broccoli replacements below are also filled with nutritious value.

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13 Best Substitutes for Broccoli

1. Broccolini

Broccolini on a wooden cutting board
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While calabrese is the most common variety of broccoli and the kind most of us are familiar with cooking, you could also try experimenting with another.

Chinese and Romanesco broccoli have a similar taste and texture, so these varieties can be used interchangeably with the standard version. 

Crunchy broccolini, also known as tender-stem broccoli or broccoli, is also an excellent replacement.

It tastes delicious when steamed or grilled, added as a side dish, or fried as part of a vegetable stir fry. 

Broccolini is firmer than broccoli, so while you can use it in almost any dish, it’s best to use it when a crunchy texture is preferable. 

2. Cauliflower

Cauliflower in a white dish
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Cauliflower and broccoli are incredibly similar in shape and texture, which makes them easy swaps for one another.

They also cook in similar ways, though broccoli is less mild and slightly grassier.

In addition, cauliflower is very versatile.

In trendy suburbs, it’s not uncommon to find cauliflower used as a substitute for everything from rice and mash to pizza crusts and ‘chicken’ wings!

Fortunately, you don’t have to be so experimental to use cauliflower as a replacement – it’s equally as effective when roasted, steamed, or added to stews and soups.

3. Green Beans

Green beans
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Green beans are easy to add to most dishes.

They’re simple to cook without too much effort.

Seasonings that work well with broccoli should also work beautifully with green beans.

4. Asparagus

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Asparagus is one of the best substitutes for broccoli and is especially good when steamed or grilled.

Add asparagus to pasta dishes, stir-fries, or a colorful side dish with a dash of lemon.

5. Cabbage

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Cabbage is a great swap when making stir-fries and salads, though it can be fried or roasted into many dishes.

Red cabbage is a fun way to add more color to your meal.

Since it’s slightly healthier than green cabbage, it’s worth trying next time you need a broccoli replacement. 

6. Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts
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Brussels sprouts can be an excellent substitute for broccoli in recipes that call for it to be roasted or tossed up in a wok for a delicious stir fry.

While many people dislike boiled Brussels sprouts, they are surprisingly crispy and delicious when cooked without additional liquids. 

7. Spinach Leaves

Spinach leaves
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Spinach leaves are a great last-minute swap, especially if you want to bulk up your meal with some additional nutrients.

Spinach leaves cook very quickly and tends to shrink down in your recipe.

8. Kale

Kale in a bowl
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Kale is a crunchy and crispy replacement for broccoli that maintains the element of colorful greens in your dish.

It works well in most recipes, especially stir-fries and stews, though inventive chefs could try swapping out roasted broccoli for kale chips. 

9. Bok Choy

Bok choy in a wooden bowl
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Bok Choy is a variety of Chinese white cabbage, so it’s an excellent substitute for most Asian dishes.

In addition, this leafy vegetable is currently growing in popularity due to its health benefits, so it’s more likely to be stocked in your local grocery store than a few years ago.

If not, you should be able to find it in the vegetable aisle of an Asian supermarket. 

The texture of its leaves is thicker and more substantial than some other leafy plants.

Add bok choy raw into salads or cook it into soups and stir-fries as one of the best substitutes for broccoli.

10. Turnip Greens

Turnip greens
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Like many of the best broccoli substitutes in this article, turnip greens are also part of the cruciferous family.

However, the flavor of turnip greens is less mild than other options, so bear that in mind if you’ve not cooked with them before.

Try boiling and cooking turnip leaves in soups and stews to neutralize their fragrant flavor rather than adding them raw into salads or wraps. 

11. Collard Greens

Fresh collard greens used as a broccoli substitute
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Collard greens are a great source of calcium, so like broccoli, it’s an ideal ingredient for anyone who is calcium deficient.

They taste best in stir-fries or stews, as without cooking them, collard greens tend to have a bitter aftertaste that is unpleasant for some.

They also complement many meat dishes, especially those using pork or bacon. 

12. Artichoke

Artichoke used as a broccoli substitute
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Artichokes are already a popular ingredient in Italian dishes, so of course they make it on our list as one of the best broccoli substitutions in pasta dishes or when used as a topping in salads or pizzas. 

However, the texture of artichokes is often crunchier or chewier.

At the same time, the flavor is nutty, sweet, and bitter, so there are better replacements than the bitter taste of broccoli. 

That said, it’s the perfect replacement for broccoli stems, which are also crunchier than florets!

Both can be a delicious addition to rice or noodle dishes or added to soups and broths.

13. Swiss Chard

Swiss chard broccoli substitute
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Swiss chard is an incredibly healthy addition to any meal and considered one of the best substitutes for broccoli.

It tastes bests in salads or when fried, sauteed, or steamed.

If you’re using crunchy stems, give them enough time to cook.

The additional cooking time will also give them a milder flavor. 

Keep in mind that the leafy green leaves are bitter when raw but much milder when cooked, making it more similar to spinach. 

Hey! Want more expert food substitution guides? Check these out!

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