Are you looking for something that will offer a similar taste and texture to the leafy green vegetable as a substitute for arugula? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Not everyone has easy access to arugula at all times, and we have some great options ready for you if it’s currently unavailable in your area. In this article, we’ll look at several alternative greens, much like arugula, with similar flavors and textures.
What Is Arugula?
Arugula, which is also known as rocket, is a leafy green vegetable that is part of the Brassicaceae family. It’s known for its peppery and slightly tart flavor, adding a distinct kick to salads and other dishes.
Its unique taste and nutritional profile make it a popular choice among health-conscious individuals.
What Does Arugula Taste Like?
Arugula is renowned for its distinctive flavor profile that is quite unlike other leafy greens. Its peppery taste is the first thing you notice, giving your palate an intriguing spice that’s both bold and refreshing.
This is then followed by a slightly bitter taste that adds depth to its overall flavor. The combination of these flavors ensures arugula stands out in salads, sandwiches, and other dishes.
Despite its robust taste, arugula can blend well with other ingredients, making it a versatile addition to various culinary creations.
Can You Substitute Arugula In Recipes?
Yes, you can absolutely substitute arugula in recipes. There are many suitable arugula substitutes that can be eaten raw or cooked, offering a range of flavors from mild to slightly sweet.
For instance, baby spinach and frisée can replace arugula in salads, offering a milder flavor with a slightly sweet undertone. Similarly, dandelion greens and watercress make excellent substitutes in Italian wedding soup, stir fries, and corn salad, providing a similar peppery kick.
Whether you’re preparing arugula salads or looking for a flavorful herb to enhance your dishes, these substitutes can provide a delightful variety.
14 Substitutes For Arugula
Here are 14 substitutes for arugula that bring their unique textures and flavors to the table. These alternatives are more than just stand-ins; they bring variety and excitement to your plate, making every meal an opportunity for culinary exploration.
Whether you’re looking for something milder, spicier, bitter, or with a completely unique taste profile, we’ve got you covered.
1. Dandelion Greens
Dandelion greens, often overlooked but packed with nutrients, can serve as an excellent substitute for arugula in a variety of dishes.
Their slightly bitter taste, similar to that of arugula, allows them to seamlessly replace arugula in recipes without drastically altering the flavor profile. Whether you’re whipping up a salad, stir-fry, or a hearty soup, dandelion greens can step in and provide that peppery kick that arugula is known for.
Moreover, their robust texture holds up well when cooked, making them a great choice for dishes that require a bit of crunch. Just like arugula, they can be eaten raw or cooked, offering versatility in culinary applications.
So, the next time you run out of arugula or simply want to try something new, consider reaching for dandelion greens. They’re not just a garden weed, but a flavorful, nutritious green that can stand in for arugula in your favorite recipes.
2. Baby Spinach
Baby spinach, a dark green leafy vegetable with its tender, dark green leaves, is an excellent substitute for arugula. Although it lacks the distinct peppery flavor of arugula, its mild flavor and slightly sweet undertones make it a versatile ingredient in many dishes.
Baby spinach’s mildly earthy taste can provide a refreshing contrast to the spiciness of arugula, making it a suitable replacement in salads, stir-fries, and even soups. Moreover, while its texture isn’t as crunchy as arugula, it still offers a pleasant bite that adds depth to any dish.
Baby spinach’s adaptability doesn’t stop at taste; it can be used both raw and cooked, just like arugula, further cementing its place as a great alternative. Whether you’re out of arugula or simply looking for a milder, sweeter green, baby spinach is a nutritious and delicious choice.
3. Romaine Lettuce
Romaine lettuce, with its signature long, crispy leaves, is a fantastic substitute for arugula in various culinary applications. Its crunchy texture is one of its most appealing features, closely mimicking the bite that arugula brings to dishes.
While it lacks the distinctive peppery flavor of arugula, it offers a slightly bitter yet refreshingly crisp taste that can complement many recipes. This green leafy vegetable is particularly great in salads, where its crunchy texture can hold up well against dressings without wilting.
Furthermore, its mild flavor profile makes it a versatile ingredient, capable of blending smoothly with other flavors in a dish. Whether used in sandwiches, wraps, or even grilled for a smoky touch, romaine lettuce proves to be an effective, crunchy stand-in for arugula.
4. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens, with their bold, peppery flavor and vibrant color, make for an excellent substitute for arugula in various dishes. Their robust taste closely mirrors the peppery bite of arugula, offering a similar kick that can elevate any recipe.
This green leafy vegetable is not only rich in nutrients but also brings a unique texture to the table, adding depth and interest to salads, stir-fries, and more. Just like arugula, mustard greens can be used both raw and cooked, making them a versatile ingredient in your culinary arsenal.
Whether you’re looking to add some punch to a salad or need a hearty green for a soup or stew, mustard greens can step in as a substitute for arugula, contributing their distinctive flavor and texture.
5. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts, with their compact, leafy structure and slightly bitter taste, can be an intriguing substitute for arugula in various dishes. While they don’t mirror the signature peppery flavor of arugula, they offer a unique flavor profile that can add depth to your meals.
Raw Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced or shredded, can be used in salads in place of arugula, providing a delightful crunch and a flavor that pairs well with a variety of dressings.
Cooked Brussels sprouts also work as arugula substitutes, adding a hearty element to stir-fries, pastas, and warm salads. Their versatility extends beyond taste and texture; they are packed with nutrients, making them a healthy alternative to arugula.
6. Baby Kale
Baby kale, with its tender leaves and slightly bitter flavor, serves as an excellent substitute for arugula in a variety of dishes.
Unlike spinach, which has a mild and somewhat sweet flavor, baby kale shares a similar taste profile with arugula, offering a slight bitterness that can add complexity to your recipes.
When replacing arugula, the soft, delicate texture of baby kale leaves can mimic the feel of arugula leaves in salads, sandwiches, and even pastas.
The health benefits of this vegetable are another reason to consider it as an arugula substitute. Rich in vitamins and antioxidants, baby kale can contribute significantly to a healthy diet.
7. Radish Sprouts
Radish sprouts, with their distinct spicy kick and peppery taste, are a remarkable substitute for arugula in various culinary applications. Much like arugula, they deliver a bold flavor that can add depth and interest to your dishes.
These sprouts can be eaten raw, just like arugula, making them an excellent addition to salads, sandwiches, and even sushi rolls. The crunchy texture of radish sprouts provides a pleasant contrast in dishes that typically use the softer arugula leaves.
Additionally, their vibrant green color and unique shape can bring a visual appeal to your plate that’s quite different from arugula. So, whether you’re seeking to replicate the peppery taste of arugula, or simply looking to try a new ingredient with a similar flavor profile, radish sprouts serve as a compelling substitute.
8. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard, with its vibrant stems and earthy flavor, can serve as a delightful substitute for arugula in your culinary creations. Its robust leaves have a texture similar to baby arugula, making it a suitable replacement in dishes where arugula typically plays a starring role.
Swiss chard can be used raw as salad greens, where its slightly sweet and earthy flavor provides a different yet equally appealing taste profile. When cooked, Swiss chard wilts similarly to arugula, making it one of the best substitutes for arugula in warm dishes like pasta or sautés.
In addition to its versatility in the kitchen, Swiss chard also brings a wealth of nutritional benefits, including high levels of vitamins A, K and C. So, whether you’re out of arugula or just looking for a new leafy green to experiment with, Swiss chard is a worthy contender to consider.
Mache, also known as lamb’s lettuce, is a leafy green that can serve as an excellent substitute for arugula due to its mildly nutty flavor and tender texture. It stands among the best substitutes for arugula, especially in dishes where a less peppery taste is desired.
Mache’s mild, nutty flavor makes it a delightful addition to fresh Vietnamese spring rolls, where it can replace arugula without overpowering the other ingredients. This delicate green can also be used in salads, serving as an alternative to the more assertive arugula.
Its soft leaves provide a similar mouthfeel to baby arugula, making it a suitable replacement in any dish that calls for these leaves. Whether you’re looking for a milder alternative to arugula or simply seeking to diversify your range of salad greens, mache offers a unique and tasty option.
10. Beet Greens
Beet greens, the leafy tops of beetroot plants, are an underappreciated gem that can serve as a wonderful substitute for arugula. Their slightly sweet flavor provides a pleasant contrast to the peppery bite of arugula, making them a refreshing alternative in salads and cooked dishes.
The tender yet robust texture of beet greens allows them to hold up well in cooking, similar to arugula, but with a unique taste twist. Their deep green hue also adds a vibrant touch to any dish, enhancing its visual appeal.
When used raw, beet greens can offer a different yet equally satisfying crunch to salads, while their slightly sweet flavor can provide a delightful counterpoint to other, more bitter salad greens.
Broccoli, with its distinct flavor and robust texture, can serve as an unconventional but delightful substitute for arugula.
While it doesn’t share the leafy nature of arugula, its florets when lightly steamed or sautéed, can fill in admirably in salads or cooked dishes. The slightly bitter, earthy flavor profile of broccoli can mimic some of the peppery notes that arugula is known for.
In addition, the crunchiness of broccoli adds a satisfying element to any dish that would typically call for arugula. Overall, while it may not be a traditional choice, broccoli offers a unique and delicious alternative to arugula, adding both variety and nutrition to your meals.
12. Green Cabbage
Green cabbage, with its light green leaves and milder taste, stands out as one of the great substitutes for arugula. Its crunchiness and slightly sweet flavor can provide a refreshing change from the peppery bite of arugula.
The versatility of green cabbage makes it an excellent choice among arugula alternatives, whether used raw in salads or cooked in stir-fries. While it lacks the spiciness of arugula, its subtle flavor can blend well with other ingredients, adding a unique texture to your dishes.
If you’re looking for a bit of color variation, purple cabbage can also be used, offering the same benefits as the green variety but with a vibrant hue that can elevate the visual appeal of your meal.
13. Curly Endive
Curly endive, with its slightly bitter flavor and crisp texture, is a great substitute for arugula. Its frilly leaves add visual interest to salads, and its taste profile pairs wonderfully with rich ingredients like blue cheese.
Much like arugula, curly endive can be eaten raw, allowing its unique flavor to shine through in your dishes. A basic dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and salt can enhance its natural bitterness, creating a balance that mirrors the peppery bite of arugula.
Whether used in salads or added to sandwiches, curly endive offers a delightful twist as an arugula alternative, proving that variety is indeed the spice of life when it comes to leafy greens.
14. Collard Greens
Collard greens, a staple in Southern cuisine, can be an excellent substitute for arugula, especially when you’re looking for something with a robust texture and a slightly peppery flavor.
While they are typically associated with slow-cooked dishes, collard greens can also be enjoyed raw, thinly sliced in salads where their unique flavor can shine.
As a member of the Mixed Greens family, collards bring a heartier texture to the table, making them a versatile arugula substitute that can withstand heat better than many other leafy greens.
Whether chopped into flavorful herbs for a rustic pesto or sliced thin and tossed with a tangy vinaigrette, collard greens offer a unique take on the slightly peppery flavor profile of arugula.
So, What Is The Best Substitute For Arugula?
In conclusion, when you’re in search of a substitute for arugula, there’s a diverse array of greens available to suit your culinary needs. Each of these alternatives offers its own unique flavor, texture, and versatility, allowing you to create delicious and nutritious dishes.
Whether you prefer the peppery kick of dandelion greens, the mild sweetness of baby spinach, or the robust crunch of Brussels sprouts, there’s a substitute that can seamlessly step in for arugula.
These substitutes not only enhance the variety in your meals but also provide an opportunity to explore new tastes and textures.