What can I use instead of broccoli? Cauliflower is the best substitute for broccoli, offering a similar taste, texture, and nutritional profile. However, cabbage, bok choy, kale, collard greens, swiss chard, brussels sprouts, baby spinach leaves, asparagus, and green beans are all suitable alternatives.
Broccoli is a superfood and a common ingredient in many Keto, military, or vegan diets. However, let’s be honest; not everyone likes the vegetal, slightly bitter taste of broccoli. So, here’s a list of healthy alternatives for recipes that call for broccoli.
The Best Broccoli Substitutes
Cauliflower is our number one substitute for broccoli. When cooked, cauliflower offers a similar taste and texture to broccoli. However, it’s distinctively white instead of green and slightly sweeter.
You can boil, steam, or roast cauliflower. Adding a white sauce or cheese complements this nutritious veggie perfectly.
You can use cauliflower and broccoli interchangeably in recipes. However, avoid using cauliflower as a substitute in recipes that call for raw broccoli.
Cabbage is another broccoli family member and an ideal substitute.
This superfood is available in wide varieties, but the average green or purple cabbage is perfect for replacing broccoli. Cabbage has a different texture but a similar taste to broccoli.
Both green and purple cabbage can be used in almost any recipe featuring broccoli. Add color to your plate by steaming, roasting, or boiling cabbage as a healthy side.
Alternatively, enjoy cabbage as a raw salad or add it to stir-fries, stews, and more.
Remember to use larger quantities of cabbage when replacing broccoli because it tends to shrink when cooked.
Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage)
Consider replacing broccoli with bok choy if you aren’t a fan of regular cabbage.
Bok choy is a white Chinese cabbage growing with exceptional nutritional properties. Despite strikingly different appearances, bok choy and broccoli belong to the same plant family.
You can use raw bok choy in salads, stir-fries, soups, and stews. Alternatively, boil or steam bok choy and enjoy it as a healthy green side dish.
Bok choy may still be trickier to find than regular cabbage. In addition, use more bok choy than broccoli when cooking it as it shrinks.
Kale is a highly versatile ingredient belonging to the same family as broccoli. This powerful superfood is one of the healthiest alternatives for broccoli.
Additionally, it has a similar color and flavor profile to broccoli. Therefore, you can use it in any recipe to replace it.
Kale is delicious in salads, smoothies, and soups. However, you can also sauté or steam kale as a green side dish.
While kale doesn’t quilt as much as spinach or chard, it still reduces considerably.
So, we recommend increasing the amount of kale when replacing broccoli. In addition, kale products are often mixed with other vegetables.
So, opt for fresh, organic kale to reap the full benefits.
Brussels sprouts are highly versatile veggies that resemble tiny cabbages.
Their shape, size, vegetal taste, and nutritional properties make them an ideal broccoli replacement. In addition, brussels sprouts are sure to maintain the flavor and appearance of your meal.
You can use brussels sprouts and broccoli interchangeably in raw or cooked recipes. For example, consider replacing broccoli with brussels sprouts in a salad, soup, pasta, and roasted vegetable dish.
Note that steaming brussels sprouts can enhance their pungent sulfurous flavors that many people despise.
You can use equal amounts of brussels sprouts when substituting broccoli. If you plan to use brussels sprouts in raw broccoli dishes, ensure you shave the sprouts as finely as possible.
There are various colorful stemmed varieties of chard; however, swiss chard features white stems.
Despite its completely different texture and appearance, swiss chard is a nutritious green alternative with a similarly bitter taste when replacing broccoli.
Use swiss chard to replace broccoli in salads or steamed, boiled, pureed, fried, and pickled recipes.
You will want to use around double the amount of swiss chard when replacing it with cooked broccoli recipes, as it shrinks considerably while cooking.
Collard greens, another broccoli family member, are a suitable replacement for broccoli. Like broccoli, collard greens are green, bitter, and one the best plant-based calcium sources.
The best way to use collard greens is in slow-cooked recipes like stews and soups. This will ensure the leaves lose most of their bitterness and tough texture, transforming into a milder, sweeter taste.
Collard greens are especially tasty when cooked with pork, okra, and beans.
While collard greens shrink less than other leafy vegetables, they still reduce after cooking. So, you’ll want to use more significant amounts when replacing broccoli in recipes.
Baby Spinach Leaves
While it’s possible to replace broccoli with regular spinach, they do not taste the same. However, baby spinach leaves taste closer to broccoli, making them a better substitute.
Baby spinach requires zero prep time, making them perfect for busy weekday evenings.
They only need a quick wash, and then they’re ready to go into a salad, stir-fry, soup, stew, pasta, and any other recipe that calls for broccoli.
Use several handfuls of baby spinach when replacing broccoli as the leaves shrink down to next to nothing.
Asparagus is one of the healthiest veggies, rich in over half a dozen essential vitamins and minerals.
You can use asparagus in most recipes that call for broccoli except for “broccoli rice,” which will turn into a green, slimy mess.
Asparagus is delicious raw, steamed, boiled, grilled, or roasted. Consider adding asparagus spears to quiche, salad, pasta, stir-fry, soup, or roast veg if you don’t like eating it alone.
Use an equal amount of asparagus when substituting broccoli in recipes.
Green beans fall short on the nutritional spectrum compared to the other broccoli alternatives.
However, they are rich in fiber and can be used in any recipe that you would reach for broccoli except for “broccoli rice.”
Green beans are most famous as a stand-alone dish, but you can use them to replace broccoli in stir-fry, stew, soup, and roasted veggies.
Green beans are best used to replace broccoli in cooked recipes but if you don’t mind the taste of raw green beans, feel free to add them to a salad.
Green beans do not shrink like most leafy greens. So, you can use equal amounts of beans when replacing broccoli.