Are you searching for enticing alternatives to broccoli? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we unveil a selection of substitutes that can serve as fantastic replacements for broccoli in your favorite recipes.
Whether you’re seeking a change in taste, texture, or exploring new culinary possibilities, these broccoli substitutes have got you covered.
What Is Broccoli?
Broccoli is a green vegetable from the cabbage family. It is commonly known for having a dark green flowering head covered with tiny leaves with a light-green edible stalk underneath, structured like a small tree. Due to this appearance, broccoli is often misleadingly recognized as cauliflower.
However, cauliflower is much bigger with pale white and green colors on both the leaves and stalk. Since broccoli and cauliflower come from the same family, they have quite similar tastes and crunchiness, in case you don’t know what broccoli tastes like.
Broccoli can be eaten cooked or raw depending on the dishes it represents, but the recommended cooking methods are steaming, microwaving, or pan-frying. You can use broccoli in many dishes, from appetizers, like salad, soup, to entrees with chicken, pork, etc. It is a kind of vegetable that goes well with many kinds of proteins.
Not to mention, its popping green color can make the dishes’ color more vibrant and delicious. This green veggie might be small, but it contains a great amount of vitamin C and vitamin K, which can boost your immune system and grow your bones and muscles.
7 Vegetables Used As A Broccoli Substitute
As we have mentioned before, cauliflower is a closely related sibling to broccoli. In other words, cauliflowers are the white version of broccoli.
Not only do they look the same when compared to the shape and texture, but they taste the same as well. However, if you take a close look at the flavor, you will see a slight difference in the flavors of those two as cauliflower tends to be more sweet and subtle, while broccoli is sharper and bitter.
Suppose you want to substitute broccoli with cauliflowers where its green flavor counts; make sure you level up the flavor of cauliflowers a bit. Otherwise, these two can substitute for each other efficiently. Especially for those who hesitate to consume green vegetables but still want to absorb the nutrients from broccoli, eating cauliflowers is a cool replacement method!
Cauliflowers can also last for a long time at room temperature and cold temperature, so if you run out of broccoli, don’t hesitate to use your old cauliflowers to save the show!
2. Leafy Greens
An easy option of veggie that you can bring back from the store immediately to substitute broccoli are leafy greens, like collard greens, for example. These are leafy vegetables with very large leaves and hard stems.
For those characteristics, they are usually cooked with moist heat to reduce their hardness and bitterness. The longer you cook it, the sweeter and milder it will eventually become. However, the bitterness won’t come off entirely, and that’s when collard greens become a wonderful substitute for broccoli when it comes to flavor.
Leafy greens, like collard greens, are diversifiable, and you can alter it in many recipes where you want to substitute broccoli, especially in flavor. The best dishes that collard greens can represent are slow-cooked recipes, and they form the best combo with beans and salad toppings.
3. Green Beans
Green beans might not look the same or taste the same as broccoli, but they contain many healthy, beneficial nutrients similar to broccoli, so they will make a great broccoli substitution in stand-alone dishes. If you intend to use other vegetables to replace broccoli as a vegetable topping or a side dish, green beans can be fun to eat with a huge amount of nutrition.
Other types of green beans can be used as well, as long as they match your dishes, like ranch style beans, for example. However, refrain from using canned green beans if you want to substitute broccoli to beans without losing the nutrients.
Green beans are best served cooked to replace broccoli, but if you want to use raw green beans, that’s fine as long as your creativity keeps you away from troubling food digestion.
Same as broccoli, asparagus is a healthy green veggie with numerous minerals and vitamins like folate, fiber, vitamin B, etc. It can be served boiled, grilled, steamed, or even raw.
Asparagus is also crunchy and has the same texture as broccoli, even though sometimes it is harder and requires a longer time to cook. So, it would help if you noticed the time and temperature while cooking asparagus more attentively compared to cooking broccoli to make sure everything on the plate is not overcooked or undercooked.
Due to the similarities they share, you can use asparagus to replace broccoli in pasta, soup, quiches, where the slight differences cannot count.
5. Baby Spinach Leaves
You may think only vegetables from the broccoli family are replaceable. On the contrary, there are irrelevant veggies that can act as great broccoli alternatives, such as baby spinach leaves.
If you wonder why we can’t merely use spinach, but need baby spinach leaves, it is because spinach’s flavor is different from broccoli. However, baby spinach leaves’ flavor is more comparable to broccoli, so it won’t cause a big change in flavor.
Moreover, you can get your hands on preparing and serving baby spinach leaves in a blink of an eye since it only takes you five minutes to rinse them, then cook it anyway you want for your dish.
The only thing you need to remember about this veggie is that they often shrink when cooked, so make sure to use a larger-than-expected amount of leaves to ensure the quantity on end. Also, baby spinach leaves are a great broccoli substitute in salads or vegetable soups without tomato.
6. Brussels Sprouts
Brussel sprouts are one of the most common vegetables in every supermarket or market. It is the veggie that resembles cabbage but in a smaller shape. Though it may look small, the nutrients it packs in one sprout are phenomenal, from all kinds of vitamins to healthy extracts like Omega 3, making itself a healthy alternative to broccoli.
Brussel sprouts can replace broccoli in any dish due to their versatility. They taste quite similar to broccoli but more intense with a more bitter note. But when you choose to eat brussel sprout raw, the flavor will be very close to broccolis.
And to replace roasted broccoli, roasted Brussel sprouts are an excellent alternative. But for soups or dishes that are of liquid, you should not use Brussel sprouts as a broccoli substitute since water will make the bitterness of Brussel more sulfurous and inedible.
In the cauliflower family, there is a vegetable that looks like broccoli and asparagus. That is kale! Although kale seems to be limited on the market, once you purchase it, you can use it for many cooking purposes, and one of them is replacing broccoli.
Since this veggie is extremely versatile and resembles broccoli in flavor and color, you can use it to substitute broccoli in many dishes, from soup, pasta, to entrees with proteins or as a side dish alone. The outcome with kale compared to broccoli will be so alike that you may not recognize the replacement.
If you are looking for one of the healthiest vegetables related to broccoli, you can count kale as the most potential candidate. It contains numerous vitamins, fibers, antioxidants, and many beneficial nutrients. Kale tastes best in salads, smoothies, and pureed recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Can You Substitute For Chinese Broccoli?
Chinese broccoli is a related sibling from the broccoli family that resembles broccoli most in the bitter and sharp flavor. However, its appearance differs as a short-stack, leafy vegetable that looks like bok choy leaves.
Many vegetables like broccoli can be used as Chinese broccoli substitutes. Depending on what dishes you are making, you can decide on a suitable replacement for Chinese broccoli. The list includes rapini, bok choy, broccolini, and spinach.
Can You Eat Broccoli Every Day?
Broccoli is rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutritious components that can make your body healthy from the inside to the outside. However, if you consume too much broccoli, adding a high amount of green vegetables can be harmful to your body.