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Best Arugula Substitute Greens to Try Today!

There are several arugula substitutes that will give the same bold flavor and nutrition to get creative in the kitchen.

Are you looking for an alternative to arugula in your cooking or salads? Finding substitutes can be tricky, especially when you’re dealing with unique and complex flavors.

Arugula, also known as rocket or roquette, is a popular salad green found in many stores and restaurants. It is a dark green leafy vegetable that has a distinctly earthy, peppery flavor.

If you’re searching for a rocket substitute due to dietary restrictions or personal preferences, look no further!

Here are some of the best incredible substitutes for this delicious vegetable that will bring flavor diversity to your meals without sacrificing taste.

Best Arugula Substitute Greens featured image | Girl Meets Food

What is arugula?

Arugula (rocket or roquette) is a leafy green vegetable eaten worldwide. Its somewhat bitter, peppery taste provides robust flavor to salads and other meals.

Like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale, arugula is a member of the Brassicaceae family. It grows quickly in pots and gardens.

Arugula provides fiber, vitamins, and minerals and is low in calories and carbs. It’s a wonderful choice for anyone watching their weight or trying to eat healthier.

Basically, arugula is excellent, whether you’re a fan or new to it.

Best arugula substitutes

Fresh arugula leaves are in a white bowl that is standing on a wooden surface | Girl Meets Food

Arugula’s strong flavor is hard to replicate in salads and pasta. Fortunately, I’ve found some great arugula replacements for your recipes!

  • Spinach or baby spinach

Spinach, like arugula, is nutrient-rich but milder in taste. When eaten raw it provides a very similar tender texture.

Spinach’s high iron content makes it a nutritious food that supports blood health. Therefore including it in your diet is a no-brainer.

Baby spinach with a creamy sauce is a great substitute for arugula in pasta. I prepared it the other day and it turned out delicious!

  • Watercress

Watercress can replace arugula in salads and garnishes. Arugula and watercress share a similar peppery flavor, but watercress is less bitter.

Sauteed watercress with garlic and olive oil is an excellent replacement for arugula. The hint of bitterness it adds to the dish is perfect for my taste.

  • Baby kale

Baby kale tastes similar to arugula but has a milder flavor. It contains several beneficial elements – vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, and iron.

I think baby kale is an excellent choice for salads, smoothies, and pasta bases.

If you like baby kale, check out some other nutritious greens that make an excellent substitute for kale.

  • Mustard greens

Mustard greens have a strong, peppery flavor – often overwhelming on its own, but perfect with other greens.

Mustard greens include vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, and potassium.

  • Radicchio

Like arugula, radicchio is a bitter leafy vegetable. Its vivid crimson leaves also brighten food and provide fiber, vitamins A and K, and antioxidants.

  • Endive leaves

Arugula can be substituted with bitter endive leaves. Salads often employ their crisp texture and high vitamin K and folate content.

  • Frisée

Frisée is a crisp, bitter curly endive. It can replicate the taste of arugula in salads and garnishes. 

One of my favorite ways to enjoy this leafy vegetable was in a salad with oranges and goat cheese. I was blown away by the complexity of its bitter flavors.

These endive substitutes might help you replace frisée if you don’t have it on hand.

  • Mizuna

Mizuna, a spicy leafy green, can substitute for arugula. Asian recipes exploit its delicate texture and several health benefits.

From my experience, it tastes amazing in a salad with quinoa and feta cheese.

  • Dandelion greens

Dandelion greens, which resemble arugula, have a bitter flavor with hints of black pepper. They’re great for salads and some cooked dishes.

I love how dandelion greens taste sautéed with parmesan cheese and garlic. I was quite delighted the first time I used them in place of arugula.

  • Romaine lettuce

Romaine lettuce isn’t a direct replacement for arugula but it works in many of the same ways. It offers a sweet flavor that can complement many ingredients.

  • Radish sprouts

Radish sprouts have a slightly spicy flavor like arugula but a more tender and crunchy texture. They can replace arugula in recipes featuring fresh greens.

Spinach, watercress, baby kale, and mustard greens each have their unique flavor and nutritional advantages. Don’t be hesitant to explore different greens in dishes. You could find a new favorite!

Arugula substitute FAQs

Arugula salad in a white plate | Girl Meets Food
How many calories are in arugula?

A 100g serving of raw arugula contains only 25 calories.

Do arugula substitutes offer similar nutritional benefits?

Yes, all substitutes for arugula are nutrient-rich and offer a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Does arugula have a bitter taste?

Yes, arugula has a slightly bitter taste in it. The bitterness of arugula comes from glucosinolate which works as a defence mechanism.

How do I store arugula?

To prevent wilting, refrigerate your arugula in perforated plastic bags. You should consume it as soon as possible after buying it, preferably within two days at most.

You can preserve the leaves for longer by blanching them and then freezing them.

Which substitutes have a milder taste than arugula?

Milder in flavor than arugula are spinach, watercress, and baby kale.

Does cooked arugula taste the same as fresh arugula?

Cooked arugula doesn’t taste exactly the same as fresh arugula. It has a more intense flavor.

Can I substitute arugula for spinach?

Yes, you can substitute arugula for spinach. It’ll provide a stronger flavor that will enhance your dish.

You can also check out more spinach alternatives for your recipes.

Can I use mixed greens as substitutes for arugula?

Yes, you can use mixed greens as substitutes for arugula. You can either put together your own salad mix or buy a pre-made mix.

BOTTOM LINE: each of these options, from spinach to dandelion greens, is a delicious and nutritious alternative to arugula. In other words, don’t be scared to test out some different greens in your cooking.

Do you like the flavor of arugula? Don’t hesitate to share your favorite bitter greens in the comments!

If you found arugula alternatives interesting, also check out these substitutes for basil leaves, green onion replacements and daikon radish substitutes.