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Help! I need a sub for Broccoli rabe!

foodieX2 Jan 12, 2013 08:40 AM

I am making this tonight and cannot find broccoli rabe! I have everything else.


Was thinking I could sub kale or chard. What do you think? Would broccolini or regular old broccoli do? I would think they wouldn't have that bitterness you want in this dish.

  1. GaKaye Jan 12, 2013 03:22 PM

    Neither broccolini nor broccoli would give you what broccoli rabe does. Maybe a combination of broccoli and arugula? Just make sure to put the arugula in at the absolute last minute so that it just wilts.

    Of course, I'm probably too late to help you :(

    1 Reply
    1. re: GaKaye
      Bacardi1 Jan 12, 2013 03:27 PM

      Ditto. Neither broccoli or broccolini are acceptable subsitutes for broccoli rabe. Broccolini in particular, since it's even sweeter than regular broccoli. And kale or chard would be even MORE off the mark.

      While you can definitely substitute any of the above in your recipe, it will NOT be the recipe that you'll be creating. Simply "Broccoli (or whatever) with Sausage". Good in its own right - but not the same as the recipe you wanted to try.

    2. splatgirl Jan 12, 2013 09:42 AM

      Big, dirty old skool (not baby boxed or bagged) spinach maybe, in lieu of what ButterYum suggests, which I suspect could also be tricky to find. At least it's got oxalic acid for a little bit of bite like rabe.

      5 Replies
      1. re: splatgirl
        foodieX2 Jan 12, 2013 10:25 AM

        Ah winter in NE! There were no mustard or dandelion greens, no chinese broccoli. There were 3 very small heads of escarole which wouldn't nearly cover the recipe (making a double batch).

        I ended up with broccolini so my relatively inexpensive dinner just turned VERY expensive, LOL.

        1. re: foodieX2
          escondido123 Jan 12, 2013 01:49 PM

          Why didn't you just choose a totally different vegetable that wasn't expensive? That recipe is pretty basic and could have been made with zucchini or any cheap green...or no veg at all.

          1. re: escondido123
            foodieX2 Jan 12, 2013 02:03 PM


            1. re: escondido123
              thimes Jan 12, 2013 02:59 PM

              I was going to say something similar. broccoli rabe and sausage is a pretty "classic" italian combination which is why I would have guessed it was used in the recipe. It does have a distinctive taste but I would have thought you could have substituted anything in its place in this recipe without any real "ill" effect.

              1. re: thimes
                escondido123 Jan 12, 2013 03:09 PM

                Eggplant would have been great, no?

        2. b
          ButterYum Jan 12, 2013 09:02 AM

          Feel free to use whatever you like, but Gourmeth Sleuth suggests substituting mustard greens, chinese broccoli, or dandelion greens.

          1. greygarious Jan 12, 2013 08:54 AM

            Broccolini would be very close, broccoli less so. Chard is not bitter at all. Kale is not as good a choice as mustard greens, escarole, endive, or chicory.

            1. coll Jan 12, 2013 08:44 AM

              I'd probably do escarole myself. And if you want to jazz it up a little, some chopped fennel adds a nice touch.

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