5 Best Arugula substitutes

Arugula is a pungent, peppery leafy green similar in shape to radish greens and known as rocket. Arugula, also known as Eruca vesicaria, is a cruciferous vegetable, a cousin of broccoli, kale, and cabbage.

Use arugula in salads, sandwiches, and many healthy dishes. 

Arugula is tasty when eaten raw but can also be cooked. The great thing about this leafy vegetable is it’s best eaten either raw or cooked.

To replace arugula, you can use Belgian endive, endive, or escarole, easily found in most produce aisles.

1. Endive

Endive, a member of the chicory family, includes radicchio, escarole, frisée, and curly endive. It can be served raw and has a crisp texture with a sweet, nutty flavor that is mildly bitter. It is also great when served cooked.

Endive has long been popular in Europe, especially as an edible garnish, but it is not as common in North America. Raw endive may be served with vinaigrette or the Thousand Island dressing. It can also be used in salads or as a bed for other ingredients like cold cuts or cheeses. It is also commonly used as a wrap for sandwiches or other foods.

= 1 cup Belgian endive, dandelion greens, escarole, or radicchio (for salads) is an exchange for 1 cup arugula

2. Escarole

Escarole is leafy and sold in bunches that look like a head of lettuce, with short, broad, wavy-edged leaves. The color and texture of the leaves vary with darker green and a bit tougher outer leaves, and interior leaves are pale-yellow and more tender.

Escarole is also known as Batavian endive and scarole. It’s made up of a variety of curly-leaved lettuces that are selected for their pale yellow-green color, fine texture, and mild flavor.

The plant requires cool growing conditions, so it’s grown primarily in northern Europe, where winters provide cold weather needed for good growth. Escarole may also be grown in California where there is year-round cool weather.

= 1 cup Escarole can be used in place of 1 cup arugula

Substitute arugula with dandelion greens, spinach, purslane, watercress, radicchio, kale, radish sprouts, nasturtium leaves, and cabbage.

3. Dandelion Greens

Most people remove dandelions from their well-manicured lawns, but did you know that this weed is a delicious edible? You can find dandelions in the spring in backyards, on sidewalks, and along train tracks. Dandelion flowers, green leaves, and roots are entirely edible. Dandelion has been used for centuries in dishes worldwide, and traditional medicine has used dandelions to help with digestive and renal issues.

Many people consider dandelion greens a superfood because they’re rich in many nutrients such as vitamins A, C, K and B6 along with minerals such as calcium, iron and potassium. Dandelion greens are also high in antioxidants like beta carotene and vitamin E which may help protect against heart disease and cancer.

= 1 cup dandelion greens can be used to replace 1 cup arugula

4. Watercress

Watercress comes from the mustard family, and the family’s well-known vegetables are collard greens, kale, turnips, and radishes.

Watercress is an ancient vegetable that may have been a regular food of Roman soldiers.

While famous as a green in salads, watercress can also be in pasta dishes, casseroles, and sauces.

Watercress sautés quickly because of their tenderness and mild, slightly peppery taste.

= 1 cup watercress can be a substitute for 1 cup arugula

5. Spinach

Substituting spinach is a great idea because it also is a leafy green vegetable that is believed to have originated in Persia and is part of the amaranth family related to beets and quinoa.

Spinach’s health benefits include being loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. Did you know that spinach may support eye health, reduce oxidative stress, help prevent cancer, and reduce blood pressure levels?

Spinach is easily found in stores, canned or fresh, and it can be eaten raw or cooked and mixed with other greens or eaten alone. Spinach is popular in dips or added to numerous recipes.

= 1 cup baby spinach leaves (milder flavor; add pepper for more bite) can be a replacement for 1 cup arugula


Is arugula like lettuce?

Considered a green, leafy vegetable, arugula comes from a different family than lettuce. Arugula is from the mustard family, while lettuce is from the aster family. Their texture and tastes can vary, but arugula is a popular choice as a salad ingredient (like lettuce).

What is the best way to eat arugula?

Arugula can be eaten raw in salads, on its own, or combined with other lettuce types. Cook it to add to pasta dishes, stews, or soups.

About Rachelle

Hi, I'm Rachel! I love cooking and finding new recipes but was always missing one of the ingredients in my kitchen. I created Can I Substitute? for people like me who are one substitute away from a great meal. If you're looking for great ingredient substitutes you've come to the right place. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.