Here are 6 of the best substitutes for Arugula! Whether you are out of arugula or simply don't like the taste, any of these ingredients listed below will work as a substitute!
Arugula, also known as rocket, is a leafy green vegetable with a distinct peppery flavor. It's a popular ingredient in salads, sandwiches, and pesto, such as this avocado pesto.
Arugula has a very distinct taste, although some people don't love the flavor as it is very peppery. Whether you don't like the taste or are out of Arugula, I've put together a list of the best substitutes you can use if you find yourself in this situation!
How to Select an Arugula Substitute
When picking an arugula substitute, there are a few factors to consider:
- Flavor: Arugula has a distinctive peppery flavor, so you'll want to choose a substitute that has a similar flavor profile. Watercress, radicchio, and frisée are good options, as they have a slightly bitter taste that can complement savory dishes.
- Texture: Arugula has a delicate, tender texture that can add a light crunch to salads and sandwiches. Baby spinach and frisée can provide a similar texture, while radicchio and endive have a slightly firmer texture.
- Nutritional value: Arugula is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and calcium. When choosing a substitute, look for leafy greens that offer similar nutritional benefits. Watercress, spinach, and kale are all nutrient-dense options.
- Availability: Depending on where you live, some arugula substitutes may be easier to find than others. Consider what's available at your local grocery store or farmer's market when choosing a substitute
Watercress is a leafy green vegetable with a similar peppery flavor to arugula. It's also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and calcium. Watercress can be used in salads, sandwiches, and soups, and it can also be used to make a flavorful pesto sauce.
Baby spinach is a mild-tasting leafy green vegetable that can be used as a substitute for arugula in salads, sandwiches, and wraps. It's also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron. While it doesn't have the same peppery flavor as arugula, it's a great option if you prefer a milder taste.
Kale has a slightly earthy taste and a chewy texture. While it's not as peppery as arugula, it can be a good substitute in dishes like soups and stews.
Radicchio is a leafy vegetable with a slightly bitter taste and a similar texture to arugula. It's a good source of antioxidants and can add a pop of color to your dishes. Radicchio is often used in salads and can also be grilled or roasted to bring out its natural sweetness.
Endive is a leafy vegetable with a slightly bitter taste and a crunchy texture. It can be used in salads, sandwiches, and wraps as a substitute for arugula. Endive is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K and folate.
Frisée is a type of curly endive with a slightly bitter taste and a crunchy texture. It's often used in salads and can be a good alternative to arugula. Frisée is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and folate.
Tips when Subbing Arugula
- Mix and match: You don't have to stick to one arugula substitute in your recipe. Try mixing and matching different leafy greens to create a unique flavor and texture profile.
- Consider the dish: Depending on the dish you're making, some arugula substitutes may work better than others. For example, watercress or endive may be a good substitute for arugula in a salad, but may not work as well in a pesto sauce.
- Try herbs: If you're looking for a substitute for arugula in a recipe that calls for fresh herbs, such as parsley or cilantro, consider using those herbs instead. They can add a similar brightness and freshness to your dish.
- Don't forget about microgreens: Microgreens, such as radish or mustard greens, can be a great substitute for arugula in salads or as a garnish. They have a similar peppery taste and delicate texture.
- Be mindful of flavors: While some arugula substitutes may have a similar flavor to arugula, they may also have their own distinct taste. Be mindful of how the substitute will affect the overall flavor of your dish and adjust your recipe accordingly.
Ways to Use Arugula
- Salads: Arugula is a great base for salads. Toss it with a variety of other vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers, and add a protein source like grilled chicken or tofu.
- Pesto: Use arugula to make a flavorful pesto sauce. Simply blend arugula, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil together in a food processor. It would pair great with this avocado pesto pasta with chicken!
- Pizza: Add arugula to pizza for a fresh, peppery flavor. Top a cooked pizza with arugula, sliced tomatoes, and goat cheese. Throw some on top of this cottage cheese pizza for a fun twist on flavors!
- Sandwiches and wraps: Arugula adds a flavorful crunch to sandwiches and wraps. Layer it with turkey, cheese, and avocado for a delicious lunch.
- Pasta: Use arugula as a base for pasta dishes. Toss cooked pasta with arugula, cherry tomatoes, and grilled shrimp for a simple and delicious meal.
- Smoothies: Add a handful of arugula to your smoothies for an extra boost of vitamins and minerals. It would pair prefect with this blueberry acai protein smoothie!
- Topping for soups: Top your soups with arugula to add a fresh and crunchy texture. It pairs particularly well with tomato and bean soups.
The closest lettuce to arugula in terms of flavor and peppery bite is "baby spinach." While not an exact match, baby spinach offers a similar mild bitterness and can be used as a substitute in salads and dishes where arugula's distinctive taste is desired.
Spring mix can be used as a substitute for arugula. Both greens share a similar mild bitterness, but spring mix might include other lettuces as well, potentially altering the flavor slightly.
Arugula and kale are leafy greens, but they differ in taste and texture. Arugula has a peppery and tender profile, often used raw in salads, while kale is sturdier with a milder taste and is often cooked due to its tougher leaves.
Arugula's flavor is attributed to glucosinolates, natural compounds that transform into pungent isothiocyanates when the leaves are chewed or cut. These compounds are responsible for arugula's signature peppery and slightly bitter taste.