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15 Greatest Arugula Substitute For Your Italian Cuisines

Arugula is delicious in salads, as well as cooked dishes. Cheer up if you enjoy arugula leaves but run out in the middle of a recipe.

Here are some of the 15 alternatives for arugula that will impart the same peppery aroma to your dish.

  • Watercress
  • Kale
  • Baby Spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Basil
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Nasturtium Leaves
  • Frisee
  • Endive

Don’t fret if you need to cook up a delicious meal to feed your hungry family urgently. You just need some inventive ways to obtain arugula-like leafy greens while saving time and money!

What is Arugula Leaves?

Arugula Substitute

Arugula is a dark leafy herb related to cabbage and kale famous for its bitterness and peppery taste. It is a common ingredient in Italian cuisine, where it is paired with pasta or used as a pizza topping.

Arugula salad is a must-have side dish with the famous Fettuccine Alfredo. Its peppery flavor lends itself well to fresh pizza toppings.


Arugula was once a common herb in Rome and is still a widely known green leaf in Italian recipes today.

Some people enjoy the flavor, but many do not, which is why you may want to get a replacement. Another disadvantage is that it may not always be available in the supermarket. Consider one of the alternatives listed below if you need a replacement.

15 Great Arugula Lettuce Substitute

If you can’t find your favorite arugula leaves for your sandwiches or salad, change your focus and look for these arugula alternatives.


Watercress What Is It Good For And What Are Its Health Benefits

Watercress, like arugula, belongs to the Brassicaceae group and has a similar slightly bitter and peppery flavor profile. That aroma is the primary reason watercress works so well as a substitute. Arugula is also known as Italian cress because of the similarities of the two herbs.

Another reason watercress is a good arugula substitute is because the two herbs are so similar in appearance that they are nearly indistinguishable in a salad. Arugula dominates almost every nutritional category, but watercress isn’t far off and provides relatively high amounts of some of the nutrients as arugula.

Watercress, like arugula, can be eaten cooked or raw; however, when cooking it, use caution. Unlike arugula, it is a sensitive herb that quickly becomes mushy. Watercress can be blended and used in soups as a tasty way to prepare it.



Because of its abundance, kale is another good alternative for arugula. It is readily available in any shop, making it a great choice if you’re in a rush. This plant has a bitter taste profile, but it is stronger than watercress.

Some people may find it too bitter to use in salads due to its bitterness. However, combining it with other leafy greens can help solve the problem.

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Furthermore, zesty sautéed kale will make an excellent side dish for pasta, pizza, or frittatas. This side dish will help sustain and glorify a hint of sourness and bitterness.

Baby Spinach

Baby Spinach

Because of its freshness, a hint of bitterness, and a plethora of nutrients, baby spinach makes an excellent salad and smoothie ingredient. Although it cannot substitute arugula’s typical peppery flavor, the cooked taste of this arugula substitute will make your taste powerful and explosive.

Baby spinach can be used to replace arugula in various dishes, including fresh toppings for pesto soup, pizza, salads, and sandwiches, due to its similar nutritional content and ability to pair well with the other ingredients.

If you’re wondering, baby spinach isn’t a different variety of spinach. They’re just the early-harvest spinach with sweeter and more delicate leaves.



Photo by Natasha Skov on Unsplash

Cabbage’s sweet leafy greens pair well with a variety of other vegetables.

You may use them either cooked or raw. They can be used as a salad topper, stir-fried, soups, or a sandwich or pizza dressing.

You can try making Keto stuffed cabbage. This dish consists of minced pork wrapped in melt-in-your-mouth cabbage with a savory tomato sauce on top. Anyone’s heart can be won over by a delicious combination of sweet taste, acidity, and flavor.

Cabbage contains a lot of vitamin C, which boosts your immune system and protects you from diseases. Because cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, it can be highly beneficial to your heart health.


Fresh Basil

Basil is an incredibly flavorful herb with layers upon layers of flavor. Basil can be used to make a variety of dishes. Not only does it have a mildly spicy flavor, but it also brings a slightly pungent taste, a hint of sweetness, and the freshness of mint to any dish, particularly salads.

If you can’t find arugula leaves for your pesto, you can substitute basil for a mild spicy flavor. It’s delicious!

Basil is still an herb, and substituting the same amount for arugula may be excessive. As a result, if you want to use arugula as a substitute in fresh dishes, it’s best to have it as a topping.

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Dandelion Greens

Dandelion Greens

Dandelion is another good substitute for arugula leaves. While it lacks the peppery flavor of arugula, it does have a comparable bitterness, and pairs well with many of the similar ingredients found in arugula dishes.

Nasturtium Leaves

Nasturtium Leaves

All parts of the nasturtium, also known as Indian cress, are safe to eat. However, the leaves can be used in place of watercress because they have a similar peppery flavor.

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Nasturtium Pesto is the most well-known dish made from this vegetable, and it never goes out of style. The nasturtium leaves will give a traditional pesto a fresh, spicy, and earthy kick.

This recipe will appease even the choicest eaters when combined with the sweet grilled nut.

These leaves are high in vitamin C, which helps your immune system fight bacteria and viruses. Additionally, the iron found in this plant can aid in the oxygen-carrying process.



Frisée is a chicory family member, and its green, thin, and light leaves have a mildly bitter and a little peppery taste, similar to chicory.

In a green salad with mild dressings, frisée is recommended. The Frisée salad is regarded as one of the best French staples that every cook should be familiar with. If you don’t want to use arugula leaves, you can make a frisée salad to go with your sandwich.

If you are sensitive to bitterness, you must choose a paler frisée in color. The less bitter the greens are, the lighter they are in color.




Other than salad dressing, endive is an excellent choice for grilling, roasting, or braising. You can’t go wrong with a braised Belgian endive dish.

Endive has the appearance of cabbage and an earthy and slightly bitter flavor. It’s delicious shredded in salads, but like frisée, it’s best used as a complementary green to other vegetables. Endive is most effective when used to replace arugula greens in soups. As the endive cooks, its flavor becomes mellower, and it works well in soup.



It’s possible that when you look for escarole in the food market, you’ll find that it looks like a crown of lettuce, with leaves that are leafier than those of kale and a slightly bitter flavor.

The sharpness and pepperiness that distinguish escarole make it a good substitute for arugula.

Because the qualities of escarole vary, depending on whether they are growing inside or outside, your greens will not become sticky when exposed to intense heat. The outside leaves are darker green and stiffer than the interior ones, softer and milder green than the outer ones.

As a result, escarole continues to be a delicious and healthful addition to soups and stews.

[Related Article: 15 Best Broccoli Rabe Substitute For All Your Yummy Recipes]



Mâche is a native European leaf plant. Lamb’s lettuce, nut lettuce, corn salad, and even rapunzel are all names for it. This plant is a weed-grown leaf with a nutty flavor, tangy taste, and a slight bitterness.

It is best used in salads, where it can be used with arugula leaves in a fresh mixed salad. Mâche, on the other hand, should not be cooked because its leaves are so delicate that heat can spoil them.

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Purslane is another excellent arugula substitute. Its flavor, which has a mustard-like taste comparable to arugula, is why it works. Though the succulent leaves have a different texture than arugula, it complements most arugula dishes.

While it can be used in place of arugula leaves in salads and some cooked meals, neither is the ultimate reason to use it. Purslane has a lot of nutritional value.

Among these advantages is that it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to fatty acids, Purslane contains nutrients such as vitamins A and C, and magnesium.



Because of its unique red and white color, this vegetable looks nothing like arugula, but it can add many taste and presentation points to your meal.

While radicchio does not have the exact punchy spicy flavor, it does have a similar bitterness and an enticing earthy flavor.

Radicchio is delicious in soups and salads, and it can also add crunch to sandwiches and burgers.

This vegetable can also be cooked to make it even tastier. Radicchio can be eaten raw or cooked, but we recommend eating it natural to get a flavor profile similar to arugula.

Radish Sprouts

Radish Sprouts

Watercress and radish sprouts are brothers from the same family. It’s easy to notice that they’re the same shape and have a similar spiciness. These sprouts, on the other hand, have a more intense flavor.

They are difficult to find in supermarkets, but you can quickly grow them from seeds.

These greens can be found in almost any salad. If you’re sick of them, try the Smoked salmon wrap with radish sprouts. The spice will mask the fishy taste and highlight the sweetness of the salmon.

These tiny sprouts are high in chlorophyll and essential amino acids, which aid in cancer-fighting. Even better, it has folate that aids in the formation of red blood cells, which is critical in the early stages of pregnancy.

[Related Article: 9 Best Substitute for Celery For Soup Or Cooking]

Romaine Lettuce

Romaine Lettuce

Although lettuce lacks a peppery flavor, we included it on this list of replacements for arugula due to its versatility. This leafy green is commonly found in salads, so you can substitute it whenever arugula is needed.

Aside from sandwiches and salads, lettuce can also be used as a pizza topping.

Lettuce is an excellent source of fiber and low in calories, making it a perfect choice for cholesterol-lowering diets. Because of its high vitamin C content, eating this vegetable can help you avoid the flu and cold.