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What Is a Good Substitute for Kale? (Quick Answers)

Kale is one of the most nutrition-dense vegetables that made its way into several dishes that include salads, soups, smoothies, sauces, and curries. But this intensely nutritional green veggie might not be available in your region. 

The good news is, there are quite a lot of substitutes for kale that can bring, if not the same at least somewhat similar taste and color to your platter.

Substitute for kale

A good substitute for kale can be collard greens, mustard greens, cabbage, broccoli, and spinach. Almost all of these substitutes can be incorporated into dishes in place of kale to bring a similar look and flavor. A lot of these vegetables are close to kale in terms of nutritional value. 

Kale is a highly nutritious vegetable, but it is not available in every region. So you can alternate it with the following vegetables –

Collard greens:

Closely related to kale botanically, collard greens are considered the closest match to a variety of kale in several dishes. Collard greens have a tough stem and dark green leaves that are quite similar to kale. 

They also bring similar flavor to dishes and collard greens are rich in nutrients. 

Slightly cooked collard greens work great in place of kale in green wraps. When cooked longer, they hold up as well as kale. You can include collard greens in many recipes with the same seasonings you would use for kale. 

Raw collard greens taste almost like kale but a little milder.  

Mustard greens:

Mustard greens can be another great alternative to kale in many recipes due to their similar texture and flavor. Mustard greens offer less earthiness when it comes to taste which can bode well for some people. 

They have a spicy flavor that kale does not have. Using mustard greens in some dishes can make them richer and spicier in taste. You can use mustard green in stews and sauteed dishes, or you can even stir-fry them with some ginger and sesame oil. 


While the taste and flavor of cabbage are not similar to kale, it can be used in almost any dish that requires kale. Cabbage is a delicious vegetable that is also very easily available. 

Cabbage comes in a lot of varieties so you can choose one that is easier to find in your area and that fits your taste. The crunchy texture of cabbage makes it a great addition to fresh salads. It works great for cooked dishes as well. 


Broccoli belongs to the same family as kale and it also brings a similar taste when used in recipes. While they look nowhere near the same, you can use broccoli in place of kale in many dishes. You can use blanched broccoli in salads as well.


You can use spinach in any recipes where you would use kale. In terms of flavor, they are not the same but both of these vegetables enrich the flavor of any dish.

Spinach is a storehouse of minerals and vitamins that play a vital role in regulating the immune system of our bodies. You can use both regular spinach and baby spinach in any baked dishes, curries, soups, and salads.

Swiss chard: 

Swiss chard is undeniably another amazing substitute for kale. It is a great source of vitamins, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. The big leaves of swiss chard give off a nutty taste similar to kale. 

Also, they have a crunchy texture that goes really well with salads. They bring a deep rich flavor to any dish you incorporate them into. 


Arugula brings great taste to many dishes. It can be eaten both raw and cooked for a short time. It can work as a nice substitute for kale in salads and recipes that require green freshness. In terms of taste, they are not similar. 

In fact, arugula has a peppery taste that appeals to many people. 

Brussel sprouts:

Brussel sprouts can complement any dish you put them in. They have a cabbage-like taste that is not similar to kale, but they still work as a great alternative to kale. 

You might have to adjust the seasoning a bit according to your palate, but taste-wise, you won’t be disappointed by using Brussel sprouts in place of kale. 


Lettuce can perform so well as an alternative to kale. Instead of soup, curries, or baked dishes, lettuce goes well in salads and sandwiches for its fresh and crunchy texture. You can use Romaine and iceberg lettuce in any salad or sandwich recipes instead of kale.

Another great thing about lettuce is that they are easily available throughout the year. Just keep in mind that lettuce has a blander taste compared to kale, so you might have to use extra seasonings to bring the taste you want. 

Bok choy:

Another famous green vegetable in Asia, you can use bok choy in place of kale in many recipes. It is a leafy green vegetable with a juicy and crunchy stem. Bok choy works great in stir fry recipes.

RecipesSubstitutes you can use
In Zuppa ToscanaSpinach
In soupSpinach, Broccoli, Swiss chard, Collard greens
In smoothiesArugula, Swiss chard, Broccoli, Spinach, Bok choy
In sauceSpinach, Swiss chard
In saladSpinach, Arugula, Swiss chard, Cabbage
In pastaArugula, Spinach, Collard greens, Swiss chard

Can I substitute spinach for kale in soups?

You can easily substitute spinach for kale in soups. In fact, many consider kale and spinach to be interchangeable in several recipes. You can use spinach in almost all the recipes where you would use kale. 

They have a similar taste and hence bring similar results when blended into different types of dishes. 

For soups, if you use spinach, you need to add it in later than you would for kale as spinach softens and cooks faster. You can use both regular and baby spinach in soups in place of kale. If you blend the soup, you will find a creamier texture compared to kale. 

Also, spinach adds a hint of sweetness to the soup. The taste of the soup will be milder too.  

Are arugula and chard a good substitute for kale?

Arugula and chard both can be added to various dishes as a substitute for kale. While arugula doesn’t taste anything like kale, chard has a similar taste to kale due to its nutty flavor. Chard can bring depth in flavors when used in any dish due to its rich nature. 

Also, it is loaded with nutrients that are beneficial to your health. The crunchy texture of chard makes a great kale alternative for salads. 

Arugula is a salad green that is quite popular in Italian cuisine. Even though it doesn’t taste similar to kale, it can be used in a variety of dishes. The mild peppery flavor of arugula brings a different taste to any dish. You can use arugula as a kale substitute in salads and cooked dishes. 

Do kale and spinach taste the same?

Kale and spinach do not taste the same but you can use spinach in almost all the dishes that require kale in them. Spinach is an amazing substitute for kale and it is jam-packed with good nutrients. 

It has a milder taste than kale. One great thing about spinach is that it has a very high water content which makes it a good option for making sauces or purees.

It works so well in curries, salads, baked dishes, and soups. Spinach is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, calcium, iron, and protein. You can use both regular spinach and baby spinach as substitutes for kale in several dishes. 

They require similar seasonings that are used for kale and are also very easy to cook. Spinach has a tender surface that both wilts and cooks quickly.

Final Thoughts 

Some great substitutes for kale can be collard greens, Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli, arugula, and cabbage. You can add any of these depending on your preference and their availability. Almost all of these vegetables are loaded with green goodness and amazing nutrients beneficial for your health.