10 Spinach Substitutes That You Can Use for Your Recipes

Whether it is eaten on its own or blended into a smoothie, many have begun eating spinach in order to benefit from the various health benefits. Spinach is one vegetable that you can easily incorporate into your diet. You may want to receive the benefits of eating spinach, but you may have a food intolerance to the vegetable or don’t like it in general. For this reason, you can use spinach substitutes.

If you cannot eat spinach, there are many substitutes you can use that can help provide similar health benefits. Some popular substitutes for spinach include arugula, bok choy, collard green, cabbage, and kale. Adding any of these substitutes to your diet can provide many health benefits for you.

Continue reading to learn more about spinach. Also, continue reading to learn more about 10 different substitutes you can use to replace spinach.

Spinach Overview

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable. This vegetable originates from Persia. Spinach also belongs to the amaranth family. It is related to other vegetables like beets and quinoa.

Spinach can provide many health benefits to your body. Spinach is known to:

  • Reduce oxidative stress
  • Lower blood pressure levels
  • Benefit eye health
  • Help prevent cancer

For some, spinach became an interesting vegetable to eat after watching the cartoon “Popeye”. This cartoon focuses on a sailor who eats a can of spinach. By eating the spinach, he is able to become strong enough to stop his enemy Brutus.

Now, eating spinach will not give you the results we see Popeye get, but spinach can be a great addition to your diet. You can buy a bunch of spinach from the store. A “bunch” of spinach is equivalent to 12 ounces of the vegetable.

Why Substitute Spinach in Meals?

While adding spinach to your diet can help to provide you with many health benefits, some are unable to eat spinach. Like having an intolerance to lactose in milk, some may experience an intolerance to spinach.

It is also possible that you do not care for the taste of spinach, or you have found that you have run out of spinach. All of these are reasons for you to use substitutions for spinach in your meals.

What Can I Use Instead of Spinach?

If you do not like spinach, have run out of spinach, or have found you have an intolerance to the vegetable, there are still ways you can receive similar health benefits to the ones you would receive from spinach. 

Many of the substitutes listed below will offer similar health benefits to spinach. They can also be used in recipes in similar ways to spinach.

Below you will find 10 substitutes that you can use to replace spinach.


Arugula is a very common substitute for spinach. Arugula is known for having a peppery taste as well as flat leaves that are delicate. Arugula can be a great substitute to add to your meals because it is rich in potassium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K.

Arugula works best as a substitute for spinach in salads. While arugula has a strong taste, this taste weakens as the arugula is cooked. Some benefits of eating arugula are:

  • It helps to dilate your arteries.
  • It can help oxygenated blood flow to your muscles.
  • It can positively influence your energy levels.


Kale has been one of the most talked about leafy green vegetables throughout the past decade. It has become a major player in the food market.

Kale is one of the most nutrient-filled vegetables. It is packed with vitamins A, C, and K. It is recommended that you eat kale raw, so you can obtain all of the nutrients from the kale. Since there are many varieties of kale, you can find the type of kale that you prefer and use it as a substitute for spinach.

Collard Greens

Collard greens are a popular vegetable that is served in the southern part of the United States. Collard greens are a very versatile vegetable. They can be used in many dishes that require cooked greens. For this reason, collard greens can be an amazing substitute for spinach.

Collard greens are filled with nutrients that can help your body. These nutrients include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B9
  • Manganese
  • Calcium

Collard greens can be a great addition to your diet, even if you are not planning on using them as a substitute for spinach.


Watercress gets its name because it is cultivated from watery beds. Watercress is considered to be a close counterpart to arugula, which is another great substitute for spinach.

While watercress is filled with many of the nutrients found in spinach as well as other common spinach substitutes, watercress is also filled with a high amount of phenylethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC). This compound is known for its potential to help fight cancers. When using watercress as a substitute for spinach, you want to pair the watercress with a milder leafy green.

Bok Choy

Bok choy is a member of the cabbage family. This veggie is a staple in many Chinese dishes as well as many Asian dishes. Bok choy was introduced to the United States when Chinese immigrants brought it over to use for its cooking properties as well as its medicinal properties.

This green is low-oxalate and rich in calcium. Bok choy is not grown much in the United States anymore, rather it has now become a vegetable that is often imported from Mexico. You can choose to eat bok choy raw, or you can blanch it or stir-fry it.

Amaranth Greens

While amaranth seeds have become popular as a gluten-free alternative to grains, amaranth greens can be used as an alternative to spinach. Amaranth greens have often been referred to as “Chinese spinach.” It can be a great source of potassium, iron, and dietary fiber.

If you are looking for a substitute for spinach that has a higher calcium or potassium count, amaranth greens can be exactly what you are looking for. It is best to boil amaranth greens before eating them as they contain high levels of oxalates.


Cabbage can be another great option as a substitute for spinach. There are many different types of cabbage that you can choose from, so you can use whichever cabbage you prefer as your substitute.

When used as an alternative for spinach, you can often find cabbage being used to make stews and soups. Cabbage can incorporate a lot of flavor to your dish as well as many health benefits. It is important to note that different types of cabbage contain different types of nutrients, so you want to pick the cabbage that provides the type of nutrients that you are looking to include in your dish.

Romaine Lettuce

Romaine lettuce is known for its crunchy leaves and light green color. The flavor of romaine is light and known to have a small hint of bitterness. Compared to other types of lettuce, romaine lettuce grows in longer heads.

This is the type of lettuce that you will often find is used in caesar salads. This type of lettuce can also be used in smoothies as well as in lettuce wraps. Romaine lettuce also contains a lot of nutrients. For example, romaine contains:

  • Antioxidants
  • Folate
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Potassium

Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce is another type of lettuce that can be used as a substitute for spinach. This lettuce has a sweet, mild flavor as well as a crispy nature. If you are looking for a substitute for spinach to use in salads, you can consider using iceberg lettuce.

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is a substitute that is very similar to spinach. Swiss chard is known to have a strong slightly bitter taste. The leaves of the vegetable are long and dark green. The stalks of swiss chard are thick and can be white, pink, yellow, or red.

Swiss chard is very easy to cook. It can be steamed in only a few minutes. Swiss chard makes a great substitute for spinach when included in soups and stews.

What’s the Best Spinach Substitute on the List?

On this list, there are many great substitutes for spinach. Out of the 10 vegetables listed, kale tends to be the best substitute for spinach in many dishes. Kale provides many health benefits that are similar to spinach. Kale is also a very popular vegetable, so it can be easy to find kale when shopping in the grocery store.

Final Thoughts

Spinach is a vegetable that you should consider including in your diet. Spinach is known to provide many health benefits, such as lowering your blood pressure and helping to fight cancers. It is possible that you cannot add spinach to your diet. You may not enjoy the taste of the spinach or have an intolerance to the vegetable.

These are two great reasons for looking for alternatives to spinach that you can use. Some popular substitutes for spinach include kale, arugula, cabbage, and collard greens.