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The 9 Best Substitutes for Pea Shoots

Smooth, tender pea shoots are a great way to add flavor and texture to salads and stir-fries.

But what happens if your local grocery store is out of them?

What are the best substitutes for pea shoots? The best substitutes for pea shoots include fresh spinach, arugula, watercress, mizuna, baby kale, or microgreens. If you want an alternative with a similar texture to pea shoots but without the green color, sweet potato greens or beet greens make great substitutes.

If you’re looking for an Asian flavor profile to pair with your dish, try using bok choy or tatsoi instead.

Don’t turn away from the produce section in despair – just pick one of these delicious alternatives!

Let’s take a look at 9 of the best substitutes for pea shoots that you can use in your cooking today.

What Are Pea Shoots?

Pea Shoot

Pea shoots, also known as pea tendrils or pea greens, are the young leaves, stems, and delicate tendrils of any pea plants, including snow peas, sugar snap peas, and English peas (source: Allrecipes).

They are tender and have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor (source: WebMD). Pea shoots are packed with vitamins A and C, plus folic acid and antioxidants, making them a healthy addition to any diet (source: Allrecipes).

Pea ShootsNutrition
Vitamins A & CHigh
Folic AcidHigh
TasteSlightly sweet and nutty
Common UsesSalads, stir-fries, sandwiches, and soups

The 9 Best Substitutes for Pea Shoots

Pea shoots are a delicious and nutritious addition to any dish, but they can be hard to find.

Fortunately, there are several other ingredients that can provide you with the same benefits. Here are nine great substitutes for pea shoots:

1 – Radish Greens

Radish Greens

Radishes are a beloved spring vegetable, offering a mild flavor and crunchy texture that pairs well with salads, sandwiches, and other recipes.

You can make the most of your radishes by utilizing their nutritious greens.

These vibrant leaves have a mildly peppery taste that adds interest to salads and stir-fries, as well as a beautiful hue that brings life to dishes.

As an alternative to pea shoots, radish greens provide an exciting flavor profile and interesting texture that enriches any recipe.

Boiling the leaves for just 1-2 minutes renders them tender without sacrificing their unique flavor.

Adding radish greens to your meals is an easy way to enjoy pea shoot-like benefits without breaking the bank.

2 – Sunflower Shoots

Sunflower Shoots

Sunflower shoots are growing in popularity due to their exceptional taste and nutritional value.

These sprouts boast an earthy, nutty flavor reminiscent of sunflower seeds, enhancing everything from salads and sandwiches to soups and stews.

In addition to their pleasing taste, sunflower shoots are brimming with essential nutrients like vitamins A, C, K, folate, magnesium, and zinc.

As a substitute for pea shoots, sunflower shoots offer a similar crunchy texture while introducing exciting new flavors into your favorite dishes.

Experimenting with these delightful sprouts will add variety and nutrition to your meals while providing exciting new ways to enjoy familiar ingredients.

3 – Spinach


A dietary staple since Ancient Egypt, spinach is renowned for its incredible health benefits.

This dark green leafy vegetable is loaded with vitamins A and K as well as various minerals like magnesium and iron—all of which promote optimal health when consumed in moderation.

When it comes to substituting for pea shoots in recipes, spinach offers a surprisingly similar crunchy texture along with its signature mellow taste.

Best of all?

Spinach is incredibly affordable compared to most other leafy greens on the market today!

Blanching it quickly before adding it into your recipes ensures you won’t be compromising on flavor or texture when using spinach instead of pea shoots.

4 – Watercress


Watercress, a mild-tasting superfood with a peppery flavor, is an excellent substitute for pea shoots in salads and stir-fries.

This leafy green is incredibly nutrient-dense, boasting impressive concentrations of vitamins A, C, and E along with minerals like calcium and iron.

Its versatility makes it ideal for countless recipes from sandwiches and wraps to soups and stews.

Watercress also adds a crunchy texture to your dishes while delivering a subtle yet distinct flavor profile.

If you’re looking for a delicate herb that has exceptional nutritional benefits, watercress is the perfect stand-in for pea shoots.

5 – Arugula


Arugula is another flavorful alternative to pea shoots that adds a unique blend of nuttiness and peppery notes to your dishes.

This succulent leafy green contains crucial nutrients such as omega fatty acids and vitamin K that our bodies need to function efficiently.

Additionally, its fibrous content helps improve digestion while providing lasting satiety after meals.

Arugula’s vibrant flavor pairs nicely with sweet or savory ingredients, making it an ideal addition to any salad or wrap recipe instead of pea shoots.

6 – Beet Greens

Beet Greens

Beet greens are underrated yet nutritious substitutes for pea shoots that bring intense earthy sweetness to your dishes.

These leafy greens are chock full of essential nutrients like potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and fiber that promote better overall health.

Beet greens pair best with acidic ingredients such as olives, capers, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar or lemon juice; their sweetness contrasts delectably with the acidity of these components while imparting an elegant depth of flavor to your recipes without relying on pea shoots.

7 – Nasturtium Leaves

Nasturtium leaves offer a delightful, peppery flavor that is perfect for adding texture and freshness to salads or sandwiches.

This hardy, easy-to-grow edible flower’s bright green leaves provide an array of nutrients, from dietary fiber to vitamins A and C.

For those looking for a pea shoot substitute with a unique aroma, nasturtium leaves are ideal.

They can be consumed raw or cooked for a few minutes to make the flavors more pronounced.

If preparing them raw, remember to rinse them thoroughly before use to eliminate any dirt or bacteria from the leaves.

8 – Cress

Cress is a fast-growing leafy green bursting with intense flavor and texture.

Its sharp peppery taste adds an exquisite kick to dishes and pairs exceptionally well with other greens such as spinach or kale.

Not only does cress boast a formidable nutritional value with high levels of vitamins A and K, but it also offers extraordinary versatility when cooking and can be added to salads, sandwiches, soups, and more.

As an alternative to pea shoots, cress provides all the qualities you’d want in your meal: flavor, nutrition, and convenience.

9 – Kale


Kale has emerged as one of the most cherished superfoods in recent years due its impressive nutritional benefits and versatile application in the kitchen.

This dark leafy green packs plenty of antioxidants along with beta carotene and vitamin K—essential components for healthy vision and immunity.

It also offers a delicious earthy taste that can enhance any dish it’s added too.

As a replacement for pea shoots, kale makes an ideal ingredient due its mild flavor, pleasing texture, and wide availability at grocery stores around the country.

Incorporating this powerhouse into your meals will not only boost their nutritional value but also add depth of flavor that is sure to delight your taste buds!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What can you use instead of pea shoots? There are several substitutes for pea shoots, including radish greens, sunflower shoots, spinach, watercress, arugula, beet greens, nasturtium leaves, cress, and kale.
  • What can I substitute for pea tendrils? Pea tendrils can be substituted with any of the substitutes mentioned above, such as radish greens, sunflower shoots, spinach, watercress, arugula, beet greens, nasturtium leaves, cress, and kale.
  • What flavor are pea shoots? Pea shoots have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor.
  • Are pea shoots like watercress? Pea shoots and watercress have similar flavors and are both used as salad greens, but they come from different plants. Pea shoots are the young leaves, stems, and tendrils of pea plants, while watercress is a semi-aquatic plant with small, round leaves.


In conclusion, pea shoots are a healthy and flavorful addition to any dish, but if you can’t find them or simply want to switch things up, there are several substitutes available such as radish greens, sunflower shoots, spinach, watercress, arugula, beet greens, nasturtium leaves, cress, and kale.

Pea shoots have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor and are packed with vitamins A and C, folic acid, and antioxidants.

With so many options available, it’s easy to find a suitable substitute for pea shoots or pea tendrils.

The 9 Best Substitutes for Pea Shoots

The 9 Best Substitutes for Pea Shoots

Learn about the flavor of pea shoots, their nutritional benefits, and explore a list of substitutes like radish greens, sunflower shoots, and more. Find your next go-to salad green or stir-fry ingredient today!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • Radish Greens
  • Sunflower Shoots
  • Spinach
  • Watercress
  • Arugula
  • Beet Greens
  • Nasturtium Leaves
  • Cress
  • Kale


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
jenny happy muncher
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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.