It sure can, but the substitutions don’t stop there. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have or can’t find the broccoli rabe, try use Chinese broccoli, dandelion greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale, cauliflower, or watercress. In fact, one of the most popular substitutions is a combination that’s half-broccoli and half-cauliflower.
If you choose to use broccoli as a substitute, you’ll want to make the cooking time a little longer. And stay away from the assumption that broccoli rabe can also be substituted for broccoli. While it would seem to make sense, you’ll find that broccoli rabe is too bitter to be used as a substitution.