Broccoli vs Spinach: 5 Key Differences

Written by August Buck
Published: July 28, 2022
© New Africa/Shutterstock.com
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You likely already know some of the differences between broccoli versus spinach, but do you know all of the differences between these two vegetables? Popular around the world for a number of different reasons, broccoli and spinach are consumed in salads or as a side dish for your family dinner. But what similarities do they share, and what separates them from one another? 

In this article, we will go over all of the differences and similarities between spinach and broccoli, including their nutritional benefits. We will also go over what they look like and what they are commonly used for so that you can understand both of these vegetables to their fullest. Let’s get started and talk about broccoli and spinach now! 

Comparing Broccoli vs Spinach

Broccoli vs Spinach
Spinach and broccoli belong to different plant families.

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BroccoliSpinach
ClassificationBrassica oleracea var. italicaSpinacia oleracea
DescriptionTreelike vegetables forming fluffy green heads atop thick, lighter green stalks. Mild and peppery taste, with a nice crunch when eaten raw. Has leaves on the stem and forms yellow flowers when bloomingDark, leafy green vegetable with delicate texture. Leaves are rounded and typically wrinkled, with thin and edible stems. Tastes mild and earthy, and can be eaten raw or cooked. Grows directly from the soil and often clusters together with other spinach leaves
UsesGreat culinary vegetable for all ages. Ideally eaten steamed, raw, roasted, or grilled. A popular soup addition as well.Perfect when eaten raw as a salad or side dish, but can also be steamed or sauteed. Popular in dips as well.
Nutrition InfoPacked with carbohydrates, zinc, and calcium; more calories compared to spinach Packed with many different vitamins and minerals; more protein compared to broccoli
Hardiness Zones and Care2-11; plant in well-draining soil and full sunlight. Be sure to feed often and thin the young plants!5-10; keep soil very moist and plant in full sun to partial shade. Thin your spinach frequently!

Key Differences Between Broccoli vs Spinach

Broccoli vs Spinach
Broccoli has multiple florets that are dark green in color, while spinach leaves are rounded and typically wrinkled in appearance.

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There are a number of key differences between broccoli and spinach. For example, broccoli looks like a miniature tree, while spinach is a simple leaf. Spinach is eaten raw more often than broccoli is. In addition, broccoli grows in more hardiness zones compared to the more delicate spinach leaf. Finally, spinach and broccoli belong to different plant families.

Let’s take a look at all of these differences in more detail now. 

Broccoli vs Spinach: Classification

While it may seem obvious given their distinct differences in appearance, broccoli and spinach belong to different plant families. They have different classifications, and both plant species have a number of different varieties. For example, broccoli is classified as Brassica oleracea var. italica, while spinach is classified as Spinacia oleracea

Broccoli vs Spinach: Description

Broccoli vs Spinach
Broccoli is commonly eaten steamed or roasted, while spinach is commonly eaten raw or sauteed.

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You can easily tell spinach apart from broccoli based on their physical descriptions alone. For example, broccoli grows from a central, light green stalk, while spinach grows as leaves in the dirt. Broccoli has multiple florets that are dark green in color, while spinach leaves are rounded and typically wrinkled in appearance.

When it comes to the flavor of both of these vegetables, broccoli and spinach taste strikingly similar to one another. However, spinach has a bit more of an earthy flavor compared to the peppery taste of broccoli. Both of these options are mild enough that they appeal to a variety of people, however! 

Broccoli vs Spinach: Uses

Broccoli vs Spinach
Broccoli has more carbohydrates compared to spinach, but spinach has more protein compared to broccoli.

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You can use broccoli and spinach in a variety of similar ways, though everyone has their favorites. For example, broccoli is commonly eaten steamed or roasted, while spinach is commonly eaten raw or sauteed. You can get broccoli soup more often than you can get spinach soup, though spinach dip is far more common than broccoli dip. 

It’s important to note that both of these vegetables lose a lot of their nutritional value once they are cooked. However, steaming either of these green vegetables keeps them nutritious as well as delicious, so long as you do not steam them for too long! Speaking of nutrition, let’s take a look at the nutritional value of both of these vegetables now.

Broccoli vs Spinach: Nutrition Information

Both broccoli and spinach are nutritionally dense and valuable, but they both excel in certain ways compared to the other. For example, broccoli has more carbohydrates compared to spinach, but spinach has more protein compared to broccoli. In addition, spinach is more nutritionally dense compared to broccoli, when it comes to getting a variety of vitamins and minerals.

This isn’t to say that broccoli doesn’t have its place and its value on the dinner table, but spinach packs more nutritional punch into each bite. You get plenty of iron, vitamin C, zinc, and much more in a bite of spinach compared to the average bite of broccoli. No matter what, you’re eating your vegetables, and that’s all that matters! 

Broccoli vs Spinach: Hardiness Zones and Care

Broccoli vs Spinach
Broccoli grows best in hardiness zones 2 through 11, while spinach grows best in hardiness zones 5 through 10.

©Valery121283/Shutterstock.com

If you are interested in growing broccoli or spinach in your own home garden, you should know where they grow best as well as the care that these plants prefer. For example, broccoli grows best in hardiness zones 2 through 11, while spinach grows best in hardiness zones 5 through 10. This makes broccoli a bit more hardy compared to the average spinach plant. 

When it comes to their water and light care, both broccoli and spinach prefer moist and well drained soil. You can grow broccoli and spinach in full sun, but spinach can also be grown in partial shade. Finally, you should thin broccoli plants early on in their growing process, while spinach should be thinned throughout its growing cycle! 


The Featured Image

spinach
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About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.

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