TIP OF THE DAY: Broccoli Rabe Or Rapini | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures TIP OF THE DAY: Broccoli Rabe Or Rapini | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
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TIP OF THE DAY: Broccoli Rabe Or Rapini

Raw broccoli rabe at top, and sautéed in
garlic over orecchiete pasta. Photo by M.R.
Kornflakes | Dreamstime.

  Perhaps 15 years ago, broccoli rabe began to appear in some restaurants. Also called broccoli rape, raab (pronounced rob), rapini, Chinese broccoli and Italian broccoli in the U.S., it then became available in produce markets. Now, it’s a familiar friend to some people.

Descended from a wild herb, like many of our greens, versions of broccoli rabe originated in the Mediterranean and in China.

Although it bears the name “broccoli,” tastes like a bitter and pungent form of broccoli (think broccoli crossed with mustard greens with some nuttiness) and looks like a relative of broccoli—it has broccoli-like buds and florets at the top of slender stalks—broccoli rabe is not related to broccoli but turnips.

That’s why the leaves look like turnip greens and the vegetable is also called Italian turnip and turnip broccoli.


You can braise the rabe or add it to a stir-fry; but a quick sauté in olive oil with garlic is all you need. Then, serve this tasty green as a side, or as a topping for pasta.

We like to blanch it first to remove some of the bitterness.

  • Clean and trim the ends.
  • Cut the stalks into 2-inch pieces (you can leave them whole if you want to slice them as you’re eating) and drop them into boiling salted water for a minute.
  • Remove with slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  • Heat olive oil in a sauté pan with a minced garlic clove and add the blanched broccoli rabe. It you like heat, add some red pepper flakes.
  • Cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes until tender.

    Find more of our favorite vegetables and recipes.

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