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Four Ways to Cook and Serve Broccoli Raab

Sauteed broccoli rabe with garlic and nuts

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Broccoli raab and rapini are not synonymous, but when it comes to recipes they practically are.

Broccoli raab [rob] has long, thin rich-green stems (6-9 inches/18-23 cm long) topped with scattered clusters of broccoli-like florets. The flavor is nutty and both pungent and zesty.

Broccoli raab sauteed with
Sautéed broccoli raab with garlic and nuts

Rapini [rah-PEE-nee] is similar to broccoli raab but with fewer florets and a flavor akin to mustard. Rapini is preferred for its mustard-like tops. (Both have leaves that look like turnip greens.)

Kitchen Helpers from Amazon:

Rapini harvested

How to choose broccoli raab and rapini

  • Select stems that are upright and firm with leaves that are bright green.
  • The florets should be tightly closed.
Orecchiette with Cime di Rapa (Rapini)

Broccoli raab and rapini serving suggestions

  • Serve cooked broccoli raab and rapini pasta, rice, polenta, or potatoes.

How to simmer broccoli raab and rapini

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and lightly salt it.
  2. Place the stalks in the water and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the florets and cook 2 to 5 minutes longer until all is bright green and tender.

How to steam broccoli raab and rapini

  1. Place the stalks in a steamer above 2 inches of salted water.
  2. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the florets and cook 2 to 5 minutes longer until all is bright green and tender.

How to sauté broccoli raab and rapini

  1.  Trim off the bottom of the stems and cut them crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Reserve the florets for a few minutes.
  2. Drop the stems into boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon.
  3. Sauté the stems and florets in a little olive oil and garlic to taste for 3 to 5 minutes until tender.

How to microwave broccoli raab and rapini

  1. Place the stalks on a microwave-proof plate with 2 tablespoons of salted water.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap.
  3. Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the florets and microwave on high for 2 minutes more until it is bright green and tender.
  5. If not cooked, microwave on high for 1-minute intervals until done.

Broccoli raab and rapini flavor partners

  • Either is a good match for less assertive partners such as pasta, rice, polenta or potatoes. Italian cookbooks dating back to the fourteenth century included broccoli raab and rapini recipes.

More about broccoli raab and rapini

  • For the record, here are some of the other names also used for these vegetables: raab, rapa, rabe, rapine, rappi, rappone, fall and spring raab, turnip broccoli, taitcat, Italian broccoli, broccoli rape, broccoletti di rape, broccoletto, broccoli di foglia, cime de rapa, rapa, broccoli de rabe, Italian turnip, and turnip broccoli.
  • There is a related but milder green grown in China which is known as choy sum or Chinese broccoli or Chinese flowering cabbage.

Broccoli articles at Harvest to Table:

How to Plant and Grow Broccoli

Broccoli Seed Starting Tips

How to Harvest and Store Broccoli

Broccoli Growing Problems: Troubleshooting

Seven Ways to Cook and Serve Broccoli

How to Grow Broccoli Raab

Four Ways to Cook and Serve Broccoli Raab

Articles of interest:

How to Start an Herb Garden

Best Herbs for Container Growing

Herbs for Cool Season Growing

Growing Herbs for Cooking

Garden Planning Books at Amazon:

More kitchen tips:

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Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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