Broccoli Rabe

Monday, June 12, 2017
Broccoli rabe pronounced (BROK-a lee RAHB).

Growing up in an Italian family, the fresh smell of this vegetable cooking would get my complete attention. 

It was never referred to as broccoli rabe it was always called Rapini in Italian (one and the same just in Italian).

I can remember hearing the spatter of the rapini hitting the pan into the warmed heated oil and then that fragrant smell of garlic hit me, which made my mouth water for some.

The anticipation would kill me waiting to eat this!

You would have to be very patient as the broccoli rabe would saute' in that pan for quite a while, and that aroma was so hard to resist not eating before they were tender enough.

That sandwich between two thick pieces of crusty Italian bread saturated with garlic oil and hot pepper was beyond describing.

I make it often and the health benefits of this delicious vegetable are endless.

If you need to get green leafy vegetables into your dietary menu, this is the first one I would try.

Scroll down to the bottom of this wonderous delicious sauteed Italian sandwich green, don't miss trying this one.

this is a big black fry pan full of sauteed broccoli rabe

Health Benefits

Also known as broccoletti di rape, Italian broccoli, rabe, rape, brocoletto, broccoletti, cima di rabe, rapini, friarielli and American gai lan—broccoli rabe is simply a non-heading variety of broccoli.

This member of the prolific mustard clan has flavorful leaves and clusters of tiny, broccoli-like buds. In Italian, broccoli rabe means “turnip-broccoli.”

Like its cousins, the cabbage and the cauliflower, broccoli rabe is a vegetable with all the good that is a great source of antioxidants that help protect against cancer. It’s high in fiber and rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium, calcium, and iron.

So yes, it's extremely healthy to eat. Maybe that's why Grandma lived to 94!

this is a large amount of sauteed broccoli rabe aka Rapini in Italian and how to cook it with garlic and olive oil

Italians love this vegetable.

It has been difficult to make this a favorite vegetable in the Italian/American households because of its sometimes has a bitter bite.

I can tell you from my past experiences, broccoli rabe is far superior to conventional broccoli, as many gourmets believe also.

this is a two bunches of fresh broccoli rabe or Rapini

Cooking Tips

Broccoli rabe is cooked by steaming or boiling first ( at least that's how we did it and I will explain why).

It often retains dirt particles and pesticides.

Grandma always said to boil the dirt off first and kill the bacteria on it.

This also took any of the bitterness out if they were on the older side of growth.

The bitterness can be alleviated also by, boiling them slowly on low for about a half-hour, then shocking them, in cold water.

Anyway, not everyone does that step and just adds the washed rapini to a hot pan of oil to saute.

After Grandma or mom would boil them, they would then saute these in olive oil with a boatload of garlic cloves, we also add a little crushed red pepper for heat.

These were often served as a side dish with baked sausage peppers and potatoes.

this is a white dish of sausage, peppers, potatoes and broccoli rabe and the recipe on how to make it

The Family

My brother John is a big fan of broccoli rabe and he always orders his pizza with broccoli rabe and sausage ( he even gets extra sauce on the side).

When we get together for family dinners, I always make either a broccoli rabe and sausage roll or pizza.

They are both winners in our family and if you haven't tried using this unique vegetable in combination with sausage, you're truly missing out.

It's great just sauteed but a step up and gourmet with various style pizzas.

This is my brother John Colenzo eating a slice of broccoli rabe pizza on Easter Sunday

Cleaning the Stems

The cleaning of this is very important as the stems are tough and should be trimmed close to the top, and remove the thick stem areas with a paring knife.

The bitterness can be alleviated by, boiling slowly on low for about a half-hour, it also kills any bacteria and bugs that may live in the leaves. I then rinse them in water before sauteed in oil and garlic.

This is a homemade pizza dough topped with sausage and broccoli rabe with tomato sauce and browned mozzarella cheeses on top

Other Recipes To Try Using Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli rabe sauteed, tastes great, however, there are some over-the-top fabulous ways to use this leafy delicious vegetable with cavatelli with broccoli rabe pasta on a topping for pizza, sausage roll fillingsbroccoli rabe with pasta ceci soup, wagon wheel broccoli rabe soup,

Broccoli Rabe with Pasta Ceci Soup

this is a white bowl of wagon wheel pasta with beans and broccoli rabe

Wagon Wheel Broccoli Rabe Soup

this is how to cook broccoli rabe in a fry pan with olive oil and garlic

Growing Up In the 1960s.

These greens were always on our table.

Living in Utica, New York, this was a staple in several Italian homes and still is.

We always had a big dish of greens on the table to add to the Sunday Sauce or on top of our pasta.

It was just known for adding a little richness of flavor to the meal.

Looking back on all the great recipes mom and grandma made with broccoli rabe, it's one of my all-time favorite memories to keep the traditions going.

This is a big pan of freshly made cavatelli pasta and broccoli rabe mixed in it

Cavatelli and Broccoli Rabe Pasta

this is a sausage and broccoli roll slice on a white plate with sprinkled dried parsley flakes

Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Roll

this is a black fry pan filled with broccoli rabe sauteed with slivers of garlic

Give this Healthy Vegetable A Try

No matter which way it's served it's a win-win in our home, hope you like some of our version and try them

There are many recipes that combine this delicious healthy vegetable, often missed.

Here is a large fry pan full of sauteed broccoli rabe, olive oil, red pepper flakes and loads of garlic

Ingredients You Will Need for Broccoli Rabe

  • medium bunches broccoli rabe
  • extra-virgin olive oil first cold-pressed
  • garlic cloves minced,
  • salt, and pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes to taste

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Printable Recipe Below For Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli Rabe

this is the recipe card for cooking broccoli rabe or Italian Rapini
Yield: 4
prep time: 25 Mcook time: 15 Mtotal time: 40 M
Here are the best ways to use this delicious sauteed broccoli rabe. It's a leafy green vegetable of the broccoli family and perfects on pasta, pizza, in fillings and so much more. Mom and grandma used broccoli rabe even in soups! Here is a round-up of photos with recipe links to get you started and how to cook it.


  • 2 medium bunches of broccoli rabe (about 1 pound), trimmed and chopped and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil first cold-pressed
  • 3 garlic cloves minced,
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • crushed red pepper flakes to taste


How to cook Broccoli Rabe

  1. Place broccoli rabe in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook 1/2 hour, drain. (This will kill anything that may be living in those leaves).
  2. Rinse very well boiling them.
  3.  Note: I add the broccoli rabe wet to the pan carefully after warming the oil on low heat and the sauteed garlic has browned, it will splatter, so be very careful.
  4. Turn the heat up to medium-low heat, after the garlic is browned add the broccoli rabe.
  5. Saute garlic till just starting to turn golden, not brown. 
  6. Add, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
  7. Simmer on very low, around 10 minutes, until fragrant and tender. 
  8. Serve on crusty Italian bread or over pasta, rice, fillings for pizza dough, pizza toppings, and in soups.
Fat (grams)
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broccoli rabe recipes, broccoli recipe, broccoli rabe and pizza topping reciipe, broccoli rabe in soup recipe, how to cook broccoli rabe
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this is a collage of broccoli rabe photos and how it is cooked and sauteed

Try Some of Our Favorite Italian Vegetable Recipes

Panko Roasted Eggplant
Rosemary Baked Potatoes
Red cabbage Saute
Panzanella Salad

fresh bunch of Broccoli Rabe


  1. Great post! I am trying to include more dark greens into my diet. Broccoli rabe is on the list.

  2. This is my first encounter of broccoli rabe online and is happy to find this detailed post, even reminding us how to trim the vegetable.
    Thank you.

  3. This is my first encounter of broccoli rabe and happy to find this detailed post, even reminding how to trim the vegetable.

  4. Great post! I have always wanted to make broccoli rabe but was never quite sure how to prepare it. Great info!

  5. I never would have considered taking greens and making them into a sandwich unto themselves. All that garlic has got to be amazing though--soaking into the bread with the olive oil. Definitely something to think about in the future.


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