Broccoli rabe—also known as raab, rapa, rapine, rappi, turnip broccoli, and Italian or Chinese broccoli—hits peak season in early spring, just in time to grace colorful spring dishes. Despite its name, broccoli rabe is not related to broccoli, but is a descendant of wild herbs and closely related to turnips. Originally cultivated in the southern Mediterranean, it was brought to the United States in the 1920s by Italian immigrants. With a nutty and distinctively bitter taste, broccoli rabe is a staple in Italian and Chinese cuisine and beyond.
When selecting broccoli rabe, look for bright green crisp leaves, avoiding leaves that are wilted, yellow, or with patches of slime. Generally, the thinner and firmer the stems, the more tender your rabe will be. The florets should be tightly compact and dark green in color. To prepare broccoli rabe for cooking, wash it thoroughly and remove about an inch of the stems, which tend to be tough. Broccoli rabe can be stored in the refrigerator unwashed and loosely wrapped in a plastic bag for up to three days. Every bite of broccoli rabe packs loads of vitamins C and A, as well as potassium, with a very low calorie content. We've compiled a list of our favorite broccoli rabe recipes to help you take full advantage of this seasonal vegetable.
- Broccoli Rabe with Chiles and Garlic
- Baked Rigatoni with Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
- Broccoli Rabe with Pepperoni and Bread Crumbs
- Broccoli Rabe with Lemon Butter
- Broccoli Rabe, Roasted Red Pepper, Mozzarella, and Arugula Sandwich
- Broccoli Rabe with Asian Flavors
- Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe
What do you like to do with broccoli rabe?