Adding dark, leafy greens to your diet is one of the best things you can do for your body because they give you a powerful dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
In this article, I will be featuring a leafy green super food called, broccoli rabe (pronounced “Brock-O-LEE rob”). I call it a super food because it is loaded with potassium, iron, calcium, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K.
Broccoli Rabe is common in Hong Kong, but it is most known for its use in southern Italian cuisine. Don’t let the name fool you; broccoli rabe is not in the broccoli family. Believe it or not, it belongs to the turnip family, and you can eat the stems, leaves, and flowers.
When eaten raw, broccoli rabe has a bitter, nutty taste; however, the bitterness mellows after it is cooked.
What To Look For When Choosing Broccoli Rabe
Broccoli Rabe can be found in most grocery stores, and it is at its peak during the winter months. Choose broccoli rabe with bright green stems and dark green leaves. Broccoli rabe with yellowing leaves is old and should be avoided. Large flowerettes are okay, but small ones are best.
How To Cook Broccoli Rabe
Steaming broccoli rabe is easy.
- Remove the tough stems and wash well to remove sand and dirt. I like to fill my sink with cold water and allow the leaves to soak for 10-15 minutes. This allows the sand to float to the bottom. Discard any yellow or brown leaves.
- Chop broccoli rabe into two inch pieces.
- Place broccoli rabe in a large pot or skillet. I like to use my WOK pan because it is deep and can hold several bunches of broccoli rabe.
- Add about 2 inches of salted water to the pan and allow to cook on medium heat until leaves reach your desired tenderness.
Broccoli rabe can be broiled, which makes it crisp with a great charred flavor.
- Pre-heat broiler to high.
- Arrange broccoli rabe in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with 1 T of olive oil.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Broil 8 minutes, making sure to turn after 5 minutes.
Broccoli Rabe is delicious when sauteed with onions and garlic.
- Heat large saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 tsp. olive oil, and swirl to coat the pan.
- Add 4 cloves of sliced or crushed garlic and a 1/4 cup of chopped onions. Reduce heat to low and cook until garlic and onions are soft and golden brown (about 8 minutes). You can add another teaspoon of oil if you think the onions and garlic are getting too crispy.
- After onions and garlic become soft and fragrant, add broccoli rabe and raise heat to medium high.
- Stir constantly so the leaves wilt evenly. Saute until broccoli rabe is wilted enough for your taste (about 2-5 minutes).
- Remove from heat and taste to adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
- Serve as a side dish or use in your favorite broccoli rabe recipe.
Are You Ready To Try One Of My Favorite Broccoli Rabe Recipes? Let’s Get Cooking!
Traditionally, this dish is served over pasta; to make a healthier version, I have replaced the pasta with spaghetti squash. The bitter taste of the broccoli rabe is a perfect match for white beans and turkey sausage, and the squash adds a touch of sweetness.
How To Roast Spaghetti Squash
- To prepare spaghetti squash, cut a 3-4 pound spaghetti squash in half. Remove the seeds and drizzle with about a table spoon of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to your taste.
- Place squash, cut side down, on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until you can easily poke a fork through the skin. Baking time will depend on the size of your squash.
- Flip the squash; it should be golden brown around the edges. Using a fork, scrape the flesh to create long strands.
Let’s Get Cooking
The bitter tasting broccoli rabe is a perfect match for white beans, turkey sausage, and spaghetti squash.
- 1 pound broccoli rabe 2 large bunches
- 1 pound turkey sausage
- 1 15 ounce can small white beans 1 1/2 cups
- 3-4 large cloves of garlic crushed and chopped
- 1 3-4 pound spaghetti squash roasted
- salt and pepper to taste
- Italian seasoning to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a small amount of olive oil (about 1 tsp) to the pan and swirl to coat the pan.
Add fennel seeds and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute), stirring constantly to prevent them from burning.
Add sausage and break apart with a spatula or wooden spoon. Cook sausage for about 5 minutes and add garlic. Continue cooking until sausage is browned and no longer pink.
Remove the tough stems and wash well to remove sand and dirt. I like to fill my sink with cold water and allow the leaves to soak for 10-15 minutes. This allows the sand to float to the bottom. Discard yellow or brown leaves.
Rough chop broccoli rabe into 2 inch pieces.
Place broccoli rabe in a large pot or skillet. I like to use my WOK pan because it is deep and can hold several bunches of broccoli rabe.
Add about 2 inches of salted water to the pan, cover, and allow to steam on medium heat until leaves reach your desired tenderness. Do not drain water, it will help to make a tasty juice when you add the sausage and beans.
Add sausage and beans to steamed broccoli, stirring gently to mix well. Cover and cook on low heat until heated through (about 5 minutes). Serve over roasted spaghetti squash.
To roast spaghetti squash, cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt. pepper, and Italian seasoning to your taste.
Place squash cut side down, on a cookie sheet. Back at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a fork goes easily through the skin.
Flip. The squash should be golden brown around the edges. Using a fork, scrape the flesh to create long strands.
What about you? Do you have a favorite way to prepare broccoli rabe? Leave a comment below and let me know. If you try this recipe, be sure to let me know how it turned out for you.
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