Broccoli Rabe, also known as Rapini, is delicious with garlic! Don’t miss my family’s authentic Italian recipe from Naples! It’s a great vegan side dish.
For someone who wouldn’t eat broccoli rabe as a kid, I sure love it now. All I need for a perfect lunch is a hunk of bread and a mound of these slightly bitter greens with garlic, sautéed in olive oil and accented with salt and red pepper flakes.
And, for someone who used to scratch my head at veganism, I’m sharing yet another vegan recipe. It turns out that several Italian vegetables my family has been eating for years are prepared without cheese, eggs, or other animal products.
Who knew we were so hip?For anyone unfamiliar with broccoli rabe (rah-bay), it’s called “rapini” in Italy. Although it resembles broccoli, it’s actually closely related to the turnip.
Rapa is the Italian word for turnip. Rapini, or broccoli rabe, is from the mustard family, which includes mustard and collard greens, cabbage, kale, caulifower, etc.
Broccoli rabe definitely has a bitter taste, but if you prepare it as they do in Naples, you can minimize that and turn it into one of your favorite greens.
The secret to reducing bitterness is to briefly boil the broccoli rabe before sautéeing it. And by “briefly,” I mean for just a minute.
You’ll wonder if it was worth the effort to wait for the water to boil, but trust me. And by “me,” I mean Mom. (I’ve never prepared broccoli rabe with garlic any other way.)
One last note, or maybe warning, about broccoli rabe. (If you’re Italian, you probably know where I’m going with this.)
It’s a well-known fact that this vegetable…can give you un po’ di gas.
Just something to keep in mind when you’re thinking about having more than a couple of servings.
Recipe Source: Adapted from my Mom (and Nonna); I mainly reduced the olive oil by half.
Broccoli Rabe, also known as Rapini, is delicious with garlic! Don't miss my family's authentic Italian recipe from Naples! It's a great vegan side dish.
- 2 bunches broccoli rabe (rapini)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- black pepper
- 2-4 dashes red pepper flakes
Fill a large pot about 2/3 full with salted water, enough to cover the broccoli rabe when you add it later. Place the pot on the stove with high heat and cover it.
Cut off the bottom four inches of broccoli rabe stems. Rinse well in cold water to remove any dirt in the leaves. Peel the garlic and slice it thinly, then set it aside.
When the water is boiling, add the broccoli rabe to the pot. Wait for the water to come to a boil again, and when it does, leave the greens in for one minute longer. Drain the broccoli rabe and let it sit in the drainer in the sink.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and let it cook for a minute. Add the broccoli rabe, turning it to coat with olive oil. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes or until done to your liking (stirring occasionally). Taste again for seasonings, and add red pepper flakes before serving.