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How to Cook Broccoli Rabe

This broccoli rabe is both garlicy and brazen. It is easy to make and the garlic compliments the bitter broccoli rabe nicely, giving it delicious flavor. That’s why I’m showing you how to cook broccoli rabe in this post!

Rabe with some gnocchi and sausage in a white deep dish. There is another dish and wok in the background

In my opinion, broccoli rabe is an underused vegetable. Is it the bitter flavor that makes people not want to try this vegetable? Or is it that they don’t know how to cook broccoli rabe?

Why broccoli rabe

  • It makes a delightful and delicious side dish. The leaves and buds are tender, and the stems have a slight bite to them.
  • The veggie is loaded with the vitamins and minerals.  For example, A, C, K, calcium, iron and folate.
  • It also has plenty of fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals which have been shown to prevent heart disease, reduce the risk of cancer and lower cholesterol.
  • Since broccoli rabe has a lot of water in it, it will keep you not only stay hydrated, but the fiber content will keep you full longer and help you with elimination.
  • Broccoli rabe takes around 5 minutes to cook.  As soon as it begins to darken to a deep green color, it’s done.
  • Did you know that this vegetable is also known as rapini?

Here is a great article to read supporting what I stated above.

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I love broccoli rabe and eat it just about every week. Christopher was starting to get tired of it, so I try not to make it every week, but it is hard.

The broccoli rabe Family

One of the things that surprised me about broccoli rabe is that it’s related to the turnip. Say what? Turnip? I hate turnip. Yes, it’s a different vegetable, but I didn’t think I’d ever like anything related to the turnip. The only thing that might remind me of its relation to broccoli rabe is the bitterness, depending on how you prepare it.

The rabe’s bitterness actually is very appealing to me which makes it bold, beautiful and delicious. Just what you want from a vegetable side dish. I feel that the way I prepare it lessens the bitterness, but truthfully, there is something about the remaining bitterness that I dig. In A Big Way.

I have found that broccoli rabe is a vegetable that you must try more than once because it grows on you.

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Want a bit of spice to your vegetable? Add a few shakes of red pepper flakes and it will give you the taste you’re looking for.

How to wash rapini

  • Cut the ends of the stalk off and toss them.
  • Place the rabe in a colander and run cold water over the vegetable.
  • Lay out a few paper towels and place the rabe on them.  Pat the broccoli rabe with another paper towel drying them as best you can.
  • Cut the remaining stalks and florets in one-inch long pieces.  Try to keep the florets intact by isolating them and cutting them away from the stalks.
a deep plate with the broccoli rabe with gnocchi and sausage
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

How to cook broccoli rabe

I couldn’t resist putting the bunch of broccoli rabe into a vase and displaying it. Isn’t it cute?

Step one

Wash the broccoli rabe and dry it as best you can.

Head of rabe in a vase looking all flowery and pretty

Step two

While waiting for the rabe to dry a little more, mince the garlic. You could also use garlic paste, which will save you the trouble of mincing.

Step three

Cut the ends of the rabe and then cut the vegetable in 1 – 2 inch pieces. Be careful to keep the flower part whole.

Step four

Take out your wok, sauté pan, or large skillet and turn the heat on medium. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and let the oil get hot before placing the rabe in the pan.

Cut up broccoli in a yellow wok

Step five

Stir the rabe around to coat it with oil. Sauté for approximately 4 minutes. The color will deepen and the leaves will get softer.

Step six

Add the garlic, salt and pepper and cook for additional 1 minute.

Cooked broccoli rabe in my yellow wok

Look at all that garlic in the sautéed broccoli rabe. Yum.

If you are using a cast iron pan, take the vegetable out of it once it has finished cooking because it will continue to cook if you leave it in. You want the stalks to have a little crunch to them.

I transfer the cooked vegetable to the bowl I’m going to serve it in.

Here is the broccoli in the serving bowl.

A bowl of garlicy rabe ready to be served

I made some delicious gnocchi with butter sage sauce as the main course for this post.

A close up view of the broccoli in a plate with some sausage and gnocchi

YUM. Broccoli rabe is a perfect complement to gnocchi or to any pasta dish.

I hope you enjoyed this post on how to cook broccoli rabe!

And don’t forget to leave me a comment.  What is your favorite vegetable?  I’d love to know!!

Other vegetables dishes

And as always, may all your dishes be delish!

If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog, I’d love the hear what you thought about it in the comments below.  I love hearing from you!  You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST  to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

Rabe with some gnocchi and sausage in a white deep dish - square

How to cook Broccoli Rabe

This fun and tasty Broccoli Rabe recipe makes a lovely side dish to any meal.
5 from 18 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Vegetable
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: broccoli rabe, how to cook broccoli rabe, leafy green vegetable
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 3 cups
Calories: 109kcal


  • 1 broccoli rabe (1 bunch, washed, dried and cut in 1 inch long pieces) (keeping florets whole)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)


  • Heat up wok or large sauté pan on medium heat
  • Add olive oil and let it heat up.
  • Add broccoli rabe and stir to coat it with oil
  • Sauté for 4 minutes or until it starts to deepen in color
  • Add garlic, salt and pepper
  • Cook for 1 more minutes
  • Remove promptly from pan to a bowl
  • Place broccoli rabe on plate along with a piece of meat or some noodles
  • Serve
  • Smile
  • Enjoy


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Reasons why you should learn how to cook this vegetable:
  • It makes a delightful and delicious side dish.
  • The veggie is loaded with the vitamins and minerals.  For example, A, C, K, calcium, iron and folate.
  • It also has plenty of fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals which have been shown to prevent heart disease, reduce the risk of cancer and lower cholesterol.
  • Since broccoli rabe has a lot of water in it, it will keep you not only stay hydrated, but the fiber content will keep you full longer and help you with elimination.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 310mg | Potassium: 122mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 1480IU | Vitamin C: 12.4mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 1.3mg
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From lighting up stages with her BA in theater to food journalist, Elaine Benoit's journey is a testament to passion's transformative power. As the CEO of Dishes Delish, she offers a blend of healthy, comforting recipes and exquisitely crafted cocktails. Beyond the kitchen, Elaine voiced her culinary adventures on her podcast, "Dishing," and co-owns Food Blogger Help, extending her expertise to guide budding food bloggers to success. Whether it's for a heartwarming dish or insights into food blogging, Elaine's diverse experiences make her a beacon in the culinary digital landscape.

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  1. OK _ well, that is about exactly how I prepared mine and it was so bitter I couldn’t even eat it. I am wondering if there is more/less bitter depending on how fresh it is? Mine probably wasn’t as fresh as it could be because of where I bought it. Oh well, maybe I’ll give it another go.

    1. Wendi,

      I do think it has to be super fresh!! But, yes, it does have a bitter taste. (at first I thought we were talking about cauliflower. Eeek.) Some people just don’t like the bitterness, maybe you’re one of them?


  2. Love green veggies like this with a simple saute! Sometimes I add a pinch of sugar and some garlic to cut the bitterness. It’s a great simple to make and nutritious side dish!

  3. I *finally* got my husband to eat broccoli rabe and now he loves it! I love how simple and fresh you kept the recipe too! It all looks really yummy!

  4. I see broccoli rabe often and always wondered how to cook it and add to recipes. Thank you so much for this how-to.

  5. What a great post. It took me a long time to try broccoli rabe. This is such a great and easy way to prepare this totally delicious veggie.

  6. I love how you’ve broken this all done for people like me. I think I’m going to tackle it this week! Thanks!

  7. What great knowledge you have passed on to us for this underused vegetable! It looks absolutely delicious and I think I’m going to have try this real soon!

  8. This is a never tried recipe. Looks crunchy and delicious and I need to make this dish for my family.

  9. This will make a great side dish for dinner this week! I will have to learn how to do this the right way; it looks great!

  10. What a great post Elaine, I had no idea as to how to cook broccoli rabe, I’ll add a little bit of sugar to cut the bitterness though, can’t wait to try it!

  11. We love broccoli rabe and eat a lot of them! That mild bitterness is the best part. Thanks for sharing the tips on how to cook them!

  12. Would you believe I’ve never MADE broccoli rabe before?!?!? I’ve enjoyed it at restaurants many times but now I feel confident that I could cook it at home! Love the simple preparation!! Thanks for a great recipe Elaine!

  13. I love the simple ingredients to enhance a yummy vegetable! Garlicky and crunchy is quite often a delicious combo!

  14. Those homemade gnocchis look awesome, along with the rest of the dish of course 😉 I don’t believe I have heard of broccoli rabe before though ,but it does looks delish !

  15. Talk about the perfect spring side dish! I love how easy yet delicious this broccoli rabe is. The fresh garlic and olive oil are the perfect accents. Thanks for sharing!

  16. I’m loving this simple recipe and these simple ingredients! I’m guilty of not eating enough broccoli but i’ve never had broccoli rabe. Looks like Ive been missing out!! Cant wait to make this amazing recipe!

  17. A simple and healthy recipe your broccoli rabe is! I would love to make this as a delicious side with most meals. I can think of so many!

  18. Garlic goes so well with broccoli and we love it, usually, I serve it with pasta. Loving your informative post and gosh that colour, simply wow!

  19. Awesome post on broccoli rabe! And it sounds so delicious with the garlic combo! You’re super clear explanations make this dish so easy to make! Thanks for sharing :).

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