Prepare and Cook Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli rabe, also known as broccoli raab and rapini, is actually more closely related to turnips than to broccoli. However, broccoli rabe has a similar taste to broccoli and buds that are similar to broccoli buds. Broccoli rabe is a good source of vitamins A, C and K. It is also a good source of potassium. This article will show you how to prepare and cook broccoli rabe.


Preparing Broccoli Rabe

  1. Look for broccoli rabe that has crisp, bright green leaves.
    • Avoid wilted or yellowing broccoli rabe and broccoli rabe that has any dark patches or slime.
  2. Rinse the broccoli rabe in a bowl of cold water. If necessary, drain the water and repeat the process until the broccoli rabe is free of dirt.
    • Do not wash broccoli rabe until just before you are ready to use it to avoid mold and decay.
  3. Cut off the tough ends of the broccoli rabe stems. You do not need to peel the stems of broccoli rabe.
    • If desired, you can cut the stems off the broccoli rabe up to the bottom of the leaf. Stems can be chopped and cooked a few minutes longer than the leaves.
    • Stems of broccoli rabe can also be discarded and only the leaves and buds prepared and eaten.

Steaming Broccoli Rabe

  1. Put a small amount of water into a steamer. Bring the water to a boil.
    • If you do not have a steamer, put a small amount of water in a pot. Place a colander or mesh strainer with the broccoli rabe inside the pot. Place the pot's lid on top and boil the water.[1]
  2. Carefully add the stems of the broccoli rabe to the steamer (or make shift steamer) if you are using them.
  3. Wait for a few minutes and then add the leaves. Steam them until they are tender and wilted.
  4. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
  5. Strain any extra water. The broccoli rabe is now ready to eat.

Sauteing Broccoli Rabe

  1. Heat either oil or butter in a pan. Wait until the pan is thoroughly heated up and the butter is melted (if you are using butter) before adding the broccoli rabe stems.
  2. Stir the broccoli rabe stems occasionally. Add garlic for more flavorful broccoli rabe.
  3. Add the leaves when the stems are almost tender. Stir occasionally for 1 to 2 minutes or until done.[2]

Blanching Broccoli Rabe

  1. Add water to a pot and boil. It is not necessary to use a non-reactive pot. When the water is boiling, add the broccoli rabe stems. Cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the leaves after those 2 minutes are up. Cook both stems and leaves for 1 to 2 minutes more.
  3. Strain the broccoli rabe from the boiling water and immediately place the stems and leaves into a bowl of ice water.
  4. Leave the broccoli rabe in the ice water for several minutes. Take the broccoli rabe out and pat it dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel.

Microwaving Broccoli Rabe

  1. Put the broccoli rabe in a microwave-safe bowl and cover. Do not dry the broccoli rabe off after you have washed it.
  2. Microwave on high heat until the broccoli rabe is tender and wilted. This should take about 1 minute. Be sure to add the stems first if you are using them.
    • Microwaves vary in intensity. Be sure to check your broccoli rabe frequently until you learn how long to cook it for in your specific microwave.

Simmering Broccoli Rabe

  1. Fill a pot with water. Wait for the water to boil and then add the broccoli rabe.
  2. Add the stems a few minutes before the leaves if you choose to cook them. It is not necessary to use a non-reactive pot.
    • Simmering the broccoli rabe should take 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the broccoli rabe and the water into a strainer.


  • Be aware that the taste of broccoli rabe is more bitter than the taste of broccoli.
  • Store broccoli rabe for up to 3 days in the refrigerator loosely wrapped in a plastic bag. It is best to buy or harvest broccoli rabe as close as possible to the time when you are going to prepare it.

Related Articles

Sources and Citations