Rapini is a cruciferous vegetable also known as Italian broccoli, broccoli raab or rabe. Sold in bunches with a thin green stem, it sports tiny clusters of broccoli-like buds and large dark green leaves. While it’s similar in appearance to broccoli, it has a much more pungent taste that is sometimes bitter. It’s available year-round, but peak season is in the cooler months, from late fall to early spring.

Rapini is often used in place of broccoli for side dishes and is delicious in soups, stews and pasta tosses.

How to buy

Choose bunches with thin, firm stems and dark green leaves. Look for ones that don’t have many bud clusters. Avoid wilted or yellow leaves or florets that are open or yellow.

How to store

Store in a perforated plastic bag and refrigerate from three to seven days. Rapini is most flavourful when fresh, so use as soon as possible.

How to prepare

Trim bottom ends from stalks. Leave whole or cut into pieces. The stalks will take more cooking time than the leaves, so cook stalks first and add leaves towards the end of cooking preparations. Boil stalks in salted water for 1 minute, then add leaves and buds and cook until tender, 2 to 4 more minutes. Stalks should be tender and leaves will turn bright green.

Toss into salads or use as a side dish drizzled with your favorite vinaigrette. Avoid steaming as rapini retains a lot of its bitterness. Use in soups, stews, stir-fries, bean salads, pasta and potato dishes or as a topping for pizza.

Nutritional info
· Low cal—only 25 calories per 1 cup (250 mL)
· No fat or cholesterol
· Source of vitamin A and C
· Source of folacin, iron and fibre

Rapini recipes

Get Chatelaine in your inbox!

Our very best stories, recipes, style and shopping tips, horoscopes and special offers. Delivered a couple of times a week.