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SpeciesBrassica rapa
Cultivar groupRuvo group

Rapini or broccoli rabe (/rɑːb/) is a green cruciferous vegetable, with the leaves, buds, and stems all being edible; the buds somewhat resemble broccoli, but do not form a large head. Rapini is known for its slightly bitter taste, and is particularly associated with mediterranean cuisine.


The plant is a member of the tribe Brassiceae of the Brassicaceae (mustard family). Rapini is classified scientifically as Brassica rapa subspecies rapa,[1] in the same subspecies as the turnip, but has also been treated as Brassica rapa ruvo, Brassica rapa rapifera, Brassica ruvo, and Brassica campestris ruvo.


The young leaves of these plants as used in cooking are either the same as or the South European equivalent of turnip tops or turnip greens.

Rapini has many spiked leaves that surround clusters of green buds that resemble small heads of broccoli. Small, edible yellow flowers may be blooming among the buds.[2] Rapini is a source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium, calcium, and iron.[3]

Culinary use[edit]

Lacón con grelos, a typical Galician dish: pork shoulder ham with rapini, along with steamed potatoes and a sausage

The flavor of rapini has been described as nutty, bitter, and pungent,[2] as well as almond-flavored.[4] Rapini needs little more than a trim at the base. The entire stalk is edible, although it may become more fibrous depending on the season.[5]

Broccoli raab, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy92 kJ (22 kcal)
2.85 g
Sugars0.38 g
Dietary fiber2.7 g
0.49 g
3.17 g
VitaminsQuantity %DV
Vitamin A equiv.
131 μg
1573 μg
1121 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.162 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.129 mg
Niacin (B3)
1.221 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.322 mg
Vitamin B6
0.171 mg
Folate (B9)
83 μg
Vitamin C
20.2 mg
Vitamin E
1.62 mg
Vitamin K
224 μg
MineralsQuantity %DV
108 mg
2.14 mg
22 mg
0.395 mg
73 mg
196 mg
33 mg
0.77 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water92.55 g

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Rapini is widely used in southern Italian cuisine,[4] in particular that of Sicily,[6] Calabria,[7] Campania,[8] Apulia (Puglia),[8][9] and Rome.[8] In Italian, rapini is called cime di rapa or broccoletti di rapa;[8] in Naples, the green is often called friarielli.[10] Within Portuguese, grelos de nabo are similar in taste and texture to broccoli rabe.[11] Rapini is also popular in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain; a rapini festival (Feria do grelo) is held in the Galician town of As Pontes every February.[12]

Rapini may be sautéed[8][13] or braised with olive oil and garlic,[4] and sometimes chili pepper and anchovy.[8][9] It may be used as an ingredient in soup;[4] served with orecchiette[4][9] or other pasta;[6] or served with pan-fried sausage.[7] Rapini is sometimes (but not always) blanched before being cooked further.[8]

In the United States, rapini is popular in Italian-American kitchens; the D'Arrigo Brothers popularized the ingredient in the United States and gave it the name broccoli rabe.[4] Broccoli rabe is a component of some hoagies and submarine sandwiches; in Philadelphia, a popular sandwich is roast pork with broccoli rabe and peppers.[14] It can be a component of pasta dishes, especially when accompanied by Italian sausage.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Brassica rapa subsp. rapa". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Rapini/Broccoli Raab". sonomamg.ucanr.edu. UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  3. ^ Broccoli Raab Nutrition Facts
  4. ^ a b c d e f Lidia Matticchio Bastianich & Tanya Bastianich Manuali, Lidia's Italy in America (Knopf, 2011), p. 127.
  5. ^ Elizabeth., Schneider (2001). Vegetables from amaranth to zucchini : the essential reference : 500 recipes and 275 photographs (1st ed.). New York: Morrow. ISBN 978-0688152604. OCLC 46394048.
  6. ^ a b Vincent Schiavelli, Papa Andrea's Sicilian Table: Recipes and Remembrances of My Grandfather (Citadel Press, rev. ed., 2001), p. 40.
  7. ^ a b Rosetta Costantino with Janet Fletcher, My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy's Undiscovered South (W.W. Norton, 2010), p. 217.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Marcella Hazan & Victor Hazan, Ingredienti: Marcella's Guide to the Market (Scribner, 2016), p. 89.
  9. ^ a b c Rossella Rago, Recipe: Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa, Explore Parts Unknown (November 22, 2017).
  10. ^ Marlena Spieler, A Taste of Naples: Neapolitan Culture, Cuisine, and Cooking (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), p. 67.
  11. ^ David Leite, The New Portuguese Table: Exciting Flavors from Europe's Western Coast (Clarkson Potter, 2009).
  12. ^ Ashifa Kassam, Google Translate error sees Spanish town advertise clitoris festival, The Guardian (November 3, 2015).
  13. ^ Domenica Marchetti, The Glorious Vegetables of Italy (Chronicle Books, 2013), p. 17.
  14. ^ Vegetables Illustrated: An Inspiring Guide with 700+ Kitchen-Tested Recipes (America's Test Kitchen, 2019), p. 56.
  15. ^ "Broccoli Rabe Pasta with Italian Sausage and Fennel". Familystyle Food. 2017-10-29. Retrieved 2018-09-10.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]