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Species Brassica rapa
Cultivar group Ruvo group

Rapini (commonly marketed in the United States as broccoli raab or broccoli rabe /rɑːb/) is a green cruciferous vegetable. Also commonly known in Chicago as Italian broccoli. The edible parts are the leaves, buds, and stems. 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 Italian, Galician, and Portuguese cuisines. Within the Italian tradition, the plant is associated especially with southern Italian cuisines such as those of Ciociaria, Rome, Naples, Campania, and Apulia.

In Italy, broccoli rabe is known by different names: in Naples it is known as friarielli; in Rome broccoletti; in Puglia, cime di rapa (literally meaning "turnip tops"). It is also known as i broccoli friarelli and sometimes broccoli di rape, rapi, or rapini. In Portugal and Spain they are called grelos.


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. The flavor of rapini has been described[by whom?] as nutty, bitter, and pungent. The flavour is also reminiscent of mustard greens. Rapini is a source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium, calcium, and iron.[2]

The cultivated vegetable probably descends from a wild herb related to the turnip that grew either in China or the Mediterranean region. Rapini is now grown throughout the world, and is available all year long with a peak season of fall to spring.

Culinary arts[edit]

Lacón con grelos, a typical Galician dish: pork shoulder ham with rapini, along with steamed potatoes and a sausage
Broccoli raab, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 92 kJ (22 kcal)
2.85 g
Sugars 0.38 g
Dietary fiber 2.7 g
0.49 g
3.17 g
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
108 mg
2.14 mg
22 mg
0.395 mg
73 mg
196 mg
33 mg
0.77 mg
Other constituents
Water 92.55 g

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

In Europe, it is widely used in southern Italian cuisine (in particular Basilicata, Apulia, Campania, and Sicily), in Roman cuisine, in northern Portuguese cuisine and in that of Galicia, Spain.

In southern Lazio, Frosinone, Ciociaria, it is usually sauteed with garlic and chili pepper, and served with sausages and fresh baked bread so as to make a sandwich. In the Central Italy regions, rapini sautéed with garlic, chili pepper and guanciale can be a side dish for porchetta, grilled pork ribs, sausages and other pork dishes. In Apulia, its most famous use is in "orecchiette ".

One common method of preparation includes boiling the rapini in boiling saltwater before sautéeing in olive oil with garlic and chili pepper.

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

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