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SpeciesBrassica rapa
Cultivar groupRuvo group

Rapini, commonly marketed in the United States as broccoli raab or broccoli rabe /rɑːb/, is a green cruciferous vegetable. 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 (as 'cime di rapa' or 'friarielli'), Galician, and Portuguese (as 'grelos') cuisines. Within the Italian tradition, the plant is associated especially with southern Italian cuisines such as those of Naples, Calabria, and Apulia.


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 as nutty, bitter, and pungent.[2] 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.[3]

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 use[edit]

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

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.[4]

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

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

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.

Blanching is a common first step for preparation, after which rapini may be cooked in various ways, including sautéing, grilling, or roasting.

In the United States, rapini is popular in Italian-American kitchens, particularly in southern New England, where it is a common filling for submarine sandwiches and a component of pasta dishes, especially when accompanied by Italian sausage.[5]

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. ^ Resources, University of California Agriculture and Natural. "Rapini/Broccoli Raab". sonomamg.ucanr.edu. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  3. ^ Broccoli Raab Nutrition Facts
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Broccoli Rabe Pasta with Italian Sausage and Fennel | Familystyle Food". Familystyle Food. 2017-10-29. Retrieved 2018-09-10.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]