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Species Brassica rapa
Cultivar group Ruvo group
Cultivar group members turnip

Rapini (commonly marketed in the United States as broccoli raab/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, 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 rape (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 as nutty, bitter, and pungent. 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 similar in shape to the Chinese Brassica oleracea cultivar called kai-lan. Rapini is now grown throughout the world. Rapini is available all year long, but its peak season in the Northern Hemisphere is 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

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

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

It is also eaten in the Netherlands, in a stamppot, where raw rapini strips, bacon and cooked potatoes are mashed together.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. URL: http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?316592 (17 November 2007)
  2. ^ Broccoli Raab Nutrition Facts

Further reading[edit]