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Easy Sauteed Broccoli Rabe (Rapini) with Balsamic Vinegar

Sauteed Broccoli Rabe with Balsamic Vinegar
Broccoli Rabe is a quick veggie side dish, quickly sauteed and drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar.

(Updated with better photos, step-by-step photos, better instructions, and recipe links in March 2013.)  Back in 2006 when I was a new food blogger with stars in my eyes, I became obsessed with a type of greens my blogging friends were writing about called broccoli rabe (also called rapini and broccoli raab.)  I started a quest to find it in Salt Lake City, and after many attempts, I found some at the Downtown Alliance Farmer’s Market, and shared this simple method for cooking it.  Since then I’ve become a big fan of this slightly-bitter green that goes so well with pasta, and when I spotted some gorgeous broccoli rabe recently at Sprouts, I decided it was time to update the horrible photos that went with the original recipe.  If you haven’t cooked broccoli rabe, the flavor is a little like kale, and this is one of those ultra healthy foods we all should be eating more of.  Enjoy!

This photos shows the little “broccoli” heads that give broccoli rabe its name, although in most parts of the world this is probably called Rapini.

And here’s a shot of the beautiful bunches of broccoli rabe I found at Sprouts.  This was a little more substantial than the greens I found at the farmers market, with thicker stems.

Cut off the thickest parts of the stems and discard, then cut the greens into thick strips.  Wash the greens and broccoli heads in the salad spinner if needed and spin dry.

Saute the broccoli rabe in a large frying pan until it’s slightly wilted and tender, about 3-5 minutes.

Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve hot.

And just to show why this recipe was so badly in need of an update, here’s the original photo from June 2006!

Sauteed Broccoli Rabe with Balsamic Vinegar
(Makes about 4 servings)

1 large bunch broccoli rabe
1 T extra virgin olive oil (or more)
1 T best quality balsamic vinegar (or more)
salt, pepper to taste


Cut the stems off the broccoli rabe and discard, and cut leaves into thick ribbons crosswise. Wash in salad spinner and spin dry if needed.

Heat olive oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add broccoli rabe and saute 3-5 minutes, until semi wilted, but still a little bit crisp. Turn off heat, drizzle balsamic vinegar over the broccoli rabe, season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

South Beach Suggestions:
Greens are the most healthful foods you can eat, and when they’re sauteed in heart-healthy olive oil like this, they make a great low-glycemic side dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn’t have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Ideas with Broccoli Rabe:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Broccoli Rabe with Caramelized Onions ~ Simply Recipes
Penne with Sausage, Beans, and Broccoli Rabe ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Meatball Soup with Broccoli Rabe ~ Kitchen Parade
Sauteed Broccoli Rabe with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Pizza ~ TasteFood
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)  

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9 comments on “Easy Sauteed Broccoli Rabe (Rapini) with Balsamic Vinegar”

  1. The cooked rabe looks absolutely delicious – kind of reminds me of sauteed kangkong which i’m missing terribly. Saying that, i’ve never had rabe before so i’m judging by the looks. 🙂

  2. Mae, this was only my second time eating it. I like the flavor a lot.

  3. Beautiful colors, love the plating! Are you cooking while out of town??

  4. The broccoli rabe looks wonderful–I’m a big fan. Have fun in Frisco! (It’s considered very bad form to call it that!)

  5. The one time we tried Broccoli Rabe it was okay, but was a bit too bitter for us. We may have to give it another shot just to try this one out!

  6. Kalyn! The round up is going really well and I can’t wait to post it.

    I know you are having a great time this weekend and hope to hear all about it.


  7. this is so weird!! i bought rappa on friday and blanched it then fried it with garlic and chilli. is rappa the same as broccoli rabe? is another name mustard greens? according to a lot of internet sites they are the same but ours didn’t have purple stems nor any flowering part. it was completely green and leafy.

  8. Pat, I wrote some posts at home and had them ready to publish. No cooking on vacation!

    Sher, I love broccoli rabe too. No surprise, we seem to like most of the same foods.

    Joe, try it again. I bet you would like this.

    Gabriella, thanks again for doing the recap. I know how much work it is.

    Anna, I think rappa is the same as broccoli rabe, but mustard greens are quite different. Mustard greens are a lot sharper and more bitter. The first time I had broccoli rabe it looked much different than this, but the taste was the same, so I assume there are different varieties.

  9. I love broccoli rabe, but haven't made it in a while – it's a bit bitter for my kids, so I blanch it sometimes. I like the touch of balsamic vinegar you used – will have to try that next time.

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