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Broccoli Rabe

As a child, I truly hated Broccoli Rabe. My family would make it all the time and I wanted nothing to do with it. They'd say, "Just try it, you may like it" and I'd say, "Bleech! No way!"

But as an adult, I can't get enough of this bitter, nutty tasting green. It goes great on a sandwich with sausage and fresh provolone and I also love it as a side for London Broil.

This is my first attempt at growing Broccoli Rabe in the garden and I'm really happy with the results. Garden grown Broccoli Rabe seems to be a lot less bitter. It'll a cool season crop, so I had to plant it in April. And it will bolt once the weather gets too warm, so enjoy it while you can. I'm going to plant some more in late August for a nice fall crop. Yum!

This batch made it's way into a bowl of cavatelli, sausage and sun dried tomatoes. When I asked my son if he wanted to try some his response was a familiar, "Bleech, no way!" Oh well, he'll learn.


  1. Colleen said...
    Yum! I love broccoli rabe. I tried growing it last year, but I put it in too late and hardly got to harvest any before it bolted. One of my favorite ways to eat it is as a side dish: saute with olive oil and a little garlic, sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper...yum!

    My kids won't eat it either. Or spinach, or kale...basically any cooked leafy green gets a "Yuck!"
    Marc said...
    I hate to admit it. I've even gone through the Master Gardener program and I've never heard of Broccoli Rabe. I guess I don't do enough cooking.

    Do you use it more like an herb than a vegetable?

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
    Anthony said...
    Colleen, yes, I think most kids are "allergic" to leafy greens. :)

    Marc, From an appearance point of view, think of spinach greens with tiny broccoli heads mixed in. Although it doesn't taste like broccoli or spinach at all.

    It's very popular in Italian households and I think there's some sort of Chinese variety too.
    P~ said...
    Sounds like good stuff, I've heard of it, but never tried it. My cool season crops got in a little late, and we had unseasonably warm early spring weather so not doing to well on the leafy greens front around my place. Although the Chard is coming along well, but can you really kill chard?

    Anthony, I finally posted the column on the composter I was telling you about. Check it out and please, any suggestions/critiques are welcome.
    steven said...
    Anthony, I just spent yesterday afternoon blanching and freezing about 15 pounds of cimi di rapa. I put a some aside and made campanelli with sun dried tomatoes, garlic, pancetta, chile flakes and oil.
    Anthony said...
    P~, Awesome! Very resourceful to use a pickle barrel to build a compost tumbler.

    See his post on how he built a
    Homemade Compost Tumbler

    Steven, How's the taste when you freeze it? Maybe I'll try and plant a lot more this fall.
    steven said...
    Anthony, The taste is fine, the texture suffers slightly, but it's nice to have it around in the middle of a Lake Effect snowstorm.
    Ottawa Gardener said...
    I love it too. It's quicker to the plate, easier to grow, and takes less room than broccoli! It also tastes great, kind of like mustard. It's fantastic in stir fry.

    (My 3.5 yr old daughter told me without doubt she did NOT like broccoli rabe even if it DID come from the garden.) Normally, she loves everything that comes from the garden. She's a veggie snob.
    Ki said...
    I was surprised to learn that although classified under the broad family of plants of the Brassica designation, broccoli rabe is more closely related to the radish/mustard than the cabbages and broccoli.

    I love it just the way Colleen does but with lots of garlic and hot peppers added too. Great with aglio e olio.

    Unfortunately other in my family don't like it so I rarely buy it anymore.
    seedling said...
    I love broccoli rabe. I just might have to try that myself in August. Are the seeds difficult to come by?
    Matron said...
    I grew it for the first time this year. It is very new here in England, I was not sure what to expect. The packet said that it was a broccoli substitute that would be ready in weeks instead of months! I was disappointed, I cooked it. Perhaps I should try it as a raw salad veg. I'll give it another go.
    Lingo said...
    i was wondering if you can tell me where to get good seeds for vegetables. I want to plant broccoli rabe too because i just recently fell in love with this vegetable :) lingo340@yahoo.com
    Tabby said...
    You can get it from http://www.vegetableplantsdirect.co.uk/shop/search.php?q=broccoli+rabe&pageid=455135 - I've just ordered some as plants, £2.99 for 10! You can also buy the seeds from the excellent realseeds.co.uk: http://www.realseeds.co.uk/broccoli.html
    In Italian it's called 'Cima de Rapa'.
    Tabby said...
    Oops - those are UK companies and you're probably not in the UK! Sorry. :-)
    sabdra said...
    I live in coastal Virginia (hot summers) and I don't know when to start a fall crop of broccoli rabe. I fell in love with it in Naples, Italy where it is called friarielli. It costs a fortune in the suppermarkets when you can find it.
    Anthony said...
    I'd start in August and plant some more every two weeks or so. I'm usually good when I plant during the 1st two weeks of August but with the crazy weather this year it's anyone's guess. At least seeds are cheap. Good luck.
    Anonymous said...
    Well it's to late for August but I'm going out tomorrow morning and put those seeds in the ground. I sure hope it works. I've told all my friends about it so I hope I can come up with a crop.

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