Broccoli Rabe and Orecchiette

Broccoli, broccolini, broccoli rabe…I’ll take them all. We all know what broccoli looks like but it is a little confusing when it comes to broccolini and broccoli rabe because they look very similar. Rabe has more leafy greens and is slightly more bitter.  Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and chinese kale. Broccolini is a trademarked name so you will see other companies variation are labeled baby broccoli or asparation. Broccolini tastes is a little like  broccoli and asparagus. It is slightly sweet and milder than regular broccoli. Nutritionally, they are all very similar so you can’t go wrong picking one or the other 🙂  I mostly find broccoli rabe in my stores. Which do you find in yours?

Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli rabe (pronounced “rob”) is a dark leafy green that is actually a closer relative of the turnip family than broccoli. While it was originally cultivated in the Mediterranean and China, it is well known around the world by many names, such as rapini, Italian or Chinese broccoli, and turnip broccoli.

Broccoli rabe’s ruffled leaves and tiny florets have a softer look that’s countered by a bitter flavor more reminiscent of mustard greens or kale than broccoli. It’s bite is as bold as its nutritional contribution: A one-cup serving provides more than 100 percent of the daily value (% DV, based on 2,000 calories per day) of vitamin K (shown to help build bone density in women) and the powerful antioxidant vitamins A (21% DV) and C (13% DV.) In addition, broccoli rabe contains folate, iron and calcium.

Broccoli rabe  contains lutein and zeaxanthin, phytonutrients that protect the retina of the eye from oxidative damage and may slow the onset of age-related macular degeneration.

Every part of broccoli rabe is edible, though the tough stem bottoms are usually removed before cooking. Blanching them briefly in lightly salted water will reduce the bitterness. Broccoli rabe is available year round, but peak season is late fall to early spring when cool weather softens its flavor. Choose young rabe with crisp, vibrant-colored leaves for milder flavor.

Broccoli Rabe Nutrition

(per 1 cup)
  • Calories :9
  • Vitamin A: 1049 IU
  • Vitamin C: 8.1 mg
  • Vitamin K: 89.6 μg
  • Folate: 33.2 μg
  • Calcium: 43.2 mg
  • Iron: 0.9 mg
  • Lutein & zeaxanthin: 448 μg

Read more about Broccoli rabe via Broccoli Rabe: Broccoli’s Bolder Cousin – Environmental Nutrition Article. —Lori Zanteson


Broccoli Rabe and Orecchiette

Broccoli Rabe & Orecchiette

Adapted from Cuisine at Home


8 oz orecchiette pasta

1 bunch broccoli rabe, rinsed and trimmed

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 cup onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1  can great northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 tsp dried basil

1 cup vegetable broth

1/4 tsp black pepper

Shredded Parmesan Cheese


Cook pasta according to package directions.

Heat olive oil to medium sauté pan. Add onions and garlic, sauté until fragrant.

Stir in beans and basil, toss to coat.  Add in vegetable broth and black pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add in broccoli rabe and cook for another 2 minutes. Broccoli rabe should be bright green and still crunchy.

Serve Broccoli rabe mixture on top of orecchiette. Top with shredded parmesan cheese.


Broccoli Rabe and Orecchiette Pasta

This is one of my favorite meals, it’s an all in one meal…pasta, vegetable and protein.  The broccoli rabe provides a nice crispness to go along with the beans and pasta.  I love how orecchiette holds the sauce in its little cup. 😀

I hope you will give it a try and let me know what you think.

Environmental Nutrition Broccoli Rabe

15 thoughts on “Broccoli Rabe and Orecchiette

  1. You know I was just having this conversation the other day about the different broc- veggies. Thanks for the tips! I don’t think I’ve tried broccolini or broccli rabe but I’m sure I’d like both. Broccolini sounds really good! Your recipe looks awesome too!

  2. I mostly find broccoli rabe in my stores too. The look of the broccoli rabe in recipes is very appealing to the eye. I would like to make this meal in the near future. I’m getting back into cooking and this meal seems like it would be a winner with my family and not too hard to make! 🙂

  3. I love Orecchiette pasta. I have one of my own recipes that is a easy to make as this one you have posted here. Link: .
    Thanks for viewing my blog at Savor the Food. I seen you liked the Food Science 101. I also noted you have a BA in Food Science. I really would appreciate your comments about the post.

    I will be exploring more of your blog. I will bookmark as well as follow Clean and Green Nutrition. I appreciate Cindy that you give the nutritional value of your recipes. Thanks for sharing.

    Looking forward to more posts from Cindy and Clean and Green Nutrition. 🙂

    Chef Randall

  4. Pingback: Creamy Chicken Pasta | Stubborn's Place

  5. Pingback: 15 Minute Healthy Meals:Fettuccine with Spicy Sausage and Broccoli Rabe | My Mind, Body, Soul Challenge

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