Side/ Vegetarian

Roasted Broccoli Rabe

March 25, 2019 (Last Updated: May 28, 2020) by Chef Molly

Easy recipe to get your greens in! This roasted broccoli rabe side dish is quick and delicious, and brings a little something different to the dinner table.

roasted broccoli rabe

It is a loosely-guarded chef’s secret that roasting makes almost anything taste better. Roasting may also be one of the easiest ways to cook vegetables, and as such, I find myself roasting veggies at least a few times a week. Broccoli is a favorite, but when I want something a little different, I serve up this Roasted Broccoli Rabe.

What is Broccoli Rabe?

Broccoli rabe, or broccoli rapini, is a dark green leafy vegetable with clusters of small broccoli-like florets. The stems, leaves, and florets are all edible, and have a more bitter flavor than broccoli with a slight nuttiness. And even better, broccoli rabe is seriously good for you. Packed with vitamins A, C, and K, it’s also a good source of folate, potassium, fiber, and calcium. Look for dark green bundles without yellowing leaves or flowering florets. Bundles with smaller leaves are generally younger plants, which may have a more mild flavor and be more tender when cooked.

Broccoli Rabe vs. Broccolini

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between broccoli rabe and broccolini? Or if there is one? In truth, they are completely different plants. Broccolini, like its close cousin broccoli, is a member of the cabbage family. It’s actually a hybrid of broccoli as we know it and Chinese broccoli. The taste of broccolini is similar to broccoli, and you can eat the florets, leaves, and stems without having to peel the stems. Broccoli rabe, on the other hand, is most related to the turnip plant, which explains its slightly bitter greens (similar to turnip greens or mustard greens).

How Do You Cook Broccoli Rabe?

Often, broccoli rabe is blanched in boiling water, drained, and then sautéed with any number of savory accompaniments. But I find roasting tames its bitterness, while crisping its leaves like addictive kale chips.

How Do You Make Roasted Broccoli Rabe?

First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Then line a sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Rinse one bunch of broccoli rabe, cut off the very bottom of each stalk, then cut the stems into 1-2 inch chunks. Leaves and florets can be left whole. Toss the broccoli rabe with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (if desired) in a large bowl. Then spread out into one layer on sheet pan. Roast broccoli rabe for 15 minutes, or until stems are tender and leaves are crispy.

Recipe Tips:

  • You might wonder whether you can roast the broccoli rabe stalks whole, rather than cutting them into bite-sized chunks. You certainly can, though the fibrous stems are harder to cut once the rapini is roasted. Chopping it in advance means you can just pop the pieces in your mouth once they’re on your plate.
  • Depending on the size of your broccoli rabe bundle, you may want to spread out over 2 sheet pans instead of 1. Keeping the broccoli rabe in one thin layer ensures that it roasts rather than steams, so you get crispy leaves and lightly browned stems and florets.

Ingredient Tips:

  • For this and all roasting recipes, use a medium-range basic olive oil. I like Whole Foods‘ 365 Everyday Value Olive Oils and California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil. These are not too pricey, and you can use them for almost everything—they’re great in a basic vinaigrette like my Meyer Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette as well. If you splurge on some really great olive oil, save it for a special salad dressing or a finishing drizzle on some ripe tomatoes.
  • I use crushed red pepper in this recipe, because I find that a little bit of heat is a great pairing with the slight bitterness of the broccoli rabe, but feel free to omit it or replace it with regular black pepper.
broccoli rabe on sheet pan

Other Delicious Roasted Vegetable Recipes

Did I mention that roasting makes everything taste better? That’s one of my main techniques with working with almost any vegetable. If you have kids in the house, you might want to try my simple and kid-friendly Roasted Broccoli and Carrots. Ever see a romanesco broccoli at the farmers’ market and wonder what to do with it? Try my Roasted Romanesco Broccoli recipe. And, don’t worry, you can roast more than just green vegetables. How about giving my Roasted Turnips with Honey recipe a whirl?

And, with this recipe or any of these other roasted vegetable recipes, you can add another level of deliciousness by serving them with this Truffle Aioli on the side.

roasted broccoli rabe

Roasted Broccoli Rabe

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Easy recipe for roasted broccoli rabe, using just a few ingredients. Great side dish for meat, fish, or tofu dishes!

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 1/4 t. crushed red pepper (if desired)

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
    2. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
    3. Rinse broccoli rabe, cut off the very bottom of each stalk, then cut the stems into 1-2 inch chunks. Leaves and florets can be left whole.
    4. Toss the broccoli rabe with the olive oil, salt, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl, then spread out into one layer on sheet pan.
    5. Roast broccoli rabe for 15 minutes, or until stems are tender and leaves are crispy.

Notes

Depending on the size of your broccoli rabe bundle, you may want to spread out over 2 sheet pans instead of 1. Keeping the broccoli rabe in one thin layer ensures that it roasts rather than steams, so you get crispy leaves and lightly browned stems and florets.

You might wonder whether you can roast the broccoli rabe stalks whole, rather than cutting them into bite-sized chunks. You certainly can, though the fibrous stems are harder to cut once the rapini is roasted. Chopping it in advance means you can just pop the pieces in your mouth once they're on your plate.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 62Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 294mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.

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