While eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is important, dark leafy greens are perhaps the best nutritional bang for your caloric buck. Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, and broccoli rabe are like nature’s multivitamins. These greens pack in a laundry list of important nutrients (vitamins A, C, and K, folate, copper, manganese, potassium, iron, calcium, fiber, and antioxidants, to name a few) all for about 30 calories per cup. The more vibrant the shade of green, the more nutrient-rich the leaves.
Whereas spinach and kale may be familiar favorites, broccoli rabe is an unsung nutritional hero. Also called “rapini” or “broccoli raab”, this cruciferous vegetable resembles broccoli, but doesn’t form a large head. It has a nutty, robust, and somewhat bitter flavor. The leaves, buds, and stems are edible.
Broccoli rabe is delicious when blanched, then sautéed in olive oil, salt, and garlic. Blanching is a type of cooking process (think of it as an abbreviated boil). Place your greens in salted boiling water for only 30 seconds to a minute. Watch as the plant’s color goes from green to greener. Remove with a strainer, then submerge in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. The blanching process does two important things: it breaks down the plant’s fiber, making its nutrients more easily absorbed in our gut. Blanching also softens the greens, which cuts down the overall cooking time.
Still looking for inspiration about cooking with broccoli rabe? We’ve got you covered. Check out these recipes from our broccoli rabe grower. Better yet, watch (and taste!) a recipe being made in-person. Attend our live Broccoli Rabe Cooking Demos and taste this nutritional powerhouse for yourself.