Easy Sautéed Broccoli Rabe is quick and simple to make. Also known as Rapini, this vibrant side dish is packed with flavor, vitamins and is perfect alongside so many dishes. 

Overhead shot of broccoli rabe with garlic on a white platter.

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe

For some vegetables, it takes a bit of artistry to cook them perfectly. Enter the humble Broccoli Rabe. If not cooked properly, Broccoli Rabe can be bitter and not very palatable. Just ask my sister, who needed to evacuate a bite of Broccoli Rabe from her mouth at a restaurant recently. It’s ok, I get it.

Soooo many people think they don’t like it because of that strong bitter flavor but there’s a trick to making it…..and making it well. But it’s super simple to do and doesn’t take much time at all. Which is great because Broccoli Rabe is fantastic on so many things like this easy Italian Pork Sandwich! If you think you don’t like it….it’s time to give it another try.

Broccoli Rabe with garlic on a white platter.

How To Cook Broccoli Rabe

It’s easy to prepare broccoli rabe, the key is to cook out some of the bitterness first.

  1. Blanche your rapini in a large pot of salted, boiling water  for a few minutes then transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. To blanche means to cook quickly in boiling water and an ice bath is simply a bowl of water with ice in it.
  2. Pat dry with a paper towel and set aside. You can do this in advance if you’re cooking for a dinner party or prepping ahead for the week. Simply store your blanched broccoli rabe in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  3. Sauté your broccoli rabe, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the rapini and cook for 2-3 minutes, tossing every once in awhile to coat in the garlic oil. 
  4. At this point, you can add additional flavorings like a splash of lemon juice or lemon zest. A pinch of red pepper flakes or a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

You could also toss your broccoli rabe with pasta and sausage for a very classic Italian recipe!

What is Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli Rabe, or Rapini, is a leafy green, cruciferous vegetable where the leaves, buds and stems are all edible. The small buds resemble broccoli but it is not actually broccoli, at all.

Known for it’s slightly bitter flavor, Rapini is most commonly found in mediterranean cuisine.

The difference between broccoli rabe and broccoli is that it has smaller florets, edible leaves and a more mild flavor than broccoli although it leans more towards bitter. It’s not related to broccoli at all and is, actually, from the turnip family. 

Since it’s becoming more popular, you can usually find broccoli rabe at your local grocery store or farmers markets when in season. 

Is It Broccoli Rabe Healthy

Broccoli Rabe is loaded with vitamins A, C and K. It also contains minerals like calcium, folate and iron, as well as, water and fiber which aids in digestion. 

What To Serve with Broccoli Rabe

Like I mentioned before, we love to serve this on our Roast Pork Sandwich, this Chicken Cutlet Sandwich or these Italian Style Hot Dogs for a fun game day twist. It’s also fantastic tossed with pasta and a bit of olive oil to add some flair to a classic pasta dish.

Served as a side dish, we love to enjoy Broccoli Rabe, or sautéed rapini  with a simple roasted chicken or alongside these easy Chicken Cutlets. We also chop it up and stir it into this Italian Sausage Soup for a little extra flavor.

Since you can serve broccoli rabe as a substitute for things like spinach, kale or broccoli….it’s an incredibly versatile way to punch up the flavor in an otherwise bland recipe.

Broccoli rabe on a white square platter with crushed red pepper flakes in a bowl.

More Easy Side Dish Ideas


Overhead shot of broccoli rabe with garlic on a white platter.

Get the Recipe: Sautéed Broccoli Rabe Recipe

Quick and easy, sautéed Broccoli Rabe is a healthy side dish that's not lacking in the flavor department. Earthy, bright and punchy, this is a great side for so many recipes.
1 from 1 vote


  • 2 bunches broccoli rabe
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5-7 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper


  • stockpot


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare the water bath by filling a large bowl with ice water.
  • Cut off and discard the tough ends of the broccoli rabe. Cut the broccoli rabe into 2 inch pieces, if desired, and transfer to a colander. (You can leave the broccoli rabe in long pieces as I did in the photos but it's easier to eat if you cut it up before hand.)
  • Rinse and drain the broccoli rabe. Transfer the broccoli rabe to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes until bright green in color.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli rabe to the ice bath and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Turn the heat to low and add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the broccoli rabe to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, tossing occasionally to coat with the garlic and oil. Season with salt and pepper tossing to coat.
  • Season with crushed red pepper, lemon juice or parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.


Raw broccoli rabe can be stored in the refrigerator in a loose plastic bag lined with paper towels to prevent condensation from forming. It’s best used within 3 days.
Cooked broccoli rabe will stay fresh in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 4 days.
Calories: 94kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 1782mg, Potassium: 237mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 2963IU, Vitamin C: 24mg, Calcium: 129mg, Iron: 3mg