How to Cook the Best Broccoli Rabe

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Best Broccoli Rabe Recipe
The Best Broccoli Rabe Recipe by Spinach Tiger

Let me tell you how to cook the best broccoli rabe. It’s an Italian favorite and one I did not grow up on. It came as a surprise to me that I would embrace broccoli rabe, as it is not broccoli, does not taste like broccoli, and takes a paradigm tasting shift to appreciate it. It’s in the mustard green family and  has that bitter (but not unpleasant) taste that marries perfectly with garlic, olive oil and a bit of salt and crushed red pepper.

Broccoli Rabe Recipe from Angela Roberts

Once you understand that broccoli rabe is supposed to bitter and needs certain ingredients to make it shine, you will love it.

We love it on pizza. I made this sheet pan pizza. 

Broccoli Rabe Recipe with Pizza from Spinach Tiger

We love it on this pasta dish. Broccoli rabe is most often eaten with orecchieti and a good serving of pecorino romano.

Broccoli Rabe Recipe with Orecchiette

Love it in a sandwich.

Love this broccoli rabe recipe all by itself.

This broccoli rabe recipe is perfectly balanced and has that umami component that makes you want more.

The Best Broccoli Rabe Recipe from Spinach Tiger

Just for fun, I once paired broccoli rabe with homemade chocolate pasta because I wanted to try something unique.

Broccoli Rabe Recipe Process

Buy broccoli rabe fresh. There should be no yellowing flowers.

Trim stems, submerge in boiling water for a few minutes, and then shock in ice bath to maintain that beautiful green color. At this point, you can refrigerate until you’re ready to sauté for later, or drain well and sauté in garlic and olive oil.

How to Cook Broccoli Rabe Recipe from Spinach Tiger

If you make this broccoli rabe recipe, please hashtag #spinachtiger. I would love to see what you do on Instagram. And, please let me know how you make it.

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4.19 from 11 votes

How to Cook the Best Broccoli Rabe Recipe

Broccoli Rabe, an Italian Green Vegetable with olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, great on pasta, pizza in sandwiches or a great side dish.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Author: Angela Roberts


  • 1 bunch of broccoli rabe
  • 2 cups ice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Wash, rinse, trim about 2 inches of stems.
  • Submerge in boiling water for 4-5 minutes until soft.
  • Drain, put in ice bath to maintain bright green color.
  • Cool, drain, pat dry with paper towels.
  • Chop into one inch or less pieces.
  • Saute garlic just until softened.
  • Add in broccoli rabe.
  • Saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add red pepper flakes.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

Please follow me on instagram. If you make this recipe,  please tag me #spinachtiger.

If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo

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  1. Thanks so much for this recipe. My neighbor gave me 6 large bunches! Was wondering if anyonr has made chips from the leaves, like I do with Kale? Olive oil, garlic salt & pepper.


  2. 5 stars
    I have a similar way to prepare, but don’t use the ice. I blanch (for exactly 1 and 1/2 minutes in salted, boiling water) the cut and cleaned broccoli rabe, remove from water, and immediately toss into pan that has garlic simmered in EV olive oil, a little vegetable broth, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes. I cook/saute (stirring every few minutes) until the broccoli rabe is tender and still dark green – maybe 3-4 minutes. Add more salt to taste AND for extra umami flavor, a T. of nutritional yeast flakes. I like my vegetables al dente, mind you. So simple and so delicious. (If you want to cook later, I think that the submersion in ice is a great idea, then transfer to fridge for cooking at another time.)

  3. 5 stars
    Trying the broccoli rabe recipe tonight. Thank you very much! The recipe comes with 12 embedded advertisements! Good grief! It chopped the recipe like it was in a blender. I persevered but I think a lot of cooks would just blow off the recipe and move on to some other source.

  4. 5 stars
    Hi there! I just wanted to share that I made this for dinner but added shiitake mushrooms. This was a real hit and my husband couldn’t get enough of it. I’ll be making it again very soon, thank you for sharing.

  5. My parents loved anything that was bitter — I love broccoli raab and I cook spinach and kale with the garlic and hot pepper flakes. But doggone I haven’t used it for pizza! Thank you for the inspiration and I haven’t used it in pasta either. I’ve got to get cooking! Have a great week!

  6. I didn’t grow up with it either. Learned about it through a segment on Regis & Kathie Lee that was featuring Rao’s Italian Restaurant in NYC. It’s delicious, and bitter, and I cooked it just as you described it. That ice bath preserves the color.

4.19 from 11 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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