Sauteed Brocoli Rabe yum (1)
- Rate us if you are a Food Lover (
  • Food: Sauteed Broccoli Rabe
  • Writer: Lizzie Green
  • Content-Type: Food Blog

This recipe for sautéed broccoli rabe is an attractive supper side dish. The fragile bitter greens are brightened with garlic, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice.

One of my favorite green vegetables is broccoli rabe. It’s more closely linked to turnips than broccoli, despite its name, and it has a distinct bitter, peppery flavor to show for it.

I included it in the Sides section of my most recent cookbook, Love & Lemons Every Day, but I recently discovered that the blog lacks any broccoli rabe recipes. What the hell happened there?

This dish for sautéed broccoli rabe is here to put things right. It’s very easy to make – a colorful, nutrient-dense side dish that can be thrown together any night of the week.

I hope you give broccoli rabe a try if you’ve never cooked it before! The fragile bitter greens are brightened with red pepper flakes, garlic, and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. It’s a recipe you’ll prepare again and again since it’s simple and elegant.

Broccoli Rabe Cooking Instructions

Sauteed Brocoli Rabes easy (1)
Food: Sauteed Brocoli Rabes (Source: America’s Test Kitchen)

I want my vegetables to have a good al dente bite when I cook them. Sorry, but I’m not a fan of soggy green beans or roasted radishes. The exception is broccoli rabe (also known as rapini).

To soften the rough stems and lighten the bitter flavor, we’ll boil it far past al dente in this dish. We don’t want it to be mushy, but it should be well-done. There’s a reason why raw rapini dishes are hard to come by.

As a result, my approach to cooking broccoli rabe consists of two steps: blanching and sautéing. Blanching is an extra step, but it saves time in the long run because it softens the thick stems quickly.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat, then add the greens and cook for 2 minutes, or until brilliant green and softening. To stop the cooking process, place them in a dish of icy water, drain, and pat them dry.

Cook the rapini until it’s totally cooked in a skillet with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. This should be a simple step; after blanching the greens, they only need to cook for another 3-5 minutes on the stove.

Serving Suggestions for Broccoli Rabe

I frequently serve sautéed broccoli rabe as a side dish, with a generous touch of lemon. It goes well with a variety of Italian cuisines. Serve with creamy polenta, handmade pizza, or any of the following pasta dishes:

  • Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Kale
  • Fettuccine Alfredo
  • Spaghetti Aglio E Olio
  • Tagliatelle with Asparagus and Peas
  • Easy Baked Ziti

Broccoli rabe sautéed is also a great complement to pasta dishes! In this substantial winter pasta with plant-based sausage, orecchiette, and Parmesan cheese, I enjoy its somewhat bitter flavor.

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe

Time to Prepare: 10 minutes
7-Minute Cooking Time
Serves: 4

A simple, attractive supper side dish, this sautéed broccoli rabe recipe! I like to pair it with Italian dishes like spaghetti or polenta.


  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedge, for squeezing


Sauteed Brocoli Rabes (1)
Food: Sauteed Brocoli Rabes (Source: America’s Test Kitchen)
  1. Trim the broccoli rabe’s ends to 12 inches. Make a large pot of salted boiling water and an ice bath in a large bowl. Place the broccoli rabe in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes to blanch. Remove from the oven and immerse in ice water for 15 seconds to cool. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. (If used in this pasta recipe, stop here and follow the instructions for that recipe.)
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook for 30 seconds after adding the garlic, then add the red pepper flakes. Add the broccoli rabe and cook, shaking the pan and gently turning so that it cooks evenly, for 3 to 5 minutes, until soft, especially the stems. Remove the pan from the heat and drain any remaining liquid.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with a squeeze of lemon as a side dish.