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wake up the garden with great greens; broccoli rabe

by dig the dirt editor

If you enjoy robust flavors with a lot of spirit, join me in growing a crop of broccoli raab this spring. Also known as "cima di rapa" or "rapini," this rich tasting Italian vegetable is a fast growing early spring bonanza.

Broccoli raab plants produce flavorful leaves and tender juicy stalks topped with buds that look like tiny broccoli florets. Both leaves and stalks have a fine robust flavor, somewhat like broccoli but more hearty and spicy. Broccoli raab is planted in cool spring weather about the time you sow radishes. It likes a rich, well-drained soil in full sun.


Planting Broccoli Raab:

  • Start 3-4 weeks before the first frost
  • Good in The spring, but best in the fall
  • plant 1" apart
  • plant 1/2" deep
  • young seedlings should be thinned until plants stand about 4 to 6 inches apart
  • harvest by cutting off these leafy stalks at 7-8 inches tall. Then fertilize well to get a second harvest a few weeks later

Quick cooking with Broccoli Rabe:

  • First, blanch it quickly in a boiling water bath for a minute or two, then drain
  • Heat a little olive oil and a generous amount of chopped garlic and add the broccoli raab
  • Saute, stirring, just until tender about 5-6 minutes
  • Serve by itself, or toss with hot pasta and top with freshly grated hard cheese like Asiago or Parmesan



broccoli rabe, recipes, vegetable gardening