This fresh and flavourful Rapini Recipe is the only one you’ll ever need. Out of all the possible ways one can could Rapini, this is the recipe I ALWAYS turn to and it comes out perfect every single time!
This is the best Rapini Recipe, the only one that has been in the family forever and one that always, no matter what, has a place on our dinner table every single occasion. It’s quick and simple to make, a healthy and flavourful side dish to any meal and a true family favourite. This bright and vibrant green leafy vegetable is so underrated, IMHO. But, not in my house! I’ve been eating this stuff, in this exact way, for as long as I can remember. Hope yours is going to love it just as much as mine!
There’s nothing that reminds me of my Nonna and Nonno more than Rapini. And this Rapini Recipe in particular. For as long as I can remember, my family has been making it this way and I have been eating it this way. In fact, rapini is one of my all time favourite vegetables and side dishes. I just knowwww it’s going to be at every Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter or birthday dinner. And I most definitely know that it was just about time to add it to the Lagana Family Cooking Series.
But, in all honesty, it doesn’t have to be a special occasion for my mom to whip up a bunch of this perfectly sautéed Rapini. I can almost guarantee there’s a batch just waiting for me in a tupperware in the fridge every time I visit. And I would have it no other way! I crave this Rapini Recipe. I’m telling you…it’s absolutely perfect!
The other day, I asked the Boyfriend to grab a bunch of Rapini from the only Grocery Store I know sells it here on Vancouver Island. He said that when he did, at least four people asked him what on Earth it is and what it possibly tastes like. And then it hit me. People are actually missing out on this thing. So, in natural food blogging fashion, I took it as my duty to provide the internet with the only Rapini Recipe I know. And quite frankly, the only one you’ll ever need.
SO WHAT IS RAPINI AND WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?
Other than one of my all time favourite side dishes and/or vegetables altogether, Rapini is good for a lot of things. First and foremost, I have my Italian background to thank – for not only allowing me to grow up with this flawless Rapini Recipe all my life but also for conditioning me to never call it what you and half the world might know it as – which is Broccoli Rabe or Raab. It’s always been Rapini to me and in my books but whaddya know, it’s actually the same exact thing. Ah ha. So you knew what Rapini was this whole time. To my surprise, Rapini is just as popular in Chinese cooking as it is in Italian cooking and is one of the most overlooked vegetables in the produce section. Always going for it’s more well-known relative Broccoli, are ya?
Rapini is a green leafy vegetable and you don’t need me to tell you about the health benefits of eating green leafy vegetables, now do ya? There’s a reason people tell you to eat your greens! Overall, green leafy veggies provide plenty of good stuff like fibre, vitamins and antioxidants that are known for fighting certain diseases and are good for heart and brain health. Rapini is also rich in potassium, calcium and iron which work to boost the immune system, maintain healthy bones and regulate blood pressure. So, this Rapini Recipe? Definitely one we can feel good about eating.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE THE PERFECT RAPINI RECIPE
As you can see, there’s not much to this Rapini Recipe! It’s so super simple and quick to make…anyone can do it! As is always the rule with recipes as simple as this one, use good quality, fresh ingredients. It really makes a difference! Let’s talk about the ingredients in a little bit more detail down below:
- The Rapini: Fresh is best! You can find Rapini at most local Grocery Stores in the produce section. You want your Rapini bunch to be vibrant dark green with nice long and firm stems and lots of “flowers” (kinda look like broccoli florets). We use most of the bunch, trimming off only the ends of the stems then peeling away any tough fibers on bigger/thicker stems. PRO TIP: Split any really thick stems into two using a knife! This will ensure they don’t remain tough as they cook.
- Olive Oil: I swear by Extra Virgin Olive Oil and you likely won’t see me talking about any other kind of Olive Oil on this blog (unless infused). Good quality is the name of the game here and yes, it makes a difference.
- Garlic: Fresh is definitely best and I would not recommend substituting dried or garlic powder here. You don’t want to mince the garlic. We keep the cloves fairly whole, slicing any big ones into thinner pieces. Now, it’s up to you if you want to use the garlic to just season/flavour the oil or if you want to keep it in your final dish. I always keep it in because I LOVE GARLIC, OK!!!! Instructions for both ways are down below.
- Chili Flakes: Optional but definitely adds a nice kick to the dish. You can use as much or as little as you’d like the dish to be spicy.
- Salt/Pepper: Might seem a tad bit obvious but the dish would definitely be bland and seriously lack flavour if you skipped out on these two.
KEY TIPS FOR MAKING THIS RAPINI RECIPE
- Trim the stems of the Rapini off completely and slit any larger stems in half. Additionally, peel off the outer tough fibers on the stems using a knife. (Pictures of how to do this are down below in the Recipe Card). This will ensure the stems soften as they cook which will make eating them a lot more pleasant.
- Soak the loose Rapini in a sink full of water prior to cooking. This is not only a good way to clean the bunch but also the way we steam the Rapini during the cooking process. (see next point)
- When taking the Rapini out of the sink full of water, lightly shake it off but be sure to keep a lot of the water in tact on the actual Rapini as you’re transferring it to a skillet to cook. The water is important because it’ll help in steaming the Rapini as we don’t initially add any oil to the pan.
- Use a skillet with a tight fitting lid. Trapping the moisture will steam the Rapini as it cooks in the skillet.
- If you want to use the garlic only to season/flavour the oil: add some oil to the skillet with the garlic cloves. Sautée, stirring often, a few minutes until starting to brown. Remove from the pan and then continue with the rest of the instructions.
- If you want garlic to be part of your final dish: Add it to the pan with the Rapini and no oil. It’ll steam and soften as the Rapini steams.
- Be generous with your seasonings – they’re minimal but play a big roll in packing the punch for this Rapini recipe. Remember, Rapini is a bitter tasting Vegetable you’ll probably hate if not seasoned properly.
- Don’t overcook the Rapini. It doesn’t take long so pay close attention to make sure it doesn’t burn.
- Remove the lid immediately after cooking. Keeping the lid on will result in discolored (over-steamed) Rapini. It’ll still taste delicious but you won’t achieve that vibrant green colour you see here in the photos.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Many people find Rapini to be a bit bitter tasting. Which can be true if not seasoned properly. That’s why I emphasize the importance of the use of good quality ingredients in this one. There’s nothing fresh garlic, good quality olive oil, chili flakes, salt and pepper can’t mask.
Yes! That’s why I love it! Other than trimming the ends and peeling away some of the tough fibers on the stalks, the entire bunch of rapini is edible and delicious. The u0022flowersu0022, the leaves and the stalks/stems all get eaten.
No! That’s what the sink full of water is for. And being mindful of not shaking off to much of it when transferring it to the skillet to cook. The water plays an important part in steaming the rapini voiding the need to blanch it beforehand!
If stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge, leftover Rapini is good for up to a week. Leftovers make a great sandwich or pizza topping! Also great with sausages or pasta.
Our family Rapini Recipe and the only one you'll ever need.
- 1 bunch Rapini
- 5-10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half
- 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Chili Flakes, optional
- Slice the ends of the stems off the entire bunch of Rapini. Then, take any large ones and split it into two.
- Use a knife to peel back any tough fibers on larger stems all the way around.
- Fill a sink with cold water and put the Rapini in. Use your hands to submerge it and shuffle it around a bit.
- If you want to use the garlic only to season/flavour the oil/rapini: add some olive oil to a skillet with the garlic cloves over medium heat. Sautée, stirring often, a few minutes until starting to brown. Remove from the pan and then continue with the rest of the instructions (not adding any more garlic). If you want the garlic to be part of your final dish continue onto step 5.
- Heat a non-stick skillet with a tight fitting lid over medium heat.
- Working in batches, take the Rapini out of the water and lightly shake being sure to keep some of the water on the Rapini and transfer to the hot skillet. The skillet should sizzle.
- Add the garlic, put the lid on and allow the water to steam the Rapini until it is cooked through and wilted, about 5-10 minutes, opening the lid and flipping occasionally.
- Season with olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes, if using. Stir a few more minutes watching closely so nothing burns. The Rapini should be soft and tender. Transfer to a bowl and serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 75Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 79mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
LOOKING FOR MORE GREAT SIDE DISHES? I THINK YOU’LL LOVE THESE:
CAULIFLOWER RICE CILANTRO LIME
BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH BACON AND MAPLE SYRUP
NO POTATO CAULIFLOWER ‘POTATO’ SALAD
CHEESY CAULIFLOWER “MAC” AND CHEESE