Rapini is also known as Broccoli rabe is a cruciferous vegetable that’s becoming increasingly popular in the health and nutrition world. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, broccoli rabe is a nutrient-dense food that can provide numerous health benefits.
In this article, we’ll look at the nutritional value of broccoli rabe and its potential health benefits.
So whether you’re looking for a healthy side dish or an easy way to add more vegetables to your diet, read on to learn more about this unique and nutritious vegetable.’
What is Rapini?
Rapini, also known as broccoli rabe, ruvo kale, or raab, is a green cruciferous vegetable with small broccoli-like florets and leaves resembling those of kale.
The vegetable is part of the Brassica family belonging to the same subspecies as the turnip.
Other vegetables from the brassica/ cruciferous vegetables include bok choy, napa cabbage, kale, broccoli, mustard greens, and turnip, among others.
Raab is often used in Italian, Chinese, or Portuguese cuisine and can be enjoyed cooked or raw in salads or as a side dish.
It has a distinct bitterness to it and is usually cooked with garlic, olive oil, and red pepper flakes for a delicious flavor.
Not only is it delicious, but it’s also packed with vitamins and minerals that can help keep your body healthy.
It’s a good source of fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, and minerals such as calcium and iron. It also contains phytochemicals that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These nutrients work together to provide numerous health benefits.
What is the difference between broccoli and Rapini?
Broccoli and broccoli rabe are both members of the Brassica family, which also includes cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts. However, the two are not the same. The main difference between broccoli and broccoli rabe is that broccoli is a cultivar of B. oleracea, while broccoli rabe is a separate species, B. Rapa.
In terms of their features, broccoli heads are round with tight florets arranged in a tree-like structure, while broccoli rabe has long, slender stems with small leaves and smaller flower buds clustered together.
The leaves of broccoli rabe are more like those of turnip greens than those of broccoli. Additionally, broccoli rabe is more bitter than sweet, while broccoli has a milder flavor.
When it comes to nutrition, their profile is almost similar.
They are good sources of vitamins A, C, and K, fiber, and antioxidants. A slight variation would be that broccoli rabe contains more calcium than broccoli does.
Rapini Nutritional Facts
Like other cruciferous vegetables, rapini is a nutrient powerhouse high in various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like glucosinolates and sulforaphane. It’s also a good source of fiber essential for digestive health, among other benefits.
100 grams of boiled broccoli rabe can provide up to
- Calories: 33
- Carbs: 3.4 grams
- Fiber: 2.8 grams
- Protein: 3.8 grams
- Fat: 0.5 gram
- Vitamin K: 256 mcg, or 320 percent of the daily value (DV)
- Vitamin A: 4534IU, or 91 percent of the DV
- Vitamin C: 37.0 mg, or 62 percent of the DV
- Folate: 71.0 mcg, or 18 percent of DV
- Manganese: 0.4 mg, or 19 percent of DV
- Vitamin E: 2.5 mg, or 13 percent of DV
- Calcium: 118 mg: 12 percent of DV
- Vitamin B6: 0.2 mg, or 11 percent of DV
- Potassium: 343 mg, or 10 percent of DV
- Iron: 1.3 mg, or 7 percent of DV
- Magnesium: 27.0 mg, or 7 percent of DV
- Zinc: 0.5 mg, or 4 percent of DV
Health Benefits of Broccoli Rabe
1. Lowers blood pressure
Like other leafy greens, raab is high in vitamins and minerals, including potassium. Potassium is a key mineral for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
Numerous studies have shown that diets rich in potassium can help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension and those with normal blood pressure levels.
Additionally, raab contains antioxidants like glucosinolates, which have been shown to lower blood pressure by promoting the production of nitric oxide in the body.
Nitric oxide is a molecule that helps to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow.
In addition, broccoli rabe is a good source of fiber, potassium, and magnesium, all of which are nutrients that are known to help lower blood pressure.
2. Improves heart health
Besides lowering blood pressure, glucosinolates have also been shown to protect the heart by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
They also help lower cholesterol levels which can lead to plaque formation within the arteries.
Also, glucosinolates can improve blood vessel function. Together, these effects can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Additionally, broccoli Rabe is an excellent source of other antioxidants like flavonoids, carotenoids, phenolic compounds, and vitamin C, which are nutrients that help protect your cells from damage.
Antioxidants can help reduce your risk of heart disease by keeping your arteries clear and improving blood flow. They also play a role in lowering cholesterol and maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
According to a recent study, a higher intake of cruciferous vegetables was associated with decreased risk of heart disease mortality. The study found that increasing vegetable intake by one serving reduced the risk of atherosclerotic vascular disease (ASVD) related mortality.
3. Controls blood sugar levels
Raab can control blood sugar levels in a few different ways:
One is by providing a good source of fiber, which can help slow down sugar absorption into the bloodstream.
Another is by helping increase insulin sensitivity, which can help the body better process sugars.
Finally, broccoli rabe contains a compound called sulforaphane, which has been shown to help improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Generally, cruciferous vegetables have been associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
4. Boosts immunity
Broccoli rabe is packed with nutrients that can help boost your immune system. Vitamin C, for instance, is an essential nutrient for immunity.
Broccoli rabe also contains beta-carotene, a compound that the body converts into vitamin A.
Vitamin A is important for maintaining the health of mucous membranes, which act as a barrier against infection.
5. Promotes bone and joint health
Raab is an excellent source of calcium, which is essential for bone health. It also contains vitamin K, which is important for bone metabolism.
In addition, raab is a good source of magnesium, which is necessary for proper bone mineralization.
Furthermore, broccoli rabe contains glucosinolates, which have been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Glucosinolates work by inhibiting the excessive activity of osteoclasts, cells that break down bone tissue. In addition, glucosinolates promote the formation of new bone cells.
6. Reducing the risk of cancer
According to research, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli rabe can help reduce the risk of colorectal and gastric cancer, which are both common causes of death worldwide.
One study found that these vegetables could reduce the risk of gastric cancer by 19% and that of colorectal cancer by 8%.
The best-known and well-studied anticancer compounds in raab are glucosinolates. These compounds have been shown to lower oxidative stress, promote the death of cancerous cells and inhibit cancer cell growth.
Raab is also packed with phytochemicals and anti-inflammatory compounds that work together to keep your cells healthy and free from damage.
For instance, they are rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Sulforaphane works by inducing apoptosis or cancer cell death, thus preventing cancer proliferation.
7. Promotes proper digestion
When it comes to proper digestion, broccoli rabe is a powerhouse. This cruciferous vegetable is packed with fiber and other nutrients that promote gut health.
For instance, broccoli rabe contains prebiotic fiber, which feeds the good bacteria in your gut and helps keep your digestive system running smoothly. I
Also, broccoli rabe contains compounds like glucosinolates and sulforaphane, which have been shown to protect against gastrointestinal infections.
In addition, broccoli rabe is a good source of vitamins A and C, both of which are important for gut health.
Vitamin A promotes a healthy mucosal lining in the intestines, while vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help ease inflammation in the gut.
8. Improved eye health
Carotenoids are a type of pigment found in fruits and vegetables and have been linked to eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two of the most studied carotenoids, and both are found in broccoli rabe.
These nutrients help to filter out blue light and protect the eyes from damage. They also play a role in preventing age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults.
How to Cook Rapini
One of the simplest ways to cook broccoli rabe is to steam it. Fill a pot with a few inches of water and insert a steaming basket. Cut the broccoli rabe into manageable pieces and add it to the basket. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Steam the broccoli rabe for 3-5 minutes, or until it is tender.
Another easy way to cook broccoli rabe is to sauté it. Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the broccoli rabe and cook for 5-7 minutes, occasionally stirring, until it is wilted and tender. For extra flavor, you can also add garlic, onions, bell pepper or other seasonings to this dish.
If you’re looking for something more hearty, try roasting your broccoli rabe. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the broccoli rabe into pieces and toss with olive oil and salt. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes or until crispy and browned in spots. Serve as is or with your favorite dipping sauce.
Add it to salads
There are endless possibilities when it comes to adding broccoli rabe to salads. One of my favorites is a simple Italian-style salad with diced tomatoes, red onion, Kalamata olives, and a light dressing.
Another great option is to use broccoli rabe in place of spinach or kale in a healthy green salad. Broccoli rabe is also delicious when added to grain salads like quinoa or farro.
And if you’re looking for a hearty salad that will fill you up, try adding some grilled tofu to your broccoli rabe salad.
This recipe is perfect for summertime grilling! Start by preheating your grill to medium-high heat. Cut the ends off of the broccoli rabe and toss it in some olive oil or cooking spray. Grill for 5-7 minutes per side, or until slightly charred. Remove from grill and season with sea salt, pepper,
Broccoli Rabe Pesto
This pesto is made with fresh broccoli rabe, garlic, olive oil, vegan parmesan cheese, and salt. It’s simple to make, and it’s packed with flavor. Plus, it’s a great way to use up any extra broccoli rabe that you may have.
To make the pesto, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
You may need to add a little bit more olive oil if the pesto is too thick. Once it’s blended, taste it and adjust the seasoning as needed. Transfer the pesto to a jar or container and store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
When you’re ready to use the pesto, simply spread it on some bread or crackers, or toss it with some pasta. It’s also delicious on grilled tofu. And if you want to get really creative, try using it as a pizza sauce!
Boiling broccoli rabe is also an option, though it will make the vegetable milder in flavor.
To boil broccoli rabe, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the broccoli rabe. Cover and let it boil for 5-10 minutes or until tender. Drain any excess water and season as desired, or use it in recipes.
Broccoli rabe is a nutrient-dense vegetable packed with various nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K, fiber, folate, manganese, and potassium.
Eating broccoli rabe regularly may help reduce inflammation, improve heart health, support healthy digestion, and even boost your immune system.
With its unique flavor, it’s an easy way to add variety to your meals — especially when cooked in olive oil or garlic for added flavor!
Whether you roast it, steam it, sauté it in a stir fry dish or simply eat it raw as part of a salad or side dish — broccoli rabe is an excellent choice for including more vegetables into your diet.
Other Vegetables To Try
- Sauteed Frozen Spinach
- Gomen (Ethiopian Collard Greens)
- Broccoli Leaves Recipe
- Jamaican Callaloo
- Air Fryer Kale Chips
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