Broiled Broccoli Rabe

This broiled broccoli rabe is an easy-peasy way to sneak some greens into your week. But not just any greens. These boast an uncharacteristic texture and retain their inherent sweetness. Simply toss with oil, garlic, salt, and crushed red chile flakes, broil, and squeeze with lemon.

Pieces of broiled broccoli rabe being turned over on a sheet pan by a person using tongs.

This favorite Italian broccoli variant is actually closely related to the turnip. Broiling broccoli rabe creates deep caramelization, which adds a touch of contrasting sweetness to the bitter notes of this vegetable. And it takes mere minutes, requiring nothing more than a rimmed baking sheet. Thanks to our broiling method, we were able to skip the usual step of blanching. We simply tossed the pieces with the garlicky oil and they were ready for the oven. For some true Italian comfort food, toss this with white beans. It also makes a bracing foil as a side dish for creamy fettuccine alfredo.–America’s Test Kitchen

What's the difference between broccoli rabe and broccolini?

Broccoli rabe and broccolini sound similar yet they’re quite dramatically different. Broccoli rabe is a rather unruly leafy green that’s actually kin to turnips, which explains its assertive bitterness (that can be somewhat tamed with proper cooking). It’s loaded not just with flavor but vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals, including calcium, folate, and iron. Broccolini looks more like broccoli but bears diminutive florets, slender stems, and a mild, some even say sweet taste. It’s actually a hybrid of broccoli and the leafy vegetable known as gai lan or Chinese broccoli and, as such, has all the nutritional benefits of any brassica, a family of vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.

Broiled Broccoli Rabe

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 15 M
  • Serves 4
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Adjust oven rack 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) from the broiler element and heat broiler on high. Slick a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil.

Tester tip: If you like a little charring on your vegetables, then adjust the oven rack to 4 inches away from the broiler element and keep a careful watch on your greens while broiling. Otherwise, stick with a safer 6 inches distance.

Cut tops (leaves and florets) of broccoli rabe from stalks, keeping tops whole, then cut stalks into 1-inch (25-mm) pieces. Spread stalks and tops on the prepared sheet.

In a small bowl, combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, salt, and pepper flakes. Pour oil mixture over broccoli rabe and toss to combine.

Broil until exposed half of leaves are well browned, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Using tongs, toss to expose any unbrowned leaves. 

Return the baking sheet to the oven and continue to broil until most of the leaves are lightly charred and the stalks are crisp-tender, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes more. 

Serve the broiled broccoli rabe immediately with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This broccoli rabe side dish couldn't get any easier. And it's so delicious you'll want to double the recipe. Mix a few things, throw them on a sheet pan, let the oven do the work in the amount of time it takes to pour a drink, and done! Ingredients are easy to obtain, or likely in your possession already.

Because the broccoli rabe retained its bright green color, firmness, and taste, you can definitely reheat the leftovers. You could also chop it up and use it for pasta, a salad or add it to a sandwich, or a grain bowl. I served it with a tomato-based pasta bake.

I used the highest broil setting (550°F degrees) and was concerned the fresh garlic would burn if I left it in any longer because it started to smell like it was. The total time of 5 minutes was accurate, with tossing halfway through, and it turned out perfectly. The fresh lemon was a nice bright finish. My husband even asked for seconds! The next time I might use a little less salt than the recipe called for and instead top it off with a coarse crunchy finishing salt or some toasted chopped nuts.

This is an incredibly fast way to make a delicious broccoli rabe—great as a side dish or as a stand-alone to eat as a snack.

I would recommend putting the rack 6 inches from the broiler, as opposed to 4 inches. This will keep the leaves from browning or burning. Also, in my opinion, it's best eaten as soon as it comes out of the broiler and just slightly cooled. Eating it then is when the dish will be its most crisp, sweet, and delicious self.


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