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The 10 Healthiest Foods: Broccoli Rabe

By: Caley Walsh

While broccoli is a classic vegetable on American tables, broccoli rabe is much more common on Italian tables. According to nutritionists polled for ABC, you should be eating broccoli rabe too. In this article, learn about the health benefits of this bold cabbage and how you can prepare broccoli rabe in a quick and easy dinner.

Broccoli Rabe Super Food

Composed of leafy stalks, broccoli rabe is not a type of broccoli and is more closely related to mustard greens or turnips. Pronounced “broccoli rob” and often going by its nickname rabe, this vegetable is available year-round but best in the winter. You can reduce the bitterness of rabe by briefly blanching in salted, boiling water and then placing in ice water. A bit of crushed red pepper also nicely balances out rabe’s bitterness.


Here are some of Broccoli Rabe’s nutritional benefits:

  • Calcium- Rabe is a great source of calcium, which in addition to helping prevent osteoporosis, may assist in weight loss.
     
  • Vitamin K- Rabe is rich in this vitamin, which helps the body use calcium and assists in processes like blood clotting.
     
  • Folate- Broccoli rabe contains this B vitamin which is helpful in preventing heart disease.
     
  • Antioxidants- While all “Brassicas” (Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage) contain antioxidants, rabe is a particularly great source of compounds called “glucoinolates” shown to be effective against lung, stomach and colon cancer. A 3.5 oz serving of rabe contains more than half your daily requirement of the antioxidants Vitamin A and C.

When eating rabe, make sure you cut off the tough bottoms of the stalks. You can store rabe for four days, unwashed in the fridge.


Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Walnuts


This pasta dish is my favorite quick and easy, meat-free dinner. In addition to the rabe, walnuts are rich in beneficial omega 3 fatty acids and are a great source of protein.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. whole-wheat orecchiette pasta
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed and cut into one-inch lengths
  • ¼ C. olive oil
  • ½ C. walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ C. parmesan

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cook orecchiete in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions. Same brands take up to 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, toss broccoli rabe with olive oil, walnuts, minced garlic gloves, salt, and red pepper flakes in roasting pan.
  4. Roast in oven for about 5 minutes. The leaves should wilt well but not burn.
  5. Toss rabe mixture with the drained orecchiete and another splash of olive oil. You can also toss in the Parmesan or sprinkle over top when plated.
     

The Next Top 10 Super-Food: Brazil Nuts

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