Broccolini, Broccoli, And Broccoli Rabe: What Sets Them Apart

Broccoli is a nutrient-dense plant with tasty bright green or purple leaves, a blooming head, and a strong stem. It is a member of the family Brassicaceae, which also includes cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, and is high in protein, carbs, and vitamins C and K. Broccoli can be consumed whole and prepared in a variety of ways, including raw, roasted, sautéed, steamed, battered, and fried. It's common to mix together broccoli, broccolini, and broccoli rabe. Although the three green veggies look alike, they each have their own distinctive qualities. 

A cultivar of the cruciferous plant Brassica rapa, broccoli rabe (also known as broccoli raab) is a leafy vegetable. Despite being related to the turnip, this vegetable resembles broccoli in appearance. The green florets of broccoli rabe grow in looser bunches and have longer, thinner stalks than typical broccoli. It also has broad, emerald leaves. Since raw broccoli rabe has a rather bitter flavour, it is best served sautéed with a little olive oil, as it is frequently done in Italian cooking. The leafy green is an excellent source of fibre and protein. 

Broccolini is a delicate cross between regular broccoli and the Chinese broccoli variety gai lan that was created by a seed firm in Japan. Despite what the name "baby broccoli" might imply, broccolini is not a young variety of vegetables. Broccolini features smaller, sweeter stalks with looser florets, a few soft leaves, and vivid yellow blossoms, as opposed to ordinary broccoli, which has stout stalks and densely packed crowns. 

Broccolini flowers add a vibrant pop of colour and herbal heat to a wild garden salad when combined with dandelion greens and parsley leaves, but that's just the tip of the proverbial vegetable iceberg: broccolini show off their earthy sweetness best when lightly charred and caramelised on the grill or in the oven. 

Key Differences 

Green vegetables that are well-liked and nourishing include broccoli, broccolini, and broccoli rabe. Additionally, each one of them is a cruciferous vegetable, which means that it has at least four leaves and prefers cool climates to grow. But there are other ways in which broccoli, broccolini, and broccoli rabe are distinct from one another. 

Appearance: Compared to broccolini and broccoli rabe, broccoli looks very different. Broccoli is often sold in one giant head and resembles cauliflower in appearance because it is heavy and robust. The stalks of broccoli and broccolini are longer and thinner, and they are sometimes sold in bunches. Although broccolini has more leaves than broccoli, broccoli rabe has more leaves. 

Plant Family: Brassica oleracea, which also comprises green vegetables like mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, and cabbages, is the same plant species that produces both broccoli and broccolini. Chinese broccoli and broccoli are combined to create broccolini. The Brassica rapa family includes broccoli rabe, which is more closely related to turnips than to broccoli or broccolini. 

Flavour: Broccoli has a slightly bittersweet flavor and thick, meaty stems. Broccolini is milder and sweeter than broccoli, with firm, crunchy stems, and leafy florets. Broccoli rabe has a strong, bitter taste throughout, from its stems to its leaves. 

Cooking: The traditional instruction for cooking broccoli is to chop the florets into little pieces before cooking. When it is steamed, sautéed, or stir-fried, it holds up well. In meals like broccoli salad, broccoli can also be eaten raw. Cooking broccolini is more common. Broccolini can be prepared as a side dish by steaming, sautéing, or broiling. Due to its bitter flavour, broccoli rabe should always be cooked before consumption. It can be boiled, steamed, broiled, or sautéed.