How To Use Broccoli Rabe From Root-To-Stem

Root-to-stem cooking is here to help combat the scourge of food waste and unsatisfied bellies. For the uninformed, root-to-stem cooking is the process of utilizing every part of a piece of produce. Similar to broccoli and turnips, broccoli rabe is a great option for chefs looking to experiment with root-to-stem cooking.

Leaves

If you’ve ever had a broccoli rabe salad, you’ve had broccoli rabe leaves. Arguably the most commonly used part of broccoli rabe, the leaves offer a bitter nuttiness that pairs well with citrus, cheeses, and winter squashes. We love broccoli rabe salads so much that we even wrote an article about them!

Stems

Unfortunately, broccoli rabe stems tend to get the short end of the stick from chefs, but this doesn’t mean they’re a lost cause. Broccoli rabe stems hold up well in the cooking process and are integral if you plan on stir-frying or grilling the entire plant. With that in mind, it’s still important to trim off any thick skin or overly tough sections on the stems; they can bring an unpleasant woodiness that will lower the quality of your overall dish.

  • Flavor: Hearty and bitter
  • Try Cooking: Stir-fried broccoli rabe

Buds

Unsurprisingly, this section of broccoli rabe is the closest to regular broccoli in both flavor and appearance. This means that you can treat the buds similarly to broccoli to great effect! Although often used in Italian cooking, broccoli rabe buds are also great options for sandwiches or beef dishes.

  • Flavor: Earthy
  • Try Cooking: Broccoli rabe risotto