Simple Garlic Sauteed Rapini (Broccoli Rabe)

Sauteed Rapini on a Plate
Yields: 4 Servings Difficulty: Easy Cook Time: 20 Mins

Sauteed Rapini (Broccoli Rabe)

Sundried Tomatoes, Garlic and Kalamata Olives make this dish for Sauteed Broccoli Rabe (Rapini) a hit. This Sauteed Rapini (Broccoli Rabe) with Garlic is the perfect side if your are looking for something different from the regular broccoli or spinach you make.

This is one of my all time favorite recipes for Sauteed Garlic (Broccoli Rabe).  My mom made this leafy green growing up but I never fully enjoyed it until I got married and looked to make something a little savory and different as a side dish.

Sometimes, we use to make a sandwich placing sauteed rapini and olive oil in a panino bread.  Yum!

Rapini is not broccoli.  It has a slight bitter taste which you can lessen by par-boiling. The combination of bitter and salty in this recipe for Sauteed Broccoli Rabe works very well.

Tips and Tricks to Making this Simple Sauteed Rapini (Broccoli Rabe)

What is Rapini?

Rapini are a leafy green with green florets similar to broccoli but smaller.  They probably look more like broccolini.  Rapini are also known as Broccoli Rabe.  Rapini do not taste like broccoli and have a bitter taste.  Blanching them or boiling them take some of the bitterness away.  To learn more about Rapini, visit Wiki here.

How to Blanch Rabini

If you are just starting off learning how to cook, blanching is usually a technique used to par-boil food in preparation for freezing or some other type of cooking. Blanching food has it’s pros and cons.  Pros: provides better cooked flavor, provides a better taste to frozen foods. Cons: additional work, messy.

Blanching stops enzyme actions which change the color, or the flavor or the texture of fruits and vegetables. To blanch food you will need a large stock pot or pot large enough to submerge what you are blanching.  You will want to have at least a 2 to 1 ratio of water to food to blanch vegetables properly.  Blanching isn’t solely used for vegetables, it is also used for fruits.

You’ll want to bring the water to a boil, drop in your vegetables or fruits for about a minute, then immediately remove and drop them in  an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.

From there, you can either place the fruits or vegetables in a freezer bag and freeze them.  Or you can continue to cook them in another way like sauteing them.

To Boil or Not to Boil Rapini

For some blanching isn’t enough.  Rapini are quite bitter and if blanching isn’t enough for you, you may want to just boil them for a about 10 minutes before you place them in your frypan to continue the cooking process.

After you have had them once, you’ll know how much of the bitterness you will be able to handle.  And pairing something salty with rapini is a good trade off to get good taste.

And for others who like bitter foods, they may not want to blanch or boil their rapini.  And that’s ok.  You can just give your rapini a good rinse and skip blanching or boiling and go straight into sauteing.

Freezing and Storing

The rapini will store fairly well as leftovers.  Store leftovers for these rapini (broccoli rabe) refrigerated in an airtight container for a maximum of 4 days. They also freeze very well if you have a lot of leftovers.

In fact, if you buy several bunches from your local grocer you can blanch them and freeze them for future use. Place blanched rapini in freezer bags and freeze, squeezing the air out as you seal the bags.  When you want to use them, thaw them out in the fridge for 24 hours and saute them as you would normally.

Drop a comment below if you made these  Sauteed Rapini with garlic.  I’d love to see your pictures.   So don’t forget to post them on your Instagram account. Tag me at #girl_with_a_spatula and follow me @girl_with_a_spatula

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Sauteed Rapini in a plate PIN for pinterest

Recipe Details for this Sauteed Rapini with Garlic


0/8 Ingredients
Adjust Servings


0/3 Instructions
  • If preferred, par boil or boil your rapini. In a medium frypan, heat up the oil and crushed garlic. Place the rapini in the frypan and cover to cook, mixing regularly so that the greens fry evenly.
  • Add broth when you need more liquid in the frypan. The liquid also helps to steam cook the rapini if you didn't blanche your rapini or boil your rapini. Add the olives and the sundried tomatoes and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Since the sundried tomatoes and olives are already salty, I leave it up to you to season further if needed.
  • You will know the rapini are done when they are wilted and easily break apart. Transfer the cooked rapini to a plate and serve as a side.


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