Health benefits of Rapini

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Rapini (Broccoli rabe) Quick Facts
Name: Rapini (Broccoli rabe)
Scientific Name: Brassica ruvo
Taste Slightly bitter
Calories 9 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Vitamin K (74.67%)
Iron (10.75%)
Vitamin C (9.00%)
Vitamin B9 (8.25%)
Vitamin A (7.43%)
Health benefits Heart health, Prevent cancer, Stronger bones, Useful during pregnancy, Assist production of collagen
Brassica ruvo is commonly known from other names such as Broccoletto, Broccoli raab, Rapini, Ruvo kale, Italian turnip, Nabana, Saishin, Broccoli Rabe, Cima di Rapa and Brocoletti. As broccoli was developed in Italy, it was named as Brassica oleracea variety italic by botanists. The term broccoli is derived from Italian plural of broccoli which means little sprouts in Italian language that refers to flowering top of cabbage. Sometimes the large heading varieties of broccoli were named calabrese after region of Calabria in Italy.

Rapini is originated in Mediterranean and China. It has been well known vegetables among Chinese, Hong Kong and is used extensively in Italian cuisines. Flourished remarkable in Chinese and Mediterranean cultures, it has still become a concern. Rapini is dissimilar to normal broccoli which belongs to cabbage family but is accompanying to turnip. It grows similar to sprouting broccoli but the leaves resemble turnip greens. The taste is delightful, slightly bitter with a hint of nutty sweetness. Leaves and sprouts are prepared similar to broccoli and used in stir fries and salads.

Leaves are used for cooling purposes in South Europe as it is similar to turnip greens and turnip tops. It has spiked leaves which surround chunk of green buds which features small heads of broccoli. The small and yellow flowers are edible. Rapini provides bitter, nutty and pungent flavor which resembles mustard greens. It is a great source of Vitamin C, A, K, iron, calcium and potassium. It has similar shape of Chinese Brassica oleracea cultivar known as kai-lan.


The origin of Rapini is traced back to China as well as Mediterranean regions. It is closely associated to turnip than broccoli. In 1927, Rapini was brought to US by Italian immigrants, D’Arrigo brothers. One of the brothers noticed that the plant was growing in wild in California and was recognized from his homeland. In 1930’s, he started breeding the plant which has been marketed ever since that time. Broccoli was grown wild on shores of Mediterranean sea and was well known to ancient Romans which is traced back to 1500s in France, England in mid-18th century and was cultivated commercially in 1930s in United States. It is still cultivated in Italian provinces of Puliga and Campania and US.

Health Benefits of Rapini

Rapini is a green leafy vegetable which has high content of calcium, pantothenic acid, good for breaking down fats, proteins and carbohydrates in foods to provide energy and rebuild muscles, tissues and organs. Similar to Brassica family members, Rapini is well known for its cancer prevention as well as counteracting properties. It possesses glucosinolates which is effective for lung, stomach, prostate and breast cancers. Being a great source of folate it prevents heart diseases and birth defects. Fiber, potassium, calcium, thiamin, protein, niacin, riboflavin, iron, Vitamin B6, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, manganese and zinc are also found in Rapini.

  1. Heart health

Vitamin C is great for maintaining heart and cardiovascular health. The study shows that an intake of regular supplements of Vitamin C lowered in plasma C-reactive protein levels after two months. The level of CRP prevents the risk of heart disease than level of cholesterol. Rapini is loaded with Vitamin K and provides 112% of daily requirement of Vitamin K in a serving. it lowers the chances of atherosclerosis by managing dietary calcium into bone and prevent buildup in arteries. Atheroscleori and high blood pressure are main factors for heart diseases.

  1. Prevent cancer

Research shows that high intake of brassica vegetables is related with lowering the chances of cancer. It is concluded that inverse association was shown between cancer risk and high consumption of brassica vegetables. It is consistent for stomach, lung, rectal and colon cancers and less consistent for endometrial, prostate and ovarian cancers. Several mechanisms assist Rapini to counteract cancer. Rapini has isothiocyanates which prevents mutation of DNA, eliminate cancer causing toxins, induce apoptosis in cancer cells, prevent cancer from spreading and prevent harmless growth of turning into malignant tumors.

  1. Stronger bones

Rapini possess high content of calcium as well as Vitamin K which are vital nutrients for health. Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin that plays active role in blood clotting. It prevents the chances of osteoporosis and maintains bone health. The deficiency of Vitamin K results in heart disease, weakened bones, tooth decay and cancer.

  1. Useful during pregnancy

Folate is a water soluble Vitamin B which could not be stored by the human body. It prevents the risk of neural tube defects and severe abnormalities of brain and spinal cord. Insufficient folate in pregnant women causes adverse effects on brain development on an unborn child. 100 grams of Rapini provides 83 mcg of folate which means 21 percent of daily recommended intake.

  1. Assist production of collagen

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant which prevents free radicals damage. Vitamin C plays a vital role in collagen production which is a protein that forms tissue and bone in body and assist the healing process of wounds and cuts. It is involved to regulate immune reactions and metabolism of stress hormones. Insufficient presence of Vitamin C results to fatigue, mood changes, joint and muscle aches, dental conditions, weight loss, dry skin, hair and bruising.

  1. Vision health

Being a vital vitamin, Vitamin A is essential for the healthy growth as well as development, cell recognition, vision, immune function and reproduction. The people who consume twice dark green leay vegetables have experienced in lower chances of cataracts. Vitamin A promotes overall skin health and counteracts acne. 100 grams of dark green leafy vegetable provides 2622 IU of Vitamin A i.e. 52 percent of daily recommended intake.

  1. Lose weight

Dietary fiber is a vital part of healthy diet. It prevents the chances of diseases, proper digestion and promotes gut health. This vegetable is a great source of fiber. Half dietary fiber is soluble and half is insoluble which meets both types of dietary fiber. Moreover, the diet rich in fiber helps to maintain normal weight.

  1. Brain function

Manganese is a trace mineral which supports the development of bones and brain functions. It assists the healing process of injury. Manganese plays a vital role in glutamine metabolism and DNA polymerase. It protects cells from oxidative stress and also activates enzymes which have vital function in metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids and cholesterol.

Rapini with garlic parmesan and lemon

For 4 to 6 serving


  • 1 bunch of Rapini
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tsp. of fine kosher salt
  • 2 cloves of smashed garlic
  • 3 to 4 ounces of Parmesan (freshly shaved)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Zest of a lemon
  • ¼ cup of golden raisins


  1. Rinse and trim tough stems of Rapini.
  2. Boil the water over high heat. Then add salt and trimmed Rapini. Again boil and let it simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes or for 6 or 7 minutes if Rapini is mature.
  3. Remove Rapini with the use of tongs and set it on a baking sheet lined with clean dish towel.
  4. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium to high heat with smashed cloves of garlic. Cook garlic for 2 minutes and remove them. Then add Rapini and sauté for two minutes. Season it with salt and pepper.
  5. Transfer Rapini to a serving platter. Top it with lemon zest, shaved Parmesan and golden raisins. Serve it warm.

Rapini dilly lime soup


  • 2 cups of chopped onion
  • Two large cloves of garlic
  • 6 ¼ cups of water
  • 4 cups of rapini (chopped)
  • 6 cups of cauliflower (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp of sea salt
  • 3 tbsp of dry dill
  • ¾ cup of squeezed lime juice (fresh)
  • 1 tsp of olive, hemp or lemon flavoured fish oil
  • 1½ cups of whole organic walnuts
  • ½ cup of hemp seeds


  1. Sauté onions and garlic in 100 mL of water for about five minutes.
  2. When the onions are translucent, add remaining water, cauliflower, rapini, dill and sea salt. Boil it and reduce to medium heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Puree the mixture in a blender with hemp seeds, fresh lime juice and walnuts till it becomes creamy smooth.
  4. Top an individual bowls with a fine organic oil.

Traditional uses

  • It promotes eye, bone and cardiovascular health.
  • It enhances immune system, slows down aging process, normalize blood sugar level and prevents dementia.
  • Rapini eliminates free radicals and treat yeast infections in humans.


  • Allergic people should avoid it.
  • People with health problems should consult the doctor for use.               

How to Eat         

  • It is used in Galician, Italian and Portuguese cuisines.
  • Rapini is widely used in Southern Italian cuisines, Northern Portuguese cuisines, Roman cuisine and Galicia.
  • In Ciociaria, Frosinone and Southern Lazio, it is sautéed with chili pepper, garlic and served with fresh baked bread and sausages.
  • Rapini is sautéed with chili pepper, garlic and guanciale in Central Italy regions and used as a side dish for grilled pork ribs, porchetta and sausages.
  • Boil Rapini in saltwater and sauté it in olive oil with chili pepper and garlic.
  • Add it to stir fries and pastas.
  • Rapini is also added to salads.
  • Steamed Rapini is added to soups, Italian pastas, stews.

Types of Rapini

1. Rapini ‘Quarantina’

Rapini 'Quarantina'The 40 day variety is ideal for earlier season, or even fast catch crops. Generates extremely earlier florets. Soft, delicious, turnip-like tops as well as buds; pointed, elongated, seriously divided leaves; huge buds; fine flavor; no effectiveness against heat stress; 40-70 cm tall. Sow within spring and also autumn and crop May or mid-October. From May onwards the 90-120 day types, R. ‘Novantina’ as well as R. ‘Centoventina’, supply the best plants, along with much less possibility of bolting within the warmer late spring/summer weather.  Once autumn occurs there is an additional window of opportunity to plant the most loved of the Rapini varieties.

2. Rapini ‘Sessantina’

 Rapini 'Sessantina'Occasionally sold underneath the synonym R. ‘Sessantina Grossa’ requires 50-80 days for maturation. Excellent bitter-sweet tastes as well as stems are fantastic cooked like a side dish or even cooked along with short pasta just like Orechiette. Succession plant weekly for the constant harvest. Outstanding cultivar, standard as well as energetic; plentiful, deeply serrated foliage; appealing, huge, spherical tops; one of several very first big budded types; pleasurable taste; 30-35 cm tall. Sow Apri-mid Augus and harvest June-mid October.

3. Rapini ‘Riccia di San Marzano’

Needs 60-80 days for maturation. Leaves curled in the tips; features a fantastic taste; 35-45 cm tall. Sow April-mid August as well as crop June-mid October. Rapini ‘Novantina’90-day growing rapini.  Plentiful, seriously serrated foliage; medium-sized head; large leaves as well as thicker stems; enjoyable taste; 35-45 cm tall. Best planted in early autumn. Sow April-early September and also crop June-October.

4. Rapini ‘Centoventina’

4 months for maturation. A complete classic from Puglia and also extremely popular by restaurateurs.  Flavor referred to as in-between turnips as well as broccoli and protected in mustard! Deeply separated leaves; superb flavor and also structure; very big buds; 60-70 cm tall. Consume the florets, leaves and stalk, and use to really make the well-known pasta dish ‘Orecchiete e Cima di Rapa’ through the Puglia / Abruzzo region.  Plant July-October and crop November-March.

5. Rapini ‘Maceratese’

Mid-Early. Vertical plant that is very easy to grow.  Extended, somewhat serrated leaves which does not create florets – it’s utilized for its delicious leaves that are utilized in pasta as well as soups.  Plant April-August.

Other Facts        

  • Rapini is propagated by seeds.
  • The plant is biennial which completes its life in two years.






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