Broccolini, Broccoli, Broccoli Rabe, Broccoflower

by Joanne on April 7, 2009

Have you ever wondered what the difference is among all those green “broccoli” types?   Read on friends.  More on these items may be found at wikipedia.




Broccoli:  High in vitamin C and usually boiled or steamed.  It has gained popularity as a raw vegetable on hor d’oeuvre trays. It’s flavor is soft and flowery when eating florets, and can be crunchy when eating stalks.  The thinner stalks are great for soup! 



Broccoflower:  The edible part of the vegetable are the florets. It originated in Holland and has a milder flavor than either broccoli or cauliflower.  It looks like a green cauliflower and it is actually a variety of cauliflower.  It has a milder and sweeter flavor than other members of its cabbage family kin. 

Broccoli Rabe also called Rapini

Broccoli Rabe also called Rapini

Broccoli Rabe:  This plant has spiked leaves that surround a green bud (like a broccoli floret). The flavor is nutty and bitter.  Focus on the stems and leaves for eating. It is prepared more like a green leafy vegetable (boil and saute) rather than like broccoli which we typically steam or boil.  Due to its bitterness, Broccoli Rabe should always be cooked and not served raw. Cooking suggestion: Boil or simmer slowly over a long period of time with a ham bone until the vegetable is soft and the bitterness is gone. 

The feature vegetable of the night is…..



Broccolini:   This vegetable closely resembles broccoli with a long stem and small floret. It is a cross between broccoli and a Chinese broccoli (gai lan) or kale.  Its flavors are described as sweet with notes of broccoli and asparagus.  It is called “baby broccoli” or “aspiration”.  This vegetable may be sauteed, steamed, stir fried, or boiled. It is very good simply grilled with olive oil, salt and pepper, and sprinkled with lemon. Less is more when cooking this vegetable. It is tender and delicate.

Broccolini with Lemon Glaze (serves 2)


  • 1 bunch Broccolini: wash, cut of lower 1/3 of stem (the really thick part) and discard
  • 1/2 cup white wine or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp fresh dill
  • salt and pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the broccolini and cook about 10 minutes.

Combine the wine (or broth), lemon zest,  juice, honey, and ginger in saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce to about 1/2. Approx. 8 minutes.

Stir in dill and salt and pepper.  Pour over the broccolini and serve.

Eat your vegetables. They are good for you. Try vegetables you’ve never tried before. There are some WONDERFUL varieties available.

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  • At 2009.04.07 20:23, Danielle said:

    Broccoli is by far my favorite veggie, but I’ve never tried any of the other varities. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for broccolini that looks so delicious!

    • At 2009.04.08 10:06, Rosie said:

      What a great informative post :0) I do like Broccolini but more I love the way you have cooked it – simply gorgeous!!

      • At 2009.04.08 14:47, s. Stockwell said:

        Oh my, great post! We do the broccolini roasted or grilled. really love it that you exposed the bitter & tough nature of broccoli rabe. We really do not buy it any more. The decorative quality of the brocoflower is astounding…we love this too. best, s

        • At 2012.02.27 07:25, Ellrina said:

          Broccolini is my favourite vegetable ever! My mum cooks it with cured meat and it’s simply deliscious…
          It gives me headache’s sometimes, but i get through because i’m just addicted:/ Is this normal?
          I would suggest you try it in a omlette – heaven!

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