Everyone knows the standard broccoli, but what about these other leafy look-alikes? They are popping up on menus and finding their spots in the grocery stores, but it's hard to cook with them if you don't know exactly what these green vegetables taste like. Here's everything you need to know about broccoli rabe vs broccolini.

Not Part of the Family

Although it looks similar, broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, is not related to broccoli at all. This crunchy vegetable is actually a member of the turnip family, and it arrived to the United States in the 1920s via Italian immigrants.

What Is Broccolini?

You might mistake broccolini as broccoli with a longer stem, but it isn't a child version of the more common vegetable. Broccolini is a hybrid vegetable that was first created in 1993 as a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It tastes a little less bitter and is nuttier than your average broccoli.

What Is Broccoli Rabe?

Broccoli rabe, popular in Italian cuisine, has both a bitter an earthy taste that calms down when cooking. Broccolini, although it can be eaten raw, tastes best when cooked. It has more of a sweet and earthy taste when compared to normal broccoli.

Saute, Steam, or Roast

To get the most out of the entire vegetable, and to make the broccoli-cousin more appealing to non-broccoli eaters, cook the entire broccolini. Its thinner stock, leafier greens, and tender florets are ideal roasted, sautéed, or even steamed.

A Fall Feature

The peak season of broccoli rabe falls in September, when it can be found at farmers' markets replacing the summer vegetables like asparagus. From the florets in a pasta, greens in lasagna, and stalks in a panini, broccoli rabe is a great versatile vegetable if you can stand its bitterness.

Versatile Vegetable

broccoli, vegetable, broccolini, parsley
Dara Ades

Broccolini can be grown both in the spring and the fall, and it does the best in mild temperatures. Like broccoli rabe, all parts of the vegetable are edible. Because broccolini is sweeter and less bitter, it is a good choice for people who want to ease into trying broccoli-like vegetables.

Whether you are a broccoli lover or a broccoli hater, it is worth trying one of these similar vegetables for a twist on your greens now that you know about broccoli rabe vs broccolini.