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I love me some broccoli rabe!

March 19, 2010

Not a day passes that I don’t try to get at least one of the cruciferous vegetables (usually broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or cabbage) into my meals. 

Cruciferous vegetables contain plant nutrients that include sulforaphane and indoles, which have been shown in studies to have significant anti-cancer effects. (Since my parents and three siblings have all dealt with various cancers, I make sure to get in my crucifers!)

However, I know eating a variety of plant foods is important–because each has its own array of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, which are valuable to your health in different ways.

Broccoli rabe (pronounced rob), for example, is also a great source of vitamins C, A and K, plus the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin (antioxidants credited with preserving the health of your eyes). Sooo…when the broccoli rabe looks fresh at my store and the price is right, I grab it!

An acquired taste

Frankly, I didn’t immediately like broccoli rabe when I first tried it some 15 years ago. I didn’t have it growing up, and it wasn’t until a coworker (a native Jerseyite and top national-level bodybuilder) told me it was a favorite of his that I bought some prepared broccoli rabe at a local Italian sandwich place. I ate it cold and was, well, unimpressed at first bite.

Time has passed and I’m happy to report I’ve made broccoli rabe a friend of mine. The cool part–it’s so easy to prepare. Wash it, chop it up and toss it into a pan coated lightly with extra virgin olive oil. I also add chopped or pressed fresh garlic. “Stir-fry” it a bit so that the olive oil and broccoli incorporate into the greens; the broccoli rabe will wilt a bit but should still be bright green when you serve it.  A little sea salt and pepper does it! (You can also blanch it in boiling water for a minute or two and then add the extra virgin olive oil.)

Here’s a recent lunch: flounder sprinkled with a fish spice mix, plus broccoli rabe sauteed in olive oil with garlic. It was yummy and easy!

Top photo, Flickr, by Cococello

Bottom photo, mine!

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