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Vegan Sauteed Broccoli Rabe Recipe

Bitter. Nutty. Garlicky. Broccoli rabe is a legendary Mediterranean side and this simple vegan broccoli rabe recipe showcases the stunning veggie at its finest. The best part? It couldn’t be easier to whip up in under 20 minutes! 


Looking for your new favorite veggie side? Try this vegan sauteed broccoli rabe recipe and never look back. 

I tried broccoli rabe for the first time in an Italian restaurant and right away I knew that I had to recreate my own because this veg isn’t worth missing out on… This is what I came up with. 

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe

Showcasing the unique taste of broccoli rabe with just a hint of garlic and chili, this recipe keeps it simple and traditional, just the way it should be. The result? A deliciously salty, warming, and slightly bitter broccoli rabe recipe, tender in all the right ways.

Blanched to balance out the flavor, this broccoli rabe recipe couldn’t be easier to eat, and is the perfect addition to your summer spreads! 

So, what are you waiting for? Learn how to cook broccoli rabe and discover the magic of this leafy green veg today! 


This vegan broccoli rabe recipe is a delicious classic, but if you want to make it your own we’ve also got some ideas…

A touch of lemon? 

If you want to level up the freshness of this dish, try adding a hefty squeeze of lemon before serving. This will give your broccoli rabe recipe a zingy citrus taste that’s perfect for a summer spread, or pairing with other fresh Mediterranean dishes. 

Amp up the spice!

chopped broccoli and garlic

Want to enjoy your broccoli rabe recipe with a bit of heat? Why not try finely chopping some fresh chilies and frying them with the garlic before you add your broccoli rabe? This will give your broccoli rabe a warming heat that is guaranteed to impress guests! 

Onion it up!

This sauteed broccoli rabe recipe is delicious on its own, but adding other veggies in there too can be a great way of adding an extra oomph of flavor. I recommend caramelizing some onions in a pan before you cook the broccoli rabe, and then sauteing them both together. The sweet onions really complement the bitter rabe and the result is mouthwatering.

Vegan Sauteed Broccoli Rabe Recipe

  • Prep Time: 8 Minutes
  • Servings: 4

Here’s what you need:

Main Ingredients
  • 1 large bunch of broccoli rabe
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper


  • Set a medium-sized pan of salted water to boil and prepare a large bowl of ice water.
  • Prep the broccoli rabe by washing it and cutting off ½ inch from the ends (the stalks not the leaves). Finely chop the garlic.
  • Drop the broccoli rabe into the boiling water. Allow to cook for two minutes, remove, and then drop into the ice water for 20 seconds. Drain and leave to dry.
  • In a large frying pan, heat oil and add the garlic. Add the salt, pepper, and chili flakes and allow to cook on a medium heat for a few minutes, or until the garlic starts to soften.
  • Add the blanched broccoli rabe and saute on a medium heat, gently tossing the broccoli regularly to ensure it is evenly cooked. Cook for around 5 minutes, or until the broccoli rabe stems become tender.
  • Once cooked, remove the pan from the heat, drain any excess liquid and serve.

Top Tips

    • Don’t over blanche: Remember that blanching is a very different process to boiling, and in this recipe it is purely done to reduce the bitter taste, not to cook the veg. So, leave your broccoli rabe in the water for no more than 2 minutes, otherwise, it might become too soft when it is sauteed, and won’t have the delicious tender but firm texture we are after. 
    • Use fresh broccoli rabe: Just like broccoli, broccoli rabe that is not so fresh will start to yellow. Watch out for this sign when you buy your rabe, and pick one that is nice and green for the tastiest cooked rabe. 
    • Pre-Blanche your rabe for convenience: If you are cooking a big meal for family or friends and want to split up the work, pre-blanching your broccoli rabe is a great option. Broccoli rabe can be frozen or refrigerated after it has been blanched, and then sauteed 1-2 days later. Just make sure you remove all the liquid from the broccoli rabe and store in an airtight container. 

To Wrap It All Up...

In my opinion, the best recipes are the simple ones that use a few ingredients to showcase a delicious veggie flavor. This is one of those recipes. This vegan broccoli rabe recipe is the perfect dish to complete a summer spread of tasty salads, breads, and dips to enjoy with friends. It also has been enjoyed by families for generations as a mouthwatering side dish for Italian pasta dishes. 

How should you enjoy this broccoli rabe recipe? The choice is yours, but trust me, you’ll want to be sharing this one with your friends. 

Frequently Asked Questions

I know what you are thinking… broccoli rabe? That’s just a fancy name for broccoli, right? Wrong. It may sound a lot like broccoli, it may look a lot like broccoli, but - plot twist - it ain’t broccoli! In fact, this green veg has more in common with a turnip than our old friend broccoli. So, what is it like? Broccoli rabe has floret heads, similar to those on a broccoli plant but much smaller. However, unlike broccoli, broccoli rabe is particularly leafy, with long thin stems. It is also renowned for its unique bitter taste, which is how it earned its place on delicious plates around the world, going particularly well with Mediterranean cuisine!
When there are a few green veggies with a similar look and name, it starts to get confusing. Let me clear things up! Broccoli rabe (sometimes called rapini or turnip tops) is the leafy green that looks similar to broccoli, although it is much leafier and actually in the turnip family. In contrast, broccolini is a Chinese variety of broccoli that is recognizable for its long thin stalks, thin loose florets, and sweet taste. Both are delicious, but in different ways, so make sure you grab the leafy, bitter broccoli rabe for this recipe!
As we mentioned, broccoli rabe is renowned for its distinctive bitter flavor. Because of this, like any food that packs a punch, it splits the crowd. That’s why, in this vegan broccoli rabe recipe, by blanching the broccoli rabe before sauteing it, I’ve toned down the flavor a little (to please the masses). This is because the process of blanching reduces the intensity of bitter flavors (simply boiling or frying broccoli rabe won’t have the same effect).
As we mentioned, broccoli rabe becomes less bitter if it is blanched before cooking. However, this doesn’t mean you have to do it! When it comes to cooking your broccoli rabe recipe, it can be boiled, blanched, sauteed - whatever you prefer. If you want the hardcore bitter broccoli rabe experience, skip the blanching stage and sautee or boil it. If you want a tasty dish with less impact, give your broccoli rabe a blanche!
The distinct taste of this sauteed broccoli rabe recipe can compete with big flavors, so don’t be afraid to pair it with some equally delicious dishes. If you want to stick to tradition, enjoy this broccoli rabe recipe as a side to a rich vegan pasta dish like pasta puttanesca. Or, if you want to try something a little different, why not enjoy this sauteed broccoli rabe with some vegan sausages and potato purée? Both options have already got my mouth watering.

If you love this recipe…

If you loved this sauteed broccoli recipe, there’s more great stuff where that came from. Here are some of our other favorite dishes, which all incidentally go perfectly alongside this sauteed broccoli rabe recipe, just saying…

Roasted Kabocha Squash with Organic Tahini Sauce 

Vegan Creamy Polenta Recipe

Kale Salad Recipe

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