How to Remove the Bitterness from Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, is a leafy green vegetable with a distinctively bitter flavor. While some people enjoy this bitterness, others find it overpowering. If you’re in the latter camp, there are a few things you can do to reduce the bitterness of broccoli rabe.


Blanching is the process of boiling a vegetable for a short period of time and then immediately cooling it in ice water. This process helps to preserve the vegetable’s color and nutrients, and it can also help to reduce bitterness. To blanch broccoli rabe, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the leaves are bright green and tender. Immediately remove the broccoli rabe from the boiling water and plunge it into a bowl of ice water. Let the broccoli rabe cool completely before draining it and patting it dry.


Sautéing broccoli rabe in olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes is a classic way to prepare this vegetable. The heat of the oil helps to mellow the bitterness of the broccoli rabe, and the garlic and red pepper flakes add flavor and depth. To sauté broccoli rabe, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the broccoli rabe and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Roasting broccoli rabe in the oven is another great way to reduce its bitterness. The high heat of the oven caramelizes the broccoli rabe, which gives it a sweet and nutty flavor. To roast broccoli rabe, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the broccoli rabe with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread it on a baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the broccoli rabe is tender and browned.

Tips for Reducing Bitterness

  • Choose younger broccoli rabe. Younger broccoli rabe is less bitter than older broccoli rabe.
  • Remove the tough stems. The stems of broccoli rabe are more bitter than the leaves.
  • Cook the broccoli rabe quickly. Overcooking broccoli rabe will make it more bitter.
  • Add a little sweetness. A little bit of sugar or honey can help to balance out the bitterness of broccoli rabe.

Broccoli rabe is a delicious and nutritious vegetable, but its bitterness can be a turnoff for some people. By following the tips above, you can reduce the bitterness of broccoli rabe and enjoy its unique flavor.

Deal of the Day

Next, cook your robbies low and slow, with a little olive oil and plenty of garlic. The slow cooking process helps the tough stems soften so no woody texture remains, and further reduces the bitter flavor. When your broccoli rabe has softened to your liking, serve it with salt and pepper or parmesan or Romano cheese. The salt and fat in the cheese naturally counteracts the bitter flavor (my grandma knew what she was doing). And if the bitterness is still too much for you, just “water it down” — toss some other greens into the sauté, such as broccoli or kale.

First For Women

Dont skimp on this bitter green.

how do i get the bitterness out of broccoli rabe

Strong-tasting foods have an interesting side effect: if you ate them as a child, you’re more likely to enjoy them as an adult. For me, that food is broccoli rabe. Before serving it with Romano cheese, my Neapolitan grandmother used to cook it for hours in a large pot, occasionally stirring the oil, garlic, and vegetables with a wooden spoon. My mouth still waters at the scent of sautéed robbies, as my family lovingly refers to them, but many others don’t feel the same way. Broccoli rabe is, admittedly, quite bitter. Although it won’t entirely go away, there are a few things you can do to lessen the bitterness, such as giving it a brief boil.

How do you get the bitterness out of broccoli rabe?


How do you cut the bitterness in broccoli rabe?

To make your broccoli rabe less bitter, toss it in a pot of boiling salted water for one minute, then drain out the liquid. Then you’ll want to quickly plunge the broccoli rabe into an ice bath to stop the cooking process and prevent your broccoli rabe from ggetting soft.

How do you fix bitter broccoli?

Blanching broccoli in a large pot of salt water releases bitter acids from the plant cells and rinses them away, an action that steaming doesn’t provide because of the low level of water involved. Additional measures for neutralizing broccoli’s bitterness include tossing it with salt and citrus sauce.

How do you make rapini without bitter taste?

Blanching is key to making rapini/broccoli rabe less bitter. You can blanch it in a pot of boiling water for 60 to 90 seconds or steam it with a little water for a few minutes in a covered skillet before sauteeing. Both methods work well, but I prefer to boil it first.

How do you take the bitterness out of Chinese broccoli?

The blanch method (before stir-frying) helps remove bitter taste. Sauté directly without blanching, which is the method I used in the recipe below, is faster but if this is your first time trying gai lan and not used to the bitter flavor, I recommend blanching the vegetable first.

How to remove bitter taste from broccoli rabe?

You can marinate it with any sauce or just olive oil and salt and pepper to get rid of the bitter taste. -Blanching. Blanching the broccoli rabe in boiled water for one minute can remove the bitter taste from it. If it’s way too bitter, this method might not be enough, but this is the method that will not change the taste of your broccoli rabe.

How do you make broccoli rabe bitter?

The trick to tempering broccoli rabe’s signature bitterness is to blanch it before sautéing with garlic and red pepper flakes. It’s a delicious and versatile side dish that pairs well with your favorite meats and seafood. Here’s how to do it. What’s the Difference Between Broccoli Rabe and Broccolini?

How do you make broccoli rabe taste good?

Add salt. Place the broccoli rabe in a bowl, add salt to it, toss it a bit to make sure the salt gets everywhere, and let it stay in the fridge for an hour before using it. -Add sugar or honey. If you go for a recipe that can use a bit of sweet taste, you can add sugar or honey the same way you would add salt to it.

How to Blanch broccoli rabe?

Cook the sliced garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil, then toss in the blanched broccoli rabe and some kosher salt and sauté until fragrant. Don’t assume that lemon wedges are optional. The brightness of the juice balances out some of the earthiness in the broccoli rabe. Prepare the blanching water and ingredients.

Leave a Comment