The Real Difference Between Broccoli Rabe And Broccolini

Broccoli rabe and broccolini might sound alike and look similar, but they have some small differences that (once we point them out) will make you wonder how you ever missed them in the first place. Broccoli rabe and broccolini are both slender green vegetables that are chock-full of nutrients, according to EatingWell. Adding these to your diet means you'll be getting more of vitamins C, E, and K, plus carotenoids and glucosinolates, which help prevent cancer. The best part? Both can be sautéed, grilled, or roasted to add a pleasantly bitter, earthy taste to almost any meal.

More closely related to turnips than actual broccoli according to The Kitchn (we know, we feel lied to, too,) broccoli rabe has long, thin stalks, floret-like buds, and a plethora of dark green leaves. As an added bonus, the entire vegetable is edible — stems, leaves, and all (via EatingWell). When it comes to taste, if you've ever had it, you probably know that broccoli rabe tastes nothing like your traditional broccoli; instead, it has a very distinct, bitter flavor.

One of the perks of cooking with broccoli rabe is there are a ton of ways to prepare it. Sauteed? Yum. Grilled? Definitely. Roasted? Broiled? Boiled? Yes, yes, and yes. Pro tip: If you prefer a mellower taste, blanche your broccoli rabe prior to cooking.

Broccolini is a hybrid version of broccoli

Broccolini, on the other hand, has surprisingly only been around since 1993. Sometimes referred to by its misnomer "baby broccoli," unlike broccoli rabe, broccolini is, in fact, part of the brassica family. It's actually a hybrid of regular broccoli and Chinese broccoli. Similar to broccoli rabe, broccolini has long, slender stalks and small florets, though with far fewer leaves (via The Kitchn). On that note, one of the easiest ways to tell the difference between broccoli rabe and broccolini is to check which one has more leaves. As a general rule of thumb, usually broccoli rabe has more leaves and broccolini has close to none.

Moving onto taste: Not only does broccolini belong to an entirely different vegetable group than broccoli rabe, but its taste is also pretty different. As opposed to broccoli rabe's bitter flavor, broccolini is milder and sweet.

Then, there's the process of cooking the broccolini. In general, broccolini is super easy to work with, according to Bon Appétit. There's hardly any prep involved aside from cutting off the end of the stems. Since the stems are thin and tender, overcooking the florets while waiting for the rest of the stalk to cook is unlikely. Stress-free cooking? Sign us up.