What Is Broccoletti? How to Use the Delicious Plant in Your Next Home-Cooked Dish

Cruciferous vegetables are an important part of our diet — these nutrient-dense plants are full of fiber and help regulate blood sugar.

Rayna Skiver - Author

May 6 2024, Published 4:41 p.m. ET

Uncooked broccoletti spread out on a wood cutting board.
Source: ISTOCK

You’ve probably heard of broccoli, but what is broccoletti? This plant is a delicious and nutritious spin on one of the most famous — or infamous, depending on who you’re talking to — vegetables on the market.

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Whether you love broccoli or not, this veggie is still worth the try. To learn more about this exciting food, as well as how to incorporate it into your next dish, keep reading.

What is broccoletti?

Close up of cooked broccoletti on a black plate with slivered almonds and a lemon wedge.
Source: ISTOCK

If you’ve heard of broccolini, then you actually already know what broccoletti is — the two are one and the same.

Broccoletti, most commonly known as broccolini, is a mix between broccoli and Chinese kale, according to The Spruce Eats. Rather than being short and stout, this hybrid plant has long, tender stems and loose crowns. This change in shape and texture makes broccoletti taste like a completely unique vegetable.

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If you find that regular broccoli isn’t your favorite, you might enjoy this hybrid. The flavor is a bit sweeter, and the consistency is very similar to asparagus. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a new go-to veggie to pair with weeknight meals.

Broccoletti is more than just a tasty snack it's packed with nutritional benefits, too. This little green plant is a great source of fiber, calcium, and potassium, as well as antioxidants, like vitamin C and vitamin E, according to Healthline.

The culmination of these nutrients creates a powerful vegetable that can decrease inflammation, help control blood sugar, and improve heart health.

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What is the difference between broccolini and broccoli rabe?

A bunch of uncooked broccoli rabe on a white cloth on a table.
Source: ISTOCK

Despite its name, broccoli rabe is not broccoli at all. This vegetable is actually in the turnip family, unlike broccolini, which is a part of the brassica species. Even though the two plants look alike, the similarities end there — everything else, from the taste to the texture, is totally different.

Where broccolini is sweet, broccoli rabe, aka rapini, is bitter. It also resembles a leafy green more than it does traditional broccoli. Similar to plants like mustard greens and collards, rapini typically tastes best when sauteed rather than raw.

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What to make with broccolini, aka broccoletti:

Whether you have some time on your hands or you’re in a hurry, there’s a way for everyone to enjoy broccolini and incorporate it into everyday meals.

For those looking for a fast and easy way to eat this veggie, try adding raw broccoletti —which is actually the best way to reap its nutrients — to salads or wraps. These two options don’t require any cooking and can be completed in just a few minutes. To make these meals even more flavorful, consider adding different herbs and spices.

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If you have the time, cooked broccoletti also makes a lovely side dish — both roasting and sauteeing are popular methods. Many home chefs use foods like lemon, garlic, plant-based butter, red pepper flakes, nuts, vegan parmesan, and more to add a boost of flavor. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

With broccolini, a little goes a long way. While a more decadent dish is always appreciated, simple ingredients are more than enough to make this plant stand out. On TikTok, @gidsgids uses just butter, salt, garlic, and lemon to whip up a yummy-looking plate of broccoletti.

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