I hereby state baked rapini is the best kind of rapini. The stalks stay crunchy and the leaves get beautifully crisp. Also, it’s so pretty.
If you can’t tell, I’m obsessed with cruciferous vegetables lately. Even in my oatmeal. And this one is also dark green!! You know what that means: so many good nutrients in these babies.
Rapini, also known as broccoli rabe, has a broccoli-like top, but the long stalk and luscious leaves make it feel quite elegant. It also has more bitterness to it, so I find it needs a little extra TLC to make it shine.
You may have had this veggie steamed or sautéed and been unimpressed; I know I have. When it gets wilted or isn’t seasoned properly, its taste can be a little too intensely sharp. But when you pop it in the oven, magic happens. All you need is a little olive oil (I love this one!), garlic and salt to make it shine.
Before we get down to the cooking part, let’s talk about why you should add this beautiful vegetable to your lineup.
First off, it’s a cruciferous vegetable, meaning it’s chock-full of the power cancer-fighting glucosinolates, among other special nutrients. You can read more about crucifers, also called brassicas, in my chocolate cauliflower oatmeal post.
Being a dark leafy green vegetable, rapini is also a great source of many vitamins and minerals, including very high amounts of Vitamins A, C and K, as well as calcium and B-vitamins. Vitamin K is particularly rich and is necessary for getting calcium into your bones to keep them strong.
The bitterness means it supports the liver’s ability to detoxify your body from waste and toxins. It also indicates the high levels of folate, a B-vitamin that is essential during pregnancy and keeps the heart healthy.
I’ve been getting it from California for the last couple months, but in Canada, it’s in season from July through October (i.e. starting now!), so if you live up here, keep an eye out for it at your local market.
These are best enjoyed fresh from the oven so you can enjoy the crispiness of the leaves, but you can reheat them in the toaster oven (or regular one) to recrisp. I also like chopping up the leftovers and tossing them into my lunch salad the next day.
Crispy baked garlic rapini
- 1 bunch rapini
- 1 Tb extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 pinch chili pepper flakes optional
- Preheat the oven to 400F or 350F convection.
- Thoroughly wash and dry the rapini, and trim the ends.
- Place the rapini on a baking sheet or large dish and toss with olive oil, garlic, salt and chili flakes.
- Bake, tossing halfway through, for 15-20 minutes, or until the leaves are crispy, but not burnt.