Reap the benefits of Rapini
If I had to name my top 3 veggies rapini would most certainly top my list! I grew up with rapini served both at family meals and on special occasions. Surprisingly, rapini was always a treat for all five children in my extended family. Now, as a dietitian, I have come to appreciate rapini not only as a delicious vegetable but also as a “super food” or those foods that pack a nice nutritional punch!
For those unfamiliar with rapini it is now time to explore this delicious, bitter and almost nutty tasting veggie.
What is Rapini?
A common dark green leafy vegetable native to southern Italy and brought over to America by Italian immigrants. Rapini is also known as ‘broccoletti’ as it has buds that resemble broccoli. Rapini has long stalks, thin leaves and little flowerets. Please note that all parts of rapini are edible. Interestingly, despite the similarities of rapini to broccoli, rapini is actually in the turnip family – please do not ask why because I have no idea! However, if you are a plant expert feel free to explain this to me.DYK rapini is part of the TURNIP family?? Click To Tweet
How to prepare:
You will need to cut about 6 mm off the base of the rapini stocks (this is the tough part). Then clean the rapini stocks and then blanch in boiling salted water for about 6 minutes or until tender. It is very common to then sauté the cooked rapini in garlic and olive oil on low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Finally, enjoy rapini possibly as a tasty vegetable side dish or added to pasta as a main dishes.
Rapini like other dark green leafy vegetables has folate, vitamin C and vitamin K. In half a cup of cooked rapini you can receive 10% of your daily folic acid requirement, which promotes red blood cell production. In half a cup of rapini there is 40% of your daily vitamin C, which the body utilizes as a powerful antioxidant for cancer prevention. Vitamin K helps with the absorption of calcium and in ½ cup of rapini you will receive 190% of your daily vitamin K requirement. Therefore, rapini has a significant amount of vitamin K to keep your bone density and reduce risk for fractures.Rapini is a nutritional powerhouse and helps reduce the risk for bone fractures! Find out more! Click To Tweet
Rapini also contains phytochemicals (chemical that occurs naturally in plants with health benefits). One of these phytochemicals is called lutein, which is an antioxidant that protects the eye and decreases the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Additionally, you will also receive an estimated 1,700 micrograms of beta-carotene which again has antioxidant qualities.
Enjoy rapini – this is a nutritional superstar of a veggie! In summary, it is delicious and relatively easy to prepare. Stay tuned for my next blog post where I put a spin on kale chips using rapini!