How To Use Rapini (Broccoli Raab/Rabe) In Green Smoothie Recipes

RapiniI’ve tried just about every leafy green in a green smoothie, but rapini somehow kept falling under my radar. It’s not that it’s hard to come by, I mean, it’s right there under the kale, spinach and romaine lettuce I buy every week. I decided that it was time to try this green so I finally bought a couple bunches and went straight to my blender.

Also known as broccoli raab (or rabe), rapini is a leafy green in the Brassica/Crucifer family. It’s related to kale, turnips and broccoli. Despite the many warnings of how bitter this green can be, I found that it wasn’t too bitter for a green smoothie at all.

If you are new to green smoothies, I’d start out with using just a little bit. However, rapini is not anywhere near as bitter as my favorite smoothie green – dandelion!

The flavor of rapini is similar to romaine lettuce – perhaps a bit more pungeant, and I didn’t find it bitter, nor did I think it even tasted like broccoli.

Rapini (Broccoli Raab/Rabe) Nutrition Information

Like all dark, leafy greens, two cups of raw rapini provides an excellent source of vitamin A (70% RDA) as beta-carotene, as well as vitamin K (149% RDA). It also contains all B vitamins (except B12) and vitamin E (9% RDA).

Two cups of rapini is also a good source of minerals providing 9% RDA of calcium and 1.7 milligrams of iron as well as a good source of manganese, phosphorus and zinc (6% RDA).

How To Use Rapini In A Green Smoothie Recipe

Rapini can be masked with sweet fruit in a green smoothie, especially if you use citrus fruits or pineapple. The leaves taste somewhat like romaine lettuce, which I like, so I use this green interchangeably as I would any lettuce in a smoothie recipe.

I usually remove the stems and just use the leaves and the clusters of green buds that resemble small heads of broccoli.

Two cups of rapini is a good serving size for a green smoothie recipe, especially if you are used to drinking green smoothies. If you are a beginner, then start with one cup of rapini and see how you like it. The recipes below contain one cup, but feel free to double that amount to get extra calcium and iron.

Rapini (Broccoli Raab) Green Smoothie Recipes

Orange-Banana Rapini Smoothie

  • 1 medium banana, peeled
  • 2 large orange, peeled and deseeded
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 cup raw rapini, chopped
  • 4 ounces filtered water

Calories: 185 | Fat: .8g (grams) | Protein: 4g | Carbs: 46g | Fiber: 7.3 grams | Calcium: 9% | Iron: 1.4mg (milligrams) | Vitamin A: 49% | Vitamin C: 112%

Strawberry-Vanilla Rapini Smoothie

  • 10 large strawberries (with tops, if organic)
  • 1 large pear, cored
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raw rapini, chopped
  • 4 ounces filtered water

Calories: 212 | Fat: 1g (grams) | Protein: 3g | Carbs: 51g | Fiber: 11.8 grams | Calcium: 8% | Iron: 2.0mg (milligrams) | Vitamin A: 37% | Vitamin C: 137%

Papaya-Pineapple Rapini Smoothie

  • 1 cup pineapple, cubed
  • 2 cups papaya, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 cup raw rapini, chopped
  • 4 ounces coconut milk

Calories: 232 | Fat: 3g (grams) | Protein: 4g | Carbs: 51g | Fiber: 8.5 grams | Calcium: 24% | Iron: 1.6mg (milligrams) | Vitamin A: 149% | Vitamin C: 289%

How To Select and Store Fresh Rapini

Choose bright green bunches of rapini. Avoid bunches that are limp, wilted or yellowing. Whenever possible, choose organic rapini (sames goes for any leafy green) as greens are often high in pesticide residue.

Rapini is highly perishable. I store it in the fridge in a large plastic tub with a piece of paper towel to absorb excess moisture and condensation. My rapini will keep for up to 5 days this way. If you store wet rapini in a produce bag, it will likely only last a couple days.

Browse more green smoothie recipes.

Tracy Russell is the creator of RESET 28: A 28-Day Program For Energy, Weight Loss & A Healthy Glow, and founder of Incredible Smoothies. She has been helping people take control of their health and well being with green smoothies, a whole foods diet, and fitness since 2009.