Meatball Soup with Broccoli Rabe

Introducing broccoli rabe, no, it's not broccoli!

Broccoli, we know. But broccoli rabe? broccoli raab? Both are pronounced ‘rob’ and it’s also called ‘rapini’.

Scientifically, broccoli and broccoli rabe belong to the same family of cabbages and by color, they might be twins.

But broccoli rabe is all about its slightly bitter leaves not its tiny top-side sprouts, and thus is treated like spinach or chard.

It’s found in Italian and Chinese cuisine and lucky for us, is also taking hold here. And it’s worth seeking out. I’ve seen it Kirkwood, Rock Hill and Webster Groves. If you don’t, ask your produce manager about a special order. I’m sure you’ll be greeted graciously.

RAPINI PANINI If the name alone won’t make the kids clamor for greens, well, perhaps hot bread and cheese will. Broccoli raab makes a great stuffing for hot sandwiches. Just sauté a couple of chopped handsful per sandwich in olive oil with chopped garlic and, yes! two or three mashed anchovies. Tuck between bread slices with mozzarella or goat cheese, roasted red pepper, thin slices of salami and grill like a grilled cheese sandwich. Or tuck into a soft roll, wrap in foil and warm in a 350F oven for 15 minutes.
ALANNA's TIPS The soup tastes just as good on Day Two but looks better on Day One. For more ideas about ways to cook broccoli rabe, visit A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Send a favorite recipe for leafy greens to e-mail.


Hearty, heart-warming fare
Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Time to table: 40 minutes
Serves 6
  • 6 cups chicken or other broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 14 ounces white kidney beans, rinsed (also called cannellini)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ cup dried pasta, preferably orecchiette, ‘little ears’
  • ½ pound broccoli rabe, heavy stems discarded, leaves chopped (or fresh spinach, tough stems trimmed)

  • 1 egg, whisked
  • ½ pound ground veal
  • ½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan (from about 2 square inches)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Bring broth to a boil in microwave. In a Dutch oven, heat oil til shimmery on medium high. Add carrot and onion as prepped, stirring to coat; cook til just beginning to soften. Add beans, garlic, hot broth and seasoning. Bring to a boil. (Stop here if cooking ahead of time.) Add pasta and broccoli rabe, cover and cook til pasta is nearly done.

Meanwhile, combine meatball ingredients. Shape into 18 balls. Drop all at once into soup pot, submerging throughout. Cook for about 10 minutes until fully cooked. Serve in bowls with grated Parmesan on top.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 272 Cal (26% from Fat); 8g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 30g Carb; 5g Fiber; 963mg Sodium; 76mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 5 points

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/11/2007

    Aaaa - frikadellisupp with a difference:-) I've never had broccoli rabe (though I've had broccolini and sprouting broccoli, but apparently they're totally different things, even if they look very much alike).
    Lucky you for being able to meet Susan of Food Blogga. I love her blog!! But then I get to meet the London bloggers again soon, so I think there's justice in the world after all:)


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna