Raab is what we call the tender new shoots that make their appearance every spring from overwintered brassicae crops like kale, arugula, Brussels sprouts, collards, mustards and cabbage. What we call “raab” is different from broccoli rabe, which is actually a cross between broccoli and turnip.
If we were to let the raab continue to grow, it would eventually produce seed heads by summer, but the stems would be woody and inedible. During these few short spring weeks when raab is tender and sweet, it pours its energy into the flowering tops, giving them an extra boost of nutrients.
Raabs are rich sources of fiber, vegetable protein, omega-3s, anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, B-complex vitamins, and unique phytonutrients called glucosinolates. Glucosinolates account for the much-studied anti-cancer properties of this family of vegetables.
These succulent veggie tops are easy to prepare and delicious as a side dish or cut up raw in salads. Don’t shy away from eating the whole thing.
A very simple and easy to prepare any kind of raab is to cut it into bite-sized pieces, lightly sauté it in olive oil with some chopped garlic and salt and pepper. You could also crumble some bacon on top, or sprinkle some chili flakes on it.