Broccoli Raab with Pecans

February 4th, 2009 by megan · 10 Comments

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I grew up mostly in the Southern U.S. (courtesy of the U.S. Army), while my husband is basically 100% Italian. This dish is inspired by our very different backgrounds: pecans are quintessentially Southern, and broccoli raab is a classic Italian vegetable. Broccoli raab (a.k.a., broccoli “rabe”) is a bitter green vegetable in season starting in the fall. It’s commonly paired with fennel sausage in Italian-American cooking, but it’s also delicious as a side dish for pork and chicken.

Broccoli Raab

Broccoli Raab


1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1 large bunch broccoli raab
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed with the back of your knife and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon lemon zest (Meyer lemon zest is really good if you have on hand)
Kosher salt
Lemon slices for serving (or Meyer lemon slices)

Broccoli Raab with Pecans

Broccoli Raab with Pecans

Serves: 2-3


  1. Toast the pecans in a dry, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until just fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Remove the tough lower stems of the broccoli raab. Pick off and discard any yellowed or wilted outer leaves.
  3. In a medium pot, boil 2 quarts of water. Add a generous pinch of kosher salt and the broccoli raab. Boil for 4-5 minutes, or until the stems are just starting to feel tender. Remove the broccoli raab to a bowl, leaving a bit of water clinging to the vegetables.
  4. In a large, non-stick skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil and the garlic over medium-high heat until the garlic is golden in color and very fragrant, about 2 minutes (do not let brown!). Add the broccoli raab with a bit of the cooking water still clinging to it, a pinch of kosher salt, and the red pepper flakes.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium and saute, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli raab is very tender (this depends on how large and tough the stems are).
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the pecans and the lemon zest. Taste and correct for salt.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon wedges on the side.


Marc @ NoRecipes Feb 4, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Wow, that’s some gorgeous broccoli raab, where did you find that?! Love the combo you did here.

The Duo Dishes Feb 4, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Nice crunch with the pecans!

Jessica Feb 4, 2009 at 6:53 pm

I love broccoli rabe (raab)! That’s great that you paired it with pecans from your southern roots. Both of my parents are from the south so I know all about those pecans. Great dish!

Joan Nova Feb 4, 2009 at 7:22 pm

one of my favorite vegetables…especially with pasta!

Selba Feb 4, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Your broccoli raab with pecans looks so beautiful and yummy!

megan Feb 4, 2009 at 10:23 pm

I got my broccoli raab at my local food co-op!

gastroanthropologist Feb 5, 2009 at 6:08 am

Nuts are so underused with green veggies, but they go together so well. That picture looks so appetizing!

Mike Feb 5, 2009 at 10:48 am

My grandmother used to keep the lower stems of the broccoli raab attached and would instead use a vegetable peeler to get rid of the tough outer skin. It’s very labor intensive, especially when she was cooking for the 6 to 10 people who usually showed up for dinner, so she often recruited me for that task.
We’d peel them together while we sat on the couch watching The 4:30 Movie on Channel 7.

katie Feb 7, 2009 at 2:25 am

sexy pic. looks like such a homey dish. simple yet i wanna eat it now.

pecans + pepper flakes are kinda like cayenne pepper glazed pecans but easier!


megan Feb 9, 2009 at 8:02 pm

oh – yes you can totally peel very thick stems if you have them – this particular bunch of b.r. had fairly thin-ish, tender-ish stalks. Definitely would save some cash by peeling the stems.

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