Broccolini is a member of the Brassica family, alongside broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. It was invented many years ago in Japan where, using plant-breeding techniques, broccoli and Chinese kale were combined to create a more flavorsome Brassica. Looking similar to broccoli, this vegetable goes by many names, including tenderstems (in the UK), sweet baby broccoli, asparation, bimi, broccoletti, and Italian sprouting broccoli. It is also sometimes referred to as baby broccoli.
Broccolini Appearance and Taste
Broccolini is similar in appearance to broccoli in that it is made up of a green stem topped with florets. But whereas the broccoli stem can be very thick and tough, the stem of broccolini is thin and tender. And instead of densely packed florets, broccolini has looser crowns that seem more leaf-like.
Broccolini has a mild, somewhat sweet, distinctive flavor and texture more like asparagus than traditional broccoli. It is tender from floret to stem so you can eat the whole vegetable. This is unlike ordinary broccoli which tends to have a sometimes woody stem.
Broccolini Cooking Techniques
Broccolini is a very versatile vegetable as it is delicious when cooked in a variety of ways—it can be sauteed, steamed, grilled, stir-fried, boiled, roasted, and even eaten raw. Taking just 10 minutes or so to cook, it needs very little except a sprinkle of salt and is easily incorporated into pasta dishes, casseroles, risottos, salads, and can be served with a dip as an appetizer.
But no matter how you prepare it, don't cut off the stems! They will become nice and tender when cooked and are not only tasty but packed with nutrition.
Broccolini Nutritional Value
Broccolini is considered a superfood since it is rich in vitamin C, providing 100 percent of the daily requirement. It also contains calcium, vitamins A and E, potassium, folate, and iron. Pair this with only 35 calories per serving and you've got one healthy vegetable.