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Broccoli Rabe

Getting kids to eat new vegetables can feel about as impossible as winning the Mega Millions Jackpot. Maybe harder. Sometimes it's really about how you word it and sell it.

Take this broccoli rabe. I actually convinced myself as I was cooking it, that it was going to be a "grown up vegetable". On the same night I also made simply roasted butternut squash as my back up because I was so sure my kids wouldn't touch it. But there it was on the dinner table and everyone was looking at it. It was also the first time my husband had seen it as well. "What is that?", they both asked. And without missing a beat, I responded "It's broccoli rabe. I squeezed lemon on it. Then sprinkled some cheese and some spicy chili flakes. But it's probably too spicy for both of you" And with that the challenge was on. My oldest responded- "I love lemon and I love spicy things. Oh yeah, and I love cheese in my omelet, so I'm probably going to like it." And sure enough, both my husband and my oldest ate the whole thing. I just stood there and stared. I once again was reminded that it's all about how you sell things. Shining a light on that new vegetable in a way that will be friendly, not scary, is the goal.

Remember, everything we do here is flexible so if you are not a fan of parmesan feel free to swap for something cheesier like mozzarella. Or if you don't do spicy foods then just do the lemon. Make it work. One bite of green vegetables is a win in my book. The rest you can eat. Enjoy!

Lemony Broccoli Rabe with Parm and Chili Flakes


2 bunches fresh broccoli rabe

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 large lemon

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (adjust to your liking)

1/3 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. (400 convection)

Take your broccoli rabe and place in a large bowl. Toss it with your oil, salt and garlic really well. Spread the broccoli over two baking sheets. Roast uncovered for 15 minutes.

Immediately after removing from the oven transfer to a serving platter and juice your lemon directly over the hot broccoli rabe. Sprinkle with your chili flakes and parmesan. Eat!

Plan Ahead:

  • This dish is best made on the day you want to eat it.

  • You can cook the broccoli earlier in the day and then right before serving heat up for 4 minutes in a hot oven and then continue with the lemon, chili and cheese.

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