Broccolini is to broccoli what baby Yoda is to Yoda. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a misspelling of broccoli. Since broccolini is picked early, it is often known as baby broccoli. It does share a resemblance with broccoli to an extent, but it is not the same thing. Many people, like me, prefer the sweeter taste of broccolini over broccoli’s distinguishably strong taste.

What is broccolini?

Broccolini is a cross-breed between Chinese broccoli and traditional broccoli. This is why you may notice the longer stems and leaves of the Chinese broccoli in it, whereas its florets resemble those of the traditional broccoli. 

What is the difference between broccolini and broccoli?

Broccolini is a hybrid cross between Chinese broccoli and traditional broccoli. Broccolini has a mild “greens” flavor and the entire plant can be eaten. It has longer stalks with loose crown florets. The popular broccoli you found year-round in grocery stores has a tree-like head and short stems. Most recipes call to discard the stems of the popular broccoli because they are woody/tougher than broccolini. Learn more about broccoli and how long broccoli will last here.

Both broccoli and broccolini can be roasted, sautéed, steamed, and eaten raw. What ways do you like to eat both of these green, cruciferous vegetables?

How does broccolini taste?

When it comes to taste, broccolini is somewhere between the traditional broccoli and the Chinese one. It is mellower and does not taste as bitter as the traditional broccoli—borrowing a small chunk of significance from its Chinese counterpart. Texture-wise, it has a pleasing crunch. Some people also think that broccolini tastes like asparagus.

How to cook with broccolini

Broccolini is succulent when used in different dishes. It can be roasted, boiled, stir-fried, grilled, steamed, and sautéed. You only need 10 minutes to cook it. Sprinkle a small amount of salt to bring out its lovely nutty flavor. You can add it to a wide range of dishes, including salads, risottos, casseroles, stir-fries, and pasta. 

Also, broccolini is used as an appetizer with a dip, similar to broccoli. Make sure you rinse broccolini before cooking or eating it. Contrary to its traditional counterpart, broccolini has a tender stem that is covering the area from the floret to the stem. This is why many people eat the whole vegetable. 

If your tiny broccoli has dry or yellow tips, you can cut them off. Unlike some other vegetables, you don’t need to peel off the stems or leaves of this vegetable.

Where can I find broccolini?

Perhaps the reason why broccolini has been overlooked is that it is not as widely available as broccoli, and its rarity means it costs more per ounce. However, lately, grocery stores have been stocking it. You can buy it loosely tied in bunches or sometimes plastic-wrapped on a tray in the fresh produce section of local supermarkets. I haven’t seen it available in the frozen foods, but that doesn’t mean it’s out there somewhere. Let us know if you can find distinct broccolini in the frozen foods section of your store.

How to store broccolini?

To store broccolini in the fridge, place it in an opened plastic back and place it in your crisper drawer in the fridge. It will last up to a week in the fridge but is best used within 5 days. Wait to wash the broccolini until you are ready to use it. Use a vented storage container to help keep your produce fresher longer.

In case you want to preserve it for several months, chop it into bite-size pieces. Now, blanch these pieces in boiling water. After blanching, broccolini gains a brighter green color. Dunk it quickly into an ice bath - a bowl of icy water. Use a single baking sheet layer to freeze it for two hours. Lastly, place the vegetable in freezer bags to keep it fresh for a long time. 

Here’s a super cute baby teething toy that looks like broccoli! I imagine this might get your baby used to the idea of having vegetables once he or she is eating soft food. Too cute!!

To Sum Up

You can replace broccoli with broccolini in most recipes. As a broccoli lover, it is a good idea to expand your taste buds. Who knows, you might also ditch broccoli for its cuter counterpart. For starters, you can watch these three ways to cook and serve broccolini.

About the author

Meet Go-Go-Gadget Renee'. Her passion for #kitchen gadgets is matched only by her love for tech. A real #foodie, she's all heart for red wine and delicious meals. #CookingChewTribe

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