Broccoli Rabe with White Beans and Cheddar Breadcrumbs

broccoli rabe, white beans, and cheddar breadcrumbs on a sheet pan

Broccoli rabe and creamy white beans drizzled with olive oil, roasted for just 5 minutes in the oven, and topped with cheesy breadcrumbs is not only delicious, but it’s a foolproof formula for making any vegetable irresistible. Here’s what you do next time you’re not sure what to do with that bunch of kale, head of broccoli, or whole butternut squash that’s been sitting on your counter: Season generously with olive oil and salt, roast in the oven until tender, and top with some combination of cheese and crispy, toasted panko. It’s like a deconstructed, healthy vegetable gratin that you can make in under a half hour.

It’s a particularly wonderful application for broccoli rabe (also called rapini), which has a bitter, peppery flavor that needs a little extra love to make it palatable. Once it’s been tamed a bit, the flavor is among my favorites of the green vegetables. 

How to cook broccoli rabe

Broccoli rabe can be sautéed, steamed, roasted, or cooked like any other vegetable. It just needs to be cooked (raw broccoli rabe is not delicious). I find roasting to be the absolute easiest way to cook it; you can make a lot at one time on a sheet pan, and it only takes 5 minutes at 425℉. 

Simply toss the broccoli rabe with your favorite seasonings (olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes are my go-to), arrange on a sheet pan, and roast for 5 minutes at 425℉. 

Broccoli rabe serving suggestions

Serve this roasted broccoli rabe as a side dish, or on top of olive-oil drenched toast, in a bowl of pasta with Parmesan cheese (or this whole-wheat pasta recipe), and on the side of roast chicken. For an easy one-pan meal, heat the oven to 425℉, arrange chicken on a sheet pan and cook, adding broccoli rabe to the pan for the last 5-8 minutes of cooking. Add a baked potato wrapped in foil to the oven at the same time as the chicken and you’ve got a complete meal.

More favorite vegetable recipes:

How to make Broccoli Rabe with White Beans and Cheddar Breadcrumbs

broccoli rabe and white beans, uncooked, on sheet pan

Arrange the broccoli rabe and cannellini beans on a large sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and ½ tsp red pepper flakes. Toss gently; taste a bean and adjust seasonings. Roast the broccoli rabe mixture for 5 minutes, until tender, bright green, and slightly crisp on the edges.

panko breadcrumbs in skillet with red spatula

Meanwhile, make the Cheddar breadcrumbs: Add butter and garlic to a small skillet and heat over medium-low. Stir in fresh breadcrumbs or panko and toast until deeply golden-brown, stirring frequently, 3-5 minute. Keep an eye on them, they can burn easily!

adding cheddar to panko breadcrumbs in skillet with red spatula

Remove from heat and stir in the Cheddar.

cheddar melting in panko breadcrumbs in skillet with red spatula

Stir until melted.

adding cheddar breadcrumbs to broccoli rabe and beans on sheet pan

After broccoli rabe has been roasted, scatter with the Cheddar breadcrumbs (breaking apart any large clusters) and serve. 

Broccoli Rabe with White Beans and Cheddar Breadcrumbs

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Side Dish American
By Samantha Serves: 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes

Broccoli rabe and creamy white beans drizzled with olive oil and spices, roasted for just 5 minutes in the oven, and topped with cheesy breadcrumbs.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, thick stems trimmed (like asparagus)
  • 1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 small (or 2 medium) garlic cloves, grated or pressed
  • ⅓ cup fresh breadcrumbs or panko
  • ⅓ cup sharp white Cheddar, grated

Instructions

1

Arrange the broccoli rabe and cannellini beans on a large sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Toss gently; taste a bean and adjust seasonings.

2

Heat the oven to 425℉. While the oven is heating up, make the Cheddar breadcrumbs: Add the butter and garlic to a small skillet and heat over medium-low. Once the butter is melted and the garlic starts to sizzle, stir in the fresh breadcrumbs or panko and toast until deeply golden-brown, stirring frequently, 3-5 minutes (keep an eye on them, they can burn easily). Remove from heat and stir in the Cheddar. Taste and season with salt if needed.

3

Roast the broccoli rabe mixture for 5 minutes, until tender, bright green, and slightly crisp on the edges. Remove from the oven, scatter with the Cheddar breadcrumbs (breaking apart any large clusters) and serve.

Notes

The cannellini beans will want to sink to the bottom of the sheet tray when you toss them with the broccoli rabe- that’s okay! They won’t dry out if they’re hidden under the leafy greens. Serve this on top of olive-oil drenched toast, in a bowl of pasta with Parmesan cheese, or on the side of roast chicken.

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