What Is Broccolini | Spoiler: A Tasty Broccoli Hybrid!

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If you’re wondering what is broccolini, I’m happy to clear that up. Although it is often called “baby broccoli,” broccolini is actually a tender, smaller hybrid of broccoli and gai lan (Chinese broccoli), both brassicas.

This leafy green veggie belongs to the B. oleracea species in the cultivar group, Brassica oleracea Italica Group x Alboglabra Group.

Believe it or not, the name broccolini® is trademarked and belongs to Mann Packing. How cool is that?!

  • Broccolini is more tender and requires no peeling of the stem. The whole thing is edible – simply cut off the end by the roots.
  • The flavor tends to be a bit sweeter than traditional broccoli. Some compare it to asparagus.
  • Broccolini grows a bit faster than broccoli. You can expect to harvest this vegetable in about 60-90 days from planting, when the florets form small heads and the leaves turn dark green. (For perspective, when growing broccoli from seed, the time to harvest is generally between 100 and 150 days – zowie!)
What is Broccolini - Here is a broccolini seedling of the popular broccoli hybrid in an egg carton with potting soil.

Similar Veggies

Broccolini is similar to broccoli and Chinese broccoli gai lan – its parents! All three of these hold close similarities to cabbage.

Meanwhile, it is not as similar to broccoli rabe, which is more closely related to turnips. (Well, that explains the bitterness!)

Broccolini vs. Broccoli

Similar to broccoli, broccolini is enjoyed both raw and cooked. The flavor profile is similar, with a subtle sweetness in the hybrid vegetable.

Both brassicas can be steamed, sauteed, roasted, grilled, and eaten raw. Broccolini makes a fine substitute for broccoli in your favorite recipes.

What Is Broccolini Good with

This mild veggie is delicious both raw and cooked. Try it in some creative recipes with flavor infusions of:

  • Sauteed Garlic
  • Oven Roasted with Mushrooms
  • Grilled with Lemon
  • Beef and Broccolini Stir-fry
  • Fresh Veggie Salad

Use your imagination to come up with other tasty recipes!

Nutrition Info

Leafy green vegetables are so healthy for you! Try to incorporate broccolini into your menu as available for a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals.

The nutrition information suggests that a serving size of 7 pieces (85g) contains around 35 calories. This brassica has little to no fat and a small amount of sodium, about 25mg.

When it comes to carbs, broccolini offers 1g of fiber and about 5g of net carbs, plus 2g of glucose. You can enjoy adding 3g of protein to your diet as well!

Broccolini is very rich in Vitamin C at about 195% of the recommended daily value. It also contains a good amount of Vitamin A (30% dv) and a bit of calcium (6%) and iron (4%).

Final Thoughts: Growing Broccolini

We are excited to grow this veggie for the first time this year! In 2020, the cabbage white (cabbage moth / cabbage butterfly) decimated all of our brassicas. Hopefully we have better luck this time.

We have since decided to try broccolini instead, since it grows to harvest much quicker.

I found our seeds sprouted very quickly and we are excited to see how they do once we transplant them outside. So far, I did notice they are one of the thirstiest seedlings we have started!

I’ll be sure to come back and update this post with more details and photos.

In the meantime, please shout out in the comments about your adventures growing or cooking broccolini and any tips or questions you might have.

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