Cheese Steak With Broccoli Rabe, The Best Italian Sandwich

Everyone loves a sandwich but when it is for dinner, you would like it to be special. My Italian Cheese Steak With Broccoli Rabe, is the best sandwich I’ve had in a long time. Thinly sliced steak, caramelized onions and melted sharp provolone cheese is topped with healthy, garlicky broccoli rabe and served on a toasted Italian sandwich roll. To round out the meal and add color, I served a salad of sweet roasted red peppers.

Cheese Steak With Broccoli Rabe, The Best Italian Sandwich
Cheese Steak With Broccoli Rabe, The Best Italian Sandwich

When you look at this sandwich, you can see that it is a complete meal served inside an Italian roll. The nice thing is that the broccoli rabe is as much of a star ingredient as the steak. Broccoli rabe, raab or rapini is an Italian green whose stalks, leaves and florets have a bitter taste. Once blanched and sautéed with olive oil and garlic, the greens are no longer bitter and are a great counterpart to the rich taste of the beef.

Italian Cheese Steak Sandwich With Broccoli Rabe

Makes two large sandwiches, adjust the recipe accordingly

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe

  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • crushed red pepper, optional

Wash the broccoli rabe, trim off the tough end of the stems and then cut into thirds. Add the greens to a pot of salted, boiling water and blanch for three minutes. Pour the greens into a colander in the sink, run under cold water and then drain well. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the garlic and cook for about a minute until it is softened. Add the well drained broccoli rabe, season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Cook until the greens are tender, about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a bowl.

Caramelized Onions

  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

Heat the oil in a sauté pan then add the onions and cook over low to medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes until caramelized, stirring frequently. Transfer the onions to a bowl.

Sandwich

  • 1/2 – 3/4 lb. very thinly sliced ribeye or top sirloin steak*
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. oil
  • caramelized onions (see recipe above)
  • 4 slices of sharp provolone cheese
  • sautéed broccoli rabe (see recipe above)
  • 2 6-inch Italian rolls, sliced in half (I like to hollow out the bottom half a little), brushed with olive oil and toasted lightly

*Some markets sell very thinly sliced steak for Korean and Japanese steak dishes. If not, ask your butcher if he will slice meat very thinly for you to use for a steak sandwich. Be sure to let him know that you appreciate his efforts with a big “thank you”. If this is not possible, buy a steak, freeze until firm but not hard and slice as thin as you can with a very sharp knife.

Heat oil in a large sauté pan or cast-iron skillet until almost smoking. Season the steak well with salt and pepper and add the meat to the pan, in two batches if necessary, and sear very quickly on each side until brown on the outside but still rare to medium rare on the inside.

To assemble the sandwiches, divide the meat between the two roll bottoms, top with onions and the sliced cheese. Place under a broiler just long enough for the cheese to melt, remove from the broiler and top with broccoli rabe and add the top of the roll.

****

This cheese steak sandwich with broccoli rabe, was inspired by popular sandwiches served in cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago, and Boston.  Within each of those cities, you will find countless variations of a sandwich simply referred to as a “cheese steak”. Whether called a sandwich, sub or hoagie, they are sometimes prepared with pork or chicken instead of steak. They can be ordered with ingredients such as sautéed onions, peppers, mushrooms, or broccoli rabe, and then topped with sliced cheese or Cheese Whiz.

I hope you will enjoy having this Italian cheese steak sandwich topped with broccoli rabe for lunch or even your dinner…I thought it was delicious. Buon appetito!

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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

215 thoughts on “Cheese Steak With Broccoli Rabe, The Best Italian Sandwich

  1. I do love a good cheese-steak sammie from time to time and with the addition of broccoli rabe your version looks wonderful. Great idea to add some “green” to this traditionally “brown” sandwich Karen.

    1. Hi Teresa, I’m glad you like the idea of adding the broccoli rabe to the cheese steak sandwich. As you say, it adds nice color and really goes well with the rich flavor of the steak.

    1. Hi Didi, I’m glad you like the sandwich…thank you. We don’t have sandwiches for dinner often but this one was so good. 🙂

      1. I totally believe that! … by the way, thanks a lot for letting me know you couldn’t post comments on my site. I’ll look into it now. 😉

      2. Hopefully it is just a glitch but since it has been happening for several of your posts, I thought you should know. 🙂

    1. Hi Maureen, My days have been incredibly busy for the last few weeks and this sandwich was not only great tasting but quick to make. I’m glad you like what I created, thank you!

    1. Hi Lori, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. I think you will enjoy the broccoli raab…it is great with pasta too.

    1. Hi Charlie, I’m glad you agree with me about this being a complete meal, meat, cheese, veggies and bread…it is all there. Thank you for your nice compliment, I appreciate it. 🙂

  2. I love how colorful this sandwich is. Every year when we have our family get together, a sandwich lunch is on the agenda. I am always looking for new ideas. This is great, but I would have to make at least 10 sandwiches. But it looks worth the effort. Thanks Karen.

    1. Hi Penny, I’m glad that you like the sandwich. If I was going to be making this sandwich for a crowd, I would prepare my caramelized onions and broccoli rabe the day before. That way you would only need to heat them up and then cook your meat which just takes mere minutes. Thank you for your nice compliment. 🙂

  3. I am so going to have to try broccoli rabe in my sandwich next time. I love vegetables so I know I would love this combo. Your sandwich does look like that would satisfy even a hungry teenager. Did you eat that whole thing yourself? I would not blame you if you did as this looks so good. Take care, BAM

    1. Hi Bobbi, I do think you will enjoy the broccoli rabe, it is a nice counterpart to the meat. I believe the sandwich would make a hungry teenager very happy. Would you believe, I did eat the whole thing but there is a secret to how I did it. I hollow out the roll so it is just a crusty outer shell to hold all the goodies. 😀

  4. I love all things broccoli and I’m quite partial to a good cheese steak sandwich. I had an inferior one earlier this week; nothing like this beauty! I like the idea of an all in one meal. We are quite the sandwich fiends in our house and the girls would love this! Thanks Karen.

    1. Hi Nazneen, I know what you mean about ordering a cheese steak sandwich and being disappointed with what you get. In my rural area, finding consistently good food can be a challenge. I do think you would like this sandwich…the broccoli rabe really adds a lot to the flavor. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Jovina, I’m glad you like this sandwich as much as I do. Yes, adding the broccoli rabe to the sandwich not only gives it a great taste but also gives you a nice serving of your daily leafy green vegetables for a healthy diet. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Madonna, I’m happy to know that you like my cheese steak sandwich. Thank you for your nice compliment. Yes, you really need to let your butcher know how much you appreciate his talents when it comes to butchering meats. Even if I’m not buying something from the meat department, I always try to say “hello” and have a little conversation. Everyone loves to be appreciated for a job well done and a good butcher is getting harder to find because of the large supermarkets that only sell prepackaged meat. 🙂

    1. Hi Darryl, I’m glad to know that you love rapini as much as I do. So many people say they don’t like it because it is bitter but blanching takes all that out. I also try to buy a bunch with the smallest stems as they will be less bitter, as well. Thank you for your nice compliment…I’m happy you like my sandwich. 🙂

  5. I must confess, I would never have thought to add broccoli rabe to this creation. I like it, however, so it seems a good idea, especially with lots of onions!

    1. Hi Lulu, Trust me, if you like broccoli rabe, then you will love this cheese steak sandwich with the caramelized onions. 😀

  6. I so agree that the broccoli rabe is the star of this sandwich! It looks great, of course, and eye appeal is always so important. But its flavor is so interesting, and adds a lot of depth of flavor to a sandwich that can have a rather narrow range of flavor (great flavor, but narrow). Very inventive — thanks so much.

    1. Hi John, From the comments…it seems that everyone agrees that the broccoli rabe is the star in my Italian sandwich. It takes an ordinary cheese steak and turns it into something memorable. I’m happy to know that you like the recipe and appreciate your very nice compliment, as always.

    1. Hi Jane, I’m glad you like the looks of my sandwich…it really was delicious. This is definitely a sandwich I would suggest that you try at home…it is so easy to make. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  7. As usual, an excellent recipe, Karen! I applaud you for adding veggies to what’s otherwise a very fattening (but beloved) sandwich. As a recovering carnivore, I appreciate it!

    1. I appreciate your nice compliment, Arlene. By adding veggies, you can use less meat and cheese and still have a great sandwich. 🙂

    1. I’m happy that you like the sandwich Angie, thank you. I’m sorry that you don’t see broccoli rabe in your area. I think any greens sautéed in olive oil and garlic would be good on the sandwich. Perhaps turnip greens, as they are slightly bitter, would be good.

    1. Hi Norma, It is good hearing from you. 🙂 I agree with you about broccoli rabe, it is one of my favorite vegetables too. Have you ever tried growing it in your garden?

    1. Hi Ksenia, I’m glad you like broccoli rabe too. It really goes very well in this sandwich, I hope you will get a chance to try it sometime. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Denise, If you were my neighbor, I’d have you over for a nice meal with as many of these sandwiches as you could eat. 😀

    1. Hi Mad Dog, Not just broccoli but broccoli rabe. I do think you would like how the combination of flavors…it really is delicious. 🙂 Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Pamela, I’m glad that you like that I added broccoli rabe to the steak sandwich…thank you. Fresh broccoli straight from your garden will be delicious.

    1. Hi Debra, I’m glad you like my recipe…I think you would enjoy it. Oricchietti and broccoli rabe is one of my favorite pasta dishes. If I have some Italian sausage, I’ll add that to it, as well.

    1. Thank you Laura, I’m happy that you like the sandwich. Yes, the broccoli rabe and caramelized onions really do add great flavor to a cheese steak sandwich. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your very nice compliment, Conor, I’m glad to know that you like my Italian sandwich. I do hollow out the roll so that there isn’t so much bread but I did eat the whole thing. 😀

  8. Looks utterly delicious – making me want a tasty evening snack though. You’ve made me want to grow broccoli raab too.

    1. Thank you Andrea, for your lovely compliment. Broccoli rabe will bolt in the hot months but otherwise you should have no problems growing it in your wonderful garden. 🙂

    1. Thank you Monique, I’m glad you liked the photo and sandwich. BTW, I have not been able to leave comments about your posts and as well as many other bloggers that are hosted by blogspot that I follow. It is something that I’ve had problems with off and on for the longest time. Hopefully you and the other blogspot bloggers that I read will understand if you haven’t heard from me for a while.

  9. Karen what a wonderful sandwich… and I love the roasted peppers as an accompaniment! Gorgeous. Not sure I have ever seen broccoli rabe.

    1. Thank you Lizzy, I’m happy that you liked my sandwich and the roasted red pepper salad. I have read that broccoli rabe is difficult to find in Australia. I would guess it might be because it bolts easily in hot weather which might be a problem for much of the growing season.

  10. My husband would be all over this sandwich. You shared a traditional steak sandwich with a twist by using the broccoli rage. Nice!

    1. Hi Velva, If your husband is anything like mine, then you can be assured he will love the sandwich. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  11. Love the look of it and all the ingredients! Since for lack of time reasons I have been in a real stir fry mode lately, this is just a slight extension to make matters more culinary fun!!

    1. Hi Eha, Yes, the steak in this sandwich cooks up just as quickly as a stir fry. Actually, all the ingredients do once the broccoli is blanched. 🙂

    1. Hi Carolyn, It truly is a complete meal served in a roll instead of being served individually on a plate. I’m glad you like the sandwich…thank you. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment, Tandy. The caramelized onions and broccoli rabe really add lots of flavors to this sandwich.

  12. ho visto nel tuo blog così interessante, molti piatti della buona cucina italiana! ti ringrazio tanto
    felice giorno!
    I saw in your blog so interesting, many dishes of Italian cuisine! Thank you so much
    happy day!

    1. Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your lovely compliment about my blog. I’m happy to know that you enjoyed my posts. Yes, I do have many Italian dishes. My husband is Italian and I love cooking meals that bring back memories of meals he enjoyed in the past. I hope you have a wonderful week.

    1. Hi Uru, I so appreciate your sweet compliments when you stop by for a visit…you are such a loyal reader. I love that you appreciate the sandwich even though I know you are a vegetarian. 😀

    1. Hi Katerina, I’m glad you like the sandwich, thank you! I would love to deliver a sandwich to you. Do you think it would make it through security and customs? Then perhaps we could share one of your wonderful desserts with a cup of tea. 🙂

  13. Hi Karen!
    Love the “pop” of color provided by the broccoli rabe. Peppers on the side was a great choice as well. Looks so yummy!

    Hope you’ve had a good spring so far. We’ve finally warmed up this week. The geese are returning as well as the bluebirds. Have you started your tomatoes yet? Mine have been sowed, but have not popped up just yet.

    Have a wonderful week!
    : )

    1. So good to hear from you, Sue. 😀 I’m glad you liked the sandwich…it was a colorful meal with the bright green of the broccoli rabe and the red of the roasted peppers. They not only added color but lots of flavor. I planted my tomato seeds on the 3rd and about half have popped up. All the cherries and the Brandywines are being bashful and haven’t made an appearance yet. I saw all your snow as of the 31st of March…we were about the same but have had heavy rains and most is gone now.

    1. Hi Becki, Decisions, decisions. I have made both versions…with beef and with pork and they are both delicious…you can’t go wrong with either version. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Thank you so much Judy, for taking the time to stop by and your lovely comment. I wish I could send one to you…take care my friend.

    1. Hi Sandra, I’m glad that you like the combination of the caramelized onions and broccoli rabe on the cheese steak sandwich. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  14. I will try this with organic chicken gyros instead of the steak! It looks smashing & oh so appetizing too, ..not to mention: a really huge sandwich for me! 🙂 MMMMM!

    1. Hi Sophie, I think you have a great idea…I believe chicken will be very good in the sandwich. Thank you for your nice compliment, as always.

  15. Wow – now that is some kind of sandwich. I love those caramelized onions in there …oh, and of course the melted cheese. My husband would have that downed in the blink of an eye…well after he pulled out the broccoli.

    1. You gave me a chuckle with your comment, Diane. 😀 It didn’t take long for my husband to eat his sandwich but he loved the addition of broccoli rabe. Perhaps you could blindfold your husband before he takes the first bite of the sandwich…you might convert him to loving the garlicky broccoli rabe. After all, sautéing anything in olive oil and garlic makes it taste delicious.

    1. Thank you so much Jessica, for your great compliment…I appreciate it very much. If your husband is like mine, then he really will like this sandwich. 🙂

  16. Beautiful and creative sandwich, Karen! I’m with you…sandwiches for dinner need to be a little bit special. Mission accomplished here. I love the toppings. You can never go wrong with caramelized onions and melted cheese!

    1. Thank you Stacy, for your nice compliment. I do think that if you are going to have a sandwich at dinnertime then it should be a special one…I’m glad you like my Italian sandwich. 🙂

  17. Nothing like a good steak sandwich … this would do me great for lunch now. I thought it was first spinach … like the idea with broccoli – this is one for me do to. Thanks, Karen. Bookmarked.

    1. Hi Viveka, I’m glad you like the idea of adding broccoli rabe to the cheese steak…I hope you enjoy the sandwich if you get a chance to make it.

      1. I will let you know – and I will take photos too of course.
        A friend of mine is coming for a visit over Easter and I will do pulled pork your style, with the tortillas.
        Have to go through my bookmarks.

    1. Hi Jenna, I think that a lot of people are just like you because they have heard stories about how bitter this vegetable can be. If you blanch it before proceeding with any recipe, you should not have that problem. I’m happy to know that I’ve given you confidence to try broccoli rabe. I love cooking it with pasta…I’ve posted a recipe that I think you would really enjoy.

    1. Hi Christin, I’m happy that you like the addition of the broccoli rabe to the cheese steak. I think it is the best Italian sandwich. Thank you for your nice compliment. 🙂

    1. Thank you Lea Ann, I don’t say something is the best very often but I do believe you will enjoy this sandwich. My husband and I certainly did. 😀

  18. Hi Karen. This sandwich looks so delicious with the Philly cheese steak filling. Those delicious greens contrast so beautifully against that crusty exterior. What a pleasure it must have been to bite into this!

    1. Hi Jess, I appreciate your stopping by for a visit and your lovely compliment, thank you. I’m glad that you like my sandwich…I thought is was great. 🙂

    1. Hi Jason, I’m glad that you like the sandwich. I believe the broccoli rabe makes this sandwich a special one. Thank you for your nice compliment.

      1. Autocorrect has been changing rabe every single time I type it to rate and I have to change it back. I knew what you meant. 😀

  19. We have been on little bit of a steak sandwich kick lately so I can’t wait to put this one into the rotation. It sounds wonderful, Karen! The rapini is such a great idea.

    1. Hi Susan, I’m glad you like the sandwich…I hope you will enjoy it as much as my husband and I did, we thought it was delicious. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Lorraine, I agree with you that sandwiches like this are very tempting and I can assure you it was delicious. 😀 Thank you for your nice compliment.

  20. Such an awesome sandwich Karen…like the caramelized onions and yes, the broccoli rabe looks delicious…very creative.
    Hope you are having a beautiful week 😀

    1. Thank you Juliana, for your nice compliment. I’m happy to know that you liked the sandwich. The caramelized onions and broccoli rabe really do add to the flavor and make this sandwich special.

    1. Thank you April, for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. I’m happy to know that you like the addition of the broccoli rabe to the sandwich. Not only does it add greens to your meal but it is a delicious addition as far as flavor is concerned.

    1. Thank you Laila, for your nice compliment. I agree with you, it is nice when you can have all the ingredients of a delicious meal that is served in a sandwich instead of separate ingredients on a plate for a change of pace. 🙂

    1. Thank you Donalyn, for your nice compliment. I’m glad that you like the flavor combinations that I had in the sandwich…my husband and I thought is was delicious.

    1. Thank you Louise, for your nice compliment…I’m glad you like the sandwich. You will have to try and cook up some broccoli rabe soon, perhaps using it like I did in a cheese steak sandwich.

  21. Oh my gosh that looks good, Karen! 🙂 We’ve been on a sandwich kick here too, but nothing as lavish as this. Delish! 🙂

    1. Hi Krista, If you want to prepare a sandwich with a little something special, I believe you would really enjoy this one. Thank you for your nice compliment, I happy that you like what I prepared.

  22. Cheese steaks aren’t necessarily part of California cuisine like they are in some parts of the country, but deconstructed, all the ingredients are certainly popular. I can only imagine this would taste heavenly. I love the addition of the broccoli rabe and haven’t seen that on any sandwich, quite frankly. It really adds a nice color as well as an unexpected taste, I’d think. I love this, Karen. I will be on the lookout for just the right steak. 🙂

    1. Hi Debra, It is funny how certain foods are popular in one part of the country but not in others. I believe that you would enjoy the sandwich as it does have a great flavor. Thank you as always for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Daniela, I’m happy that as someone who loves sandwiches, that you like this Italian cheese steak. It does have a lot going for it…thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Thank you Adri, for your nice compliment. This truly is a complete meal in a sandwich. I hope you will enjoy the sandwich if you get a chance to prepare it.

  23. Karen, it does look like a winning combination of ingredients for a filling delicious dinner sandwich. The presence of broccoli rabe is a very original touch! (By the way, here Italian immigrants/people with Italian origins call it “cime di rapa”; it seems to have lots of names).

    1. Hi Sissi, I’m glad that you like the combination of ingredients in my Italian sandwich. It does appear that the vegetable is known by many names, thanks for letting my know of another one. 🙂

    1. Hi Donna, I’m happy that you like my version of a cheese steak…thank you for your compliment. With all the gluten free products around now, I bet someone makes a gluten free roll that you could use to make this sandwich.

    1. Hi Donna, I’m happy to know that another reader from Philadelphia approves of my cheese steak sandwich. Yes, I agree with you about the broccoli rabe adding pizzazz to the sandwich. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Pat, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. I’m glad you like the photo and sandwich, it was as good as it looks.

      1. I can’t believe after the last few warm days that it is going to turn cold again in the middle of the week. 😦

  24. Oh my gosh Karen this sandwich has my mouth watering. I love broccoli rabe and atop a steak sandwich with melted cheese sounds perfect. I think you should seriously start your own restaurant. People would come from all ends of the earth to eat your delicious food, I know I would!

    1. Thank you very much Laura, for your kind words…they are very much appreciated. I wish you were my neighbor so that I could make you one of the Italian sandwiches. 🙂

  25. Karen, this is a nice sandwich recipe indeed – there is no such thing as adding to much veg to a sandwich – the bright green broccoli rabe must truly taste wonderful in combination with the caramelized onions and the cheese!

    1. Thank you Andrea, for your nice compliment, I’m happy that you like the sandwich. I do know how much you enjoy vegetables, just as I do, so I believe you would enjoy this sandwich with its tasty combination of flavors.

  26. Sweet Lord that looks good. And Huge! And so… juicy and filling and delicious. Boy, I’d love to wrap that up in a paper parcel and take it out on a date, just me and the sandwich. And by “date”, I mean “me stuffing my face with it until it’s all gone!” :D.

    1. Hi Charles, You gave me such a laugh! I’m very happy that you like the sandwich, thank you. Hopefully you can make that “date” someday. 😀

  27. I so hope our broccoli raab starts growing again soon! We usually have it growing all over the yard, but it’s missed a couple of beds, so I threw in some seed the other day and am now crossing my fingers. I’ll bookmark this one for when we have some to harvest, thanks Karen! xx

  28. cheesesteak! Now you are speaking my language! It looks really good!
    (although as a long time Bostonian I do feel obligated to point out that you would never find cheese whiz on one in Boston 😉 Save the Cheesewhiz for Philly – Pat’s or Geno’s – I have had both!!)

  29. Made this using thin sliced round steak and for the cheese used a Fontina Asiago blend to top it and put that on a French roll under the broiler for 2-3 mins to melt. The broccoli rabe almost cost as much as the steak,isn’t that sad?
    Am saving this recipe.

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