Broccoli, the side dish of Naples’s festivities

Christmas broccoli, a special side dish in Naples’s festivities

Christmas is approaching and in the table set for the festivities, are coming the extraordinary specialties of the Italian culinary tradition: among these there are the broccoli of Christmas, also called in Neapolitan dialect “vruoccole and fronna of Christmas”. In Naples is a typical dish of the Christmas Eve dinner characterized by a strong flavor with pleasant bitter notes and it is customary to serve it as an appetizer or side dish to accompany meat or fish dishes.

Broccoli di Natale: la ricetta facile e veloce del contorno

The difference between common broccoli and Christmas broccoli

The term “vruoccolo” has ancient origins. In fact, it comes from the Latin and is the diminutive form of pitcher, therefore from the lower Latin broccum, used to apostrophe a scion or indicate a sprout.

The Christmas broccoli are found only in the festive period and only in a small and circumscribed area of the Boot between Salerno and Naples. They are cultivated mainly in the areas of theagro-nocerino sarnese (where it is also grown San Marzano DOP) or in the areas adjacent to the regional capital.

Although very similar to the most common broccoli, the broccoli of Christmas have stems with leaves of medium structure, which end with green inflorescences. They are tall and tender and you call them  vruoccole .To be ready in December, the harvest begins in November, so they are grown from the second half of July: the production cycle of the vegetable, in fact, lasts about 5 months.

Come coltivare i broccoli: i pochi passi per un'ottima raccolta

A concentration of well-being

The broccoli of Christmas are part of the family of Brassicaceae (or Cruciferae) and represent one of the tastiest seasonal vegetables of the winter months along with cauliflower, cabbage and mustard.

Among the many nutrients of this vegetable, the most important are i minerals (potassium, iron, calcium), the vitamins (A, C, E and vitamins of the B group), the antioxidants can counteract the effects of free radicals and the fiber that contributes to intestinal regularity and give a greater sense of satiety. Among the antioxidants is the lutein, important to maintain eye health and reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataract.

These vegetables also contain flavonoids, which together with sulfur compounds, including sulforaphane, perform a’prevention of cancer, especially those of prostate, breast and colon.

They are indicated for those who follow a & nbsp;low-calorie diet because they provide a low calorie intake but satiate a lot and their low glycemic index makes them suitable to be consumed by diabetics or those who devon keep your blood sugar under control.

The recipe for Christmas broccoli salad


  • 1 kg of Christmas Broccoli from Campania
  • 2 cloves of garlic cleaned and chopped
  • 4 cucciai of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • Coarse salt q.b.
  • Salt up to q.b.


  1. Clean broccoli using both stems and inflorescences. Rinse in cold water and boil in salted water adding a little lemon. Thanks to their very tender nature, Christmas broccoli will cook soon and to verify the cooking just sink the fork in the core; if it sinks means that they are ready to be drained. At the end of cooking, they must still be slightly crispy e al dente;
  2. When they are boiled, lift them with a skimmer and pass them under a jet of cold water: This step is necessary to stop cooking and keep the color bright green. When they are warmed, season with oil, chopped garlic and salt.
  3. Finally, pour lemon juice over the broccoli and serve next to the fish or meat dishes during Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner.

The prepared Christmas broccoli can be stored hermetically in a container no more than two days in the fridge. Warning: keep them will be very difficult because given their goodness will hardly remain for more days days!

Broccoli di Natale napoletani: la ricetta tradizionale - La Cucina Italiana

Cover Image: Dissapore

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