Recipes Side Dishes

Braised Romanesco with Onions, Olives, and Raisins (AIP, SCD)

I usually just prepare romanesco like I would ordinary broccoli, but cutting it before cooking it means that I’m the only one who gets to truly appreciate its other-worldly beauty. This recipe for braised romanesco with a sweet, salty, and savory mixture of onions, olives, and raisins is my solution! Bring it to the table with the head intact and  “carve” it at the table just before serving.

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I think this would be a lovely dish to grace a holiday table… or any time! Serve alongside any meat or seafood dish for a complete meal. In particular, I think it would be perfect with roasted leg of lamb!

What is romanesco?

This interesting vegetable’s origins are unclear, but it seems to have been grown in Italy since at least the 16th century (so, NO… it is not a genetically modified mutant of the post-industrial age!). It is botanically related to the broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage and is rich in vitamins C and K and the minerals calcium and iron.

It has a mild, somewhat nutty flavor, and a pleasing texture. Braised whole like this, romanesco can stand to be fairly well cooked – which is an advantage for people with active inflammatory bowel disease or others who have compromised digestive systems that make it hard to consume raw or lightly cooked brassica vegetables.

AIP compliant olives

Yes! You can have olives, even on the elimination phase of the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP). Not only are they a great flavor enhancer, but they are a source of healthy fats and some micronutrients, so ENJOY! Just double check the ingredient labels and make sure no pimentos or other spices are included. Kalamatas, which I use in this recipe, are a good safe option. I like this brand in particular, available from ShopAIP (along with all 100s of other AIP-compliant cooking staples and prepared foods!).

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Braised Romanesco with Onions, Olives & Raisins

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Braised Romanesco with Onions, Olives, and Raisins (AIP, SCD)

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  • Author: Jaime Hartman
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


A whole head of romanesco makes a stunning side dish! Serve at a holiday meal and “carve” it at the table so all can enjoy its unusual beauty.


  • 1 large head of romanesco broccoli (12 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced (about 3 cups total when sliced)
  • 1 cup bone broth
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • salt to taste


  1. Remove and discard any leaves that came attached to the romanesco head. Using a sharp paring knife, cut a large X about 2 inches deep into the bottom of the head. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot with a lid, such as a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onion to hot oil and saute, stirring frequently, until very soft and slightly brown (5-7 minutes).
  4. Add bone broth and olives and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Gently place romanesco head on top of onion mixture.
  6. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until romanesco is very tender and will cut apart with ease.
  7. Carefully remove the romanesco and set aside. Add raisins and lemon juice to onion mixture and stir. Taste and salt as desired.
  8. Place the onion mixture on serving plate and then place the whole romanesco on top of that. Garnish with lemon zest and a sprinkle of coarse salt before serving.
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Category: Side
  • Cuisine: Italian


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