Best Escarole Substitutes

Occasionally a recipe asks for an item that we believe we have on hand, only to discover that we are entirely out when we are halfway through preparing the dish! When this occurs, it is advantageous to be able to make a rapid substitution for a simple option.

What, however, is a decent escarole substitute? Let us investigate!

What Is Escarole?

Escarole is a Bavarian and Batavian endive with curly, thick green leaves (though others believe it is native to Sicily). When used in a number of dishes, it imparts a peppery, bitter taste. Its leaves on the outside margins are darker in color and have a more bitter flavor. The texture of the inside leaves is often more sensitive.

The escarole chicory is bundled and arranged with fresh lettuce leaves. Escarole is significantly more expensive than lettuce and is considered a gourmet food item. Escarole requires little preparation before usage since it simply requires a brief rinsing.

Escarole may be used in a variety of ways, both cooked and uncooked. Italian wedding soup is one of the most common uses for escarole. Several chefs serve escarole with white beans as a soup or as a nice side dish with ham or bacon. Escarole, or a replacement, may be grilled, sautéed, or served raw as salad greens.

Escarole also has important nutritional advantages. Per ounce, it has more minerals and vitamins than iceberg lettuce. Escarole is high in fiber, vitamin A, iron, vitamin C, and calcium, in addition to being low in calories. Escarole generally has 15 calories, 1 gram of protein, 3 grams of carbohydrates, and 35% of the recommended requirement for vitamin A.

Top 5 Escarole Substitutes

Escarole may be replaced with a variety of flavorful vegetables. The selections below are wonderful raw or cooked, and each adds a unique taste to your home cooking.

1. Arugula

Arugula, a mustard green and cabbage family member, is a suitable alternative for escarole. It has a spicy taste and is a favorite ingredient in spring salad dishes. This green is available all year, although it is most readily accessible in the autumn and spring. While more costly than lettuce, it is still inexpensive and simple to prepare.

Arugula is usually sold in bunches, however it may attract sand and grime. To properly prepare the arugula, give it a thorough washing and, if necessary, trim the root ends.

Arugula may be eaten either cooked or raw. As a raw leaf, the green is typically offered in salads. Its peppery flavor goes well with strong tastes like citrus, cheese, and others. Arugula also enhances the taste of pesto and grilled pizzas. It goes nicely with sandwiches, but many chefs use it in lasagnas, crostini, pesto dishes, stir-fries, and vegetable sautees.

Arugula, like escarole, is great in soups, spaghetti, and other side dishes. The flavor of arugula is spicy, acidic, and peppery. Its fresh green taste makes it an excellent addition to salads. The fragile leaves are accompanied by a sturdy stalk, similar to spinach. Arugula is often available in farmers markets in the early summer, although it is accessible all year at different stores.

2. Kale

Kale is a dark green, leafy vegetable that is related to cabbage and mustard. It not only keeps fresh in freezing conditions, but it is also simple and easy to cultivate. Because of its multiple health advantages and hardiness, it is a possible escarole alternative. It was formerly only available in specialty health food shops, but it is now a popular diet choice in conventional supermarkets.

Instead of circular, packed heads, kale stems feature long, loose leaves. While shopping for kale, you’ll most likely come across curly or baby kale. Baby kale has soft leaves and is often used in salads. Curly kale is more fibrous and may be used more effectively when cooked. Kale not only adds texture and color to recipes, but it also has high nutritional content.

Whenever you serve kale cooked or raw, it’s essential to remove the stems before eating the leaves. After rinsing the kale, use a paring knife to remove the stems. Raw kale is often chopped and put into salads. Kale’s tough leaves will be dampened with an oil-based dressing. Kale may also be prepared by baking, boiling, sautéing, or stir-frying.

Kale works well in stews and soups because its tough leaves retain their form throughout the cooking process. It will also keep its firm texture rather than mushing up. To make kale into a nice side dish, sauté it with salt, pepper, or garlic until it wilts.

3. Spinach

Another green escarole substitute that may be eaten raw or cooked is spinach. It may be found on a wide range of restaurant menus and recipes. Spinach is often sold as a full leaf, including larger leaves with thick stalks. It is also available in spring spinach, baby spinach, and other raw forms. It is offered in a bag and has previously been cleaned.

Spinach is a vegetable that goes well with both savory and sweet dishes, whether cooked or raw. This low-cost, healthful ingredient complements stir-fries, soups, and other dishes. Many smoothie enthusiasts will use it as a healthy component into their everyday mixes. Its robust taste may shine through when combined with other tasty items.

Spinach pairs nicely with fatty, rich dishes like butter, cheese, cream, and bacon whether eaten for lunch or supper. Spinach is also often used in quiche, pasta dishes, and omelets. Several chefs and cooks would combine it with well-known sauces such as palak paneer and pesto. Spinach and artichoke dip is an excellent choice for party favors and snacks.

When it comes to raw spinach, it is an excellent salad ingredient. To get the most out of its flavor, use robust dressings like ranch or blue cheese. Spinach salads are also delicious when topped with walnuts, cheese pieces, roasted beets, sunflower seeds, and dried fruits.

4. Mustard Greens

Mustard greens are an excellent substitute for escarole. You may cook them similarly to spinach, although they have a stronger taste. Greens may be eaten fresh or prepared by sautéing, steaming, or boiling.

Mustard greens have a bitter, peppery flavor similar to escarole. Even after cooking, these greens maintain their bite. Mustard greens stems and leaves may both be eaten, and both have a strong taste. Mustard greens are best eaten fresh or cooked when they are young and delicate. The best time to buy mustard greens is between the middle of winter and the beginning of spring.

Washing mustard greens in lukewarm water eliminates dirt and sand and is the finest method to prepare them. You should also detach and discard the stems by folding and tearing the leaves off.

When it comes to the greatest mustard green serving ideas, they go nicely with a conventional green salad. Younger, sensitive mustard green leaves blend nicely with other greens of the same family. Dressings made with vinegar or olive oil go nicely with the greens.

When combined with pureed beans or mashed potatoes, cooked mustard greens make a great addition. A couple of bigger mustard green bunches should be enough to feed four people as a side dish. It’s also a good idea to avoid cooking mustard greens in iron or aluminum pans. When they come into contact with certain metals, the mustard greens may become black.

5. Chard

Chard, often known as swiss chard, is a green vegetable that is closely related to spinach and beets. It includes high levels of vitamins C, A, and K, as well as iron, potassium, and magnesium. The leaves of chard are usually green, but the stems may be any color. Rainbow chard features pink, red, yellow, white, and orange streaks and stems.

Chard, whether sautéed or steamed, is an excellent addition to casseroles, stews, quiches, and frittatas. Its young, uncooked leaves create a wonderful salad. This leafy green is popular in Mediterranean, Turkish, and Egyptian cuisines. Cooking chard stems takes longer than cooking chard leaves. The whole plant, however, is excellent and edible.

While shopping for chard, seek for stems that are vibrant in color and sturdy in texture. Look for leaves that are smooth and shiny, with no yellow or brown patches. Wet paper towels in a split plastic bag are the finest method to keep your chard. Chard should be used within two to three days of purchase for optimal benefits.

Final Wrap Up

Finding the ideal escarole replacement might be difficult, but each of the alternatives on our list is delicious. Arugula, kale, spinach, mustard greens, and chard, on the other hand, are almost similar to escarole. Each alternative has distinct health advantages and may improve the taste of your salads, soups, and other hot meals.

Whichever escarole alternative you choose, you should always keep your greens fresh in the long term. Take the required procedures to fully clean them and keep them in ideal temperatures and conditions. With proper preparation, these greens may be wonderful for breakfast, lunch, or supper.


What is the best substitute for escarole in Italian wedding soup?

Feel free to substitute mustard greens, turnip greens, kale, chard, spinach, or cabbage for the escarole in this soup. The meat might be ground pig or a combination of ground pork and ground beef. I cooked the meatballs a bit bigger than normal since I was feeling lazy.

Can I use romaine instead of escarole?

If escarole is unavailable or too costly, other leafy greens such as chard, romaine lettuce, and butter lettuce are also suitable substitutes.

Is kale and escarole the same thing?

Escarole is more leafy than kale and is sometimes marketed in bunches that resemble a head of lettuce, with short, broad, wavy-edged leaves. The leaves vary in color and texture; those on the outer are darker-green and harder, while those on the inside are pale-yellow and more sensitive.

Can I use green leaf lettuce instead of escarole?

Because of its leafy look, escarole is sometimes mistaken with green leaf lettuce; nevertheless, they are significantly distinct in taste and texture. Green leaf lettuce tastes significantly milder than escarole. As a result, it is best used as a replacement in salads, sandwiches, and soups.

What greens are closest to escarole?

Escarole Fundamentals

If you can’t get escarole, use curly endive or kale instead.

What can I substitute for endive and escarole?

What can you substitute if necessary? Chicory or endives are your best options, although they aren’t always readily available. — Arugula and spinach are suitable bitter replacements. Any dark leafy green would do.

Is escarole like romaine lettuce?

Escarole (Cichorium endivia) belongs to the chicory family. It is often mistaken with lettuce as well as its botanical cousins, which include curly endive, radicchio, frisée, and other bitter green vegetables ( 1 , 2). Escarole is technically classified as a flat-leaved endive.

What’s another name for escarole?

Escarole, also known as wide-leaved endive, Bavarian endive, Batavian endive, and scarole, is a green vegetable with broad, curly leaves and a somewhat bitter taste.

What does escarole taste like?

Escarole has wide, somewhat curly, pale green leaves that taste nutty and bitter, comparable to curly endive but with a less harsh flavor. The outer, meaty, black leaves have a more bitter taste than the lighter, interior leaves. Escarole’s harsh taste may be mitigated by cooking.

What types of lettuce are escarole?

Escarole lettuce is a sort of leafy green vegetable that belongs to the chicory plant family. It is linked to other varieties of greens such as endive, Belgian endive, and frisée. The dietary profile of escarole is low in calories but abundant in fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A.

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