A Beginner’s Guide to Endive

Updated: Jan. 12, 2023

You've seen it at the grocery store, but there's a good chance you've never tried it. Let's find out once and for all: What is endive?

Looking for a new ingredient to brighten your meals? Give endive a try! This versatile leafy green works well in everything from salads to appetizers.

Craving a salad? These easy recipes are ready in 30 minutes or less.

What Is Endive?

Endive is a nutritious leafy green that comes from the chicory plant family. It’s used in many dishes, mainly salads. It can be roasted, grilled or braised to create a hearty texture and tart, buttery flavor.

What Is the Flavor of Endive?

Endives can be enjoyed both raw or cooked.

When raw, endives are crisp and bitter, making them a great addition to salads. When cooked, endive’s sharp flavor softens into a mellow, nutty sweetness.

What Is Endive Used For?

Endive makes a delicious appetizer and a healthy alternative to chips or crackers. We recommend these avocado endive cups for your next party in lieu of messy nachos. In salads, endive adds crunch and zest. It can be cooked tender-crisp like spinach or used as a wrapping for meat or fish. (P.S. These are our best fish recipes!)

Endive also has several health benefits. The leaves are high in fiber, calcium, potassium and vitamins A, C and E. It is low in sugar, sodium and fat. It also contains inulin, a carbohydrate that stimulates the appetite and helps aid digestion.

What Is the Difference Between Endive and Escarole?

Endive and escarole are both chicories of the same species. They even have the same botanical name, Cichorium endiva. Although they are sometimes used interchangeably, endive and escarole have some slight differences.

How do you tell the difference between the two? Endive has curly, narrow leaves, while escarole has smooth, flat leaves. Escarole is also usually less bitter-tasting than endive.

Try escarole in this yummy white bean soup.

What Recipes Can I Make With Endive?

Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up some endive. Then, give it a try in our Salmon Mousse Endive Leaves, Winter Endive Salad or Cranberry Endive Appetizers. No matter which recipe you try, the result is sure to be delicious!