What Is Escarole And How Do You Eat It?

Everyone knows that you cannot go wrong by adding green, leafy vegetables to your diet due to the nutritional benefits on offer. Escarole is no exception to this rule. As per Healthline, escarole looks pretty much like butterhead lettuce, but with more jagged, uneven leaves that form in clusters. It is most often found in Italian cuisine, where it is a traditional ingredient in Italian wedding soup alongside pasta, meatballs, and chicken broth. It is also used in stews, salads, or pasta dishes. Escarole, also referred to as cichorium endivia, is part of the chicory family of veggies, and it is considered an endive.

Escarole is great for your health and barely has any calories. Think about this: 85 grams of this vegetable will give you around 15 calories, three grams of carbs, one gram of protein, and no fat. Plus, it comes packed with a plethora of health perks.

Escarole has many health perks

As per SF Gate, the nutritional benefits of escarole are comparable to those of other green veggies like spinach, kale, and romaine. Escarole is high in vitamin A, something that can boost your immunity to a great extent. Also, it is a good source of vitamin C and can keep your skin glowing. It also contains valuable minerals like copper, zinc, and folate, which is crucial for fetal development, according to Healthline. Escarole may also help keep your bones and heart healthy due to its content of vitamin K1. Finally, eating escarole on a daily basis can keep your digestive system in check and keep you satiated for longer periods thanks to its high fiber content. Pretty awesome, eh?

However, it's crucial to make sure that you always wash raw escarole thoroughly before consuming it to clean away any possible contaminants or bacteria that could cause food poisoning. It's also worth noting that escarole may not work well for people who are on blood thinners on account of the complications associated with consuming foods rich in vitamin K. That said, as a whole, this is a super food that can be a solid addition to your diet. 

It's a versatile ingredient

The good part about including escarole in your pantry is knowing that you'll always have many options to play around with. You don't need to feel restricted by this green thanks to the fact that it work well with many dishes. As per Delish, it's the ideal side dish for most meals and tastes great when braised. Or you can go ahead and add this veggie to a salad or pasta for a healthier boost. A Redditor shared their favorite way to use escarole on a thread. "Sauté garlic and oil and some pepper flakes. Add escarole can cook until soft...I add a splash of chicken broth for added flavor. Lots of black pepper if you like it," they wrote. Another commentator agreed and mentioned that the ingredient is a godsend if you're preparing wholesome soup and feel like experimenting a little with its flavors.

The ingredient's flavor profile, by the way, isn't too overwhelming. It's slightly bitter and the taste is more obvious when consumed raw (via The Spruce Eats.) If you decide to cook escarole, you'll realize that its flavor is pretty mild in most dishes.

It's easily accessible

If you start looking for escarole, you'll realize it's pretty conveniently located in well-known supermarkets and speciality stores (via The Spruce Eats). Still, you'll find better varieties if you search for escarole in the winter months when you can get your hands on the freshest stock. Pro tip: farmers' markets are good spots to scout out escarole, too. 

Shopping for this ingredient is easy enough: Just look for escarole with green leaves. The trick is to avoid ones with leaves that are wilted or have spots on them. Also, don't buy too much escarole at once. You see, you can only keep it fresh for around five days or so. The timeline reduces to three days or a little less if you store cooked escarole in the refrigerator. 

Another handy tip? Avoid freezing escarole; it will cause the leaves to break down.