A Bavarian and Batavian endive with broad, curly green leaves, escarole is present in many recipes, particularly in pasta, soups, and salads to provide a bitter, peppery flavor.
Sometimes, however, you may suddenly find out you’re out of escarole when you think you still have some. Worse, you find out when you’re already preparing your favorite pasta or soup. What do you do then?
Here are some substitutes you can use:
- Curly Endive
- Chinese Spinach
- Spinach (Regular Variety)
- Swiss Chard
- Mustard Greens
Well, the good news is there are lots of suitable substitutes you can use in place of escarole. But first, let us understand a bit more about this healthy ingredient.
15 Best Substitute For Escarole
Escarole can be eaten cooked or raw. It brings myriads of nutritional benefits to the table. Compared to iceberg lettuce, escarole has more vitamins and minerals per ounce. Thus, it is a good idea to always have some in your pantry.
The leaves on the plant’s outer edges have a more bitter taste and darker color, while the interior leaves are usually tenderer in texture. When used in cooking, escarole doesn’t need much time to prepare. A quick rinse is enough.
In terms of taste, some of the best alternatives include kale and arugula. Feel free to test out the other potential substitutes in the list below.
Similar to escarole, curly endive has a slender stem and curly, frilly leaves. If you need escarole, but don’t have any of it on hand, you can use curly endive, instead. While it may look like green leafy lettuce, curly endive offers a more rounded flavor. It is also rich in vitamins A, C, and E.
When using the substitute, taste it raw first before adding to get an idea of how it will affect your dish. A medium-sized curly endive is equivalent to two small escarole stalks.
A kale plant has green or purple leaves, and is one of the most popular escarole substitutes because of its comparable flavor. You can use kale on a variety of dishes, but it is best used for shakes, particularly when you combine it with other leafy greens.
To substitute for escarole, use 4 parts of kale with one or more green veggies when you’re in a hurry. This will provide a nice flavor to any dish.
Also known as rucola, roquette, or garden rocket, arugula belongs to the same brassica family that includes cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, and cabbage, among others.
Arugula, with its peppery and mustard-like flavor, is comparable to raw escarole, and thus makes a good substitute. It has a similar taste, only with a delicate and lighter flavor.
To substitute for a stalk of escarole, use two leaves of arugula. Add a leaf of cabbage and a leaf of curly endive for best results.
Radicchio is sometimes called the Italian chicory variety. A veggie with red-purple leaves, it has white veins and a zesty (although a bit unpleasant) flavor.
Famous for its burgundy leaves that have white ribs, the veggie is perfect for green salads and side dishes. It can be a good replacement for escarole because of its slightly bitter taste. It is ideal for pasta and pizza fixings.
To substitute for escarole, you can use an equal amount of radicchio since it tastes almost similar to the former. Just make sure to add a little amount first, then taste, and adjust if necessary, until you achieve the desired flavor.
Chinese Spinach is endemic to Western and Central Asia. It is a green blossoming plant considered as an ingredient in many dishes because of the myriads of nutrients it offers. It can effortlessly replace escarole in various dishes.
The taste may be a tad different, but when used as replacement for escarole, Chinese spinach may be a good option. To achieve the desired flavor, you can add curly endive into the recipe as well.
Perhaps the most adaptable among all options is spinach, the regular variety. While it may have a tad bitter taste, its versatility allows you to use it as a substitute for escarole in practically any dish. Not only is spinach versatile, it is also quite nutritious, making it a legit superfood.
You can cook spinach or serve it as side dish. You can also add it to salads, stews, soups, and casseroles. Spinach likewise pairs well with eggs, cottage cheese, fish, and butter. Thus, it is a good replacement for escarole in equal amounts.
Also called silverbeet, Spinach beet, and leaf beet, Swiss chard is a nice side dish supplement. It takes a bit more time to cook, but once done, it can be added to pasta, pizza, and risotto, just like escarole.
Swiss chard is a very popular veggie in the Mediterranean. This is primarily due to the generous amounts of nutrients it offers, as well as its adaptability.
Frisée is a regular fixture in side dishes and salads. Its leaves work well in combination with baby greens. The veggie got its name from its unique appearance – curly, narrow, and fuzzy leaves.
To substitute for escarole in your recipe, use the 1:1 ratio. However, you may want to add a small amount of frisée first to see how it affects the flavor of the dish before adding more.
Coming from a similar family to escarole, mustard greens also have almost the same warmth. Its taste has hints of cabbage and radish, but mustard greens are a bit peppery.
Use the 1:1 ratio when using mustard greens as a substitute for escarole. You can adjust, depending on the flavor you want to achieve.
The stems of bok choy are sweet and nutritious, just like escarole, and this makes it a good substitute for the latter in many recipes.
The soft, dull green leaves give off a pleasant flavor. When mixed with green onions, fresh ginger, or aromatics and different sauces, bok choy will elevate the flavor of your side dish.
To replace escarole in a dish, use a bunch of bok choy for every bunch of fresh chopped escarole. When used in a soup, make sure to cook the dish through.
The term collard greens refers to the loose-leafed Brassica oleracea cultivars similar to various common veggies such as broccoli and cabbage. Collard greens is likewise one of the most suitable escarole substitutes.
Popular in South American cuisines, collard greens are best used in salads, but will also work as a savory side dish when sautéed with garlic. When substituting for escarole, use the 1:1 substitution ratio.
Beet greens are not only similar to escarole in terms of flavor, they also come with amazing nutritional benefits. Related to Swiss chards, beet green leaves are also edible, and carry a similar surface and taste as the former.
Rapid boiling beet greens may be necessary to preserve their nutrients while cooking. The veggie is commonly used in North African and Asian cuisines. Beet greens also work well in lasagna prepared in some parts of Europe.
To substitute for escarole, use one beet green leaf for every 1 or two escaroles, when you have entire beet green leaves. On the other hand, if your beet greens have been chopped, use the 1:1 substitution ratio.
A head lettuce that usually comes in dark green color and with extended leaves, Romaine Lettuce is a decent replacement for escarole in many mixed green dishes. It has lots of nutrients, and works great in sandwiches.
It is rich in vitamins A and C, and folic acid. Because it is low in calories, you can add as much Romaine lettuce as you want in your dishes without feeling guilty.
To substitute Romaine lettuce for escarole, cut the leaves in half or cleave them. This will boost the sweet and fragrant flavors. Use three leaves of Romaine lettuce for one escarole leaf required in your recipe.
Lovage is a member of the parsley family, and is usually found in the southern Mediterranean area, and Central Asia. It is mainly used in cooking for its fragrance and flavor that makes it a good substitute for escarole.
Just like escarole, lovage leaves are sharp. The stems and leaves can be used instead of escarole in any dish. You can use fresh leaves to provide more flavor to your dish. Dried leaves and seeds make excellent alternatives to escarole as well.
Use an equal amount of lovage to the required escarole amount in the recipe. Just make sure to add lovage gradually, tasting the dish as you add. This way, you can avoid overpowering the dish.
If you are not consuming enough variety of vegetables in your meals, a good way to extend your nutrition source is by adding iceberg lettuce. It adds a nice touch to dishes because of its gentle and sweet taste, as well as its nice crunch.
It may not be as healthy as other lettuce varieties, but it has loads of folate, and vitamins A and K. It works better in salads than in cooked dishes. It makes a good escarole alternative, especially if you prefer some crunch in your meals.
To use as substitute for escarole, add the leaves gradually. Observe how the dish tastes as you go, and add more until the dish achieves the preferred taste. One or two leaves of iceberg lettuce would often be enough to replace a stalk of escarole.
A delectable green vegetable belonging to the cabbage family, broccoli has a large blossoming head. Its tail-related tiny leaves are consumed as a veggie.
Broccoli offers a nutritious alternative to escarole in dishes, especially because it addresses the common complaint about escarole: that it softens and acquires a foul texture once cooked.
Broccoli, even when cooked, holds its firm chomp and shape – even when roasted or using other types of high-heat cooking. The florets can be bleached for side dishes or used in baked dishes, and will add a bit of a severe, gritty taste to main dishes.
To substitute for escarole, use 1 ½ fresh broccoli pieces for a bunch of fresh escarole. Allow some time to cook the dish through for best results.