Chicory is usually referred to as winter lettuce, belongs to the dandelion family, and is sometimes foraged. It comes in various forms like being loose leafed, brightly colored, and sometimes ranging from white to yellow or even green. Chicory can be served with smoked salmon, cheese, or ham.
Many people consider chicory as a bitter vegetable. Young chicory leaves can be used in salads, while you should cook the matured chicory before it is eaten because cooking reduces its level of bitterness.
However, chicory might not be very popular in some countries, which is why you might need some other chicory substitutes in case you suddenly ran out if it.
Yerba mate, escarole, frisee, arugula, kola and chocolates can all be used as replacements for a recipe that calls for chicory.
The chicory roots are also as valuable as their leaves, and they can be used as a substitute for coffee.
What is Chicory?
Chicory is a woody perennial herbaceous plant that belongs to the daisy family. Many varieties are cultivated for salads, and the roots are also formulated to be baked to be used as a coffee substitute, or cooked.
Inulin, an extract from chicory root, has been used in food manufacturing as dietary fiber and food sweetener.
It is widely found in North America, China, and Australia. Some common chicory species include the blue daisy, blue dandelion, blueweed, blue sailor, cornflower, hendibeh, the wild endive, and so on.
Best Chicory Substitutes
Some of the best chicory root substitutes are:
The best chicory substitute is the kola. If you’re looking for an additive that would not change the taste of your natural coffee, then look no further, as the kola nut is the best pick.
Kola nuts have a mildly bitter taste and can be used as a ground or when added to coffee. The kola nut contains caffeine, which helps boost the caffeine content of the coffee, unlike the chicory.
A decent second choice is chocolates. Most people are familiar with chocolates as a special additive for coffee.
Apart from offering a lot of health benefits, these combination also complement each other quite impressively.
3. Yerba mate
Yerba mate has that earthiness that many people associate with coffee and chicory root.
Just as little as a pinch of it added to your coffee would perform the same function that the ground chicory root would have performed. Unlike chicory root, it contains caffeine.
That’s all for the chicory root substitutes, and for the chicory leaves, we have:
Escarole is an excellent chicory substitute since you can use it in many cuisines. It can be eaten raw, cooked, or in salads.
If you’re looking for chicory substitutes because of its bitter flavor, escarole is the best choice as it doesn’t lacks chicory’s bitterness.
Frisee provides almost the same benefits as the chicory leaves as you can use it in salads and soups. It pairs well with other ingredients and gives your meals a crispy flavor.
It is also a less bitter substitute, and if you’re looking for a replacement based on the bitter taste, this can also work.
Just like the young chicory leaves, arugula is a bit less bitter with a peppery taste, and because of this, it is perfect for salads. Also, like the chicory leaves, arugula is widely used in the Mediterranean.
Frequently asked question
How can I store chicory?
Chicory is preferably stored in a freezer.
To keep your fresh chicory leaves in a freezer, thoroughly wash your chicory and then cut it into pieces; after that, blanch the chicory in boiling water for about two minutes, then allow it to cool off.
After this, let your chicory dry in kitchen paper before packing it in airtight packaging.
After all, these have been done, and you can now place the chicory in the back of your freezer at 0.4-degree Fahrenheit.
What is the best way to consume chicory roots?
It has been proven that the best way to use the chicory root is by boiling it.
Is chicory root healthy?
Yes, the fiber from this root is said to have a lot of health benefits and is often used as supplements or food additives.
Chicory roots contain a lot of inulin, a type of dietary fiber. It acts as a prebiotic in the body because it feeds on the unhealthy bacteria in the guts and promotes optimal gut health in a lot of ways.
These roots also help in the movement of bowels, improve your blood sugar control, support weight loss, and taste good, making adding it to our dishes easy.