8 Best Endive Substitutes

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Endive Substitutes



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I get asked this question a lot:

What can I use instead of endive? Are there any endive substitutes?

I’m guessing these questions can vary from allergic people to the bitter taste, or maybe people don’t have it around.

That said, one of my favorite substitutes for endive is radicchio. A lot of pro chefs and avid cooks are fond of it. You can use it in place of endive in salads, soups, and stuffing. You could also use Arugula, Romaine Lettuce, Watercress, or Napa Cabbage.

All of these options will give your regular recipes a fresh taste.

Stay with me as we look at a few more endive alternatives for your dishes!

What Is Endive?

Endive is a leaf vegetable, which is a type of chicory. It has a crunchy texture with a slightly bitter taste. It is also known as curly endives or frisee and can be used in salads, make appetizers, and add flavor to soups and stews.

Endive is sometimes hard to find at the grocery store, can be expensive when available, and may not last as long as other vegetables due to its delicate nature.

So if you need an endive substitute for your recipe, use either of these options below:

Best Endive Substitutes

1. Kale

Kale is among the most nutritious veggies. It is loaded with minerals, vitamins, and powerful antioxidants.

Kale will work well in most recipes that call for endive, though you may need to cook or season it a little differently.

Kale isn’t quite as bitter as endive, so it might lack the complexity of flavor you want from a salad if you’ve used endive before.

It’s a little more affordable and better available year-round than endive.

Kale is also slightly more nutrient-dense than endive, and some people prefer the way it feels on the tongue or the way it looks on their plate.

See Also: Chicory Vs Endive

2. Escarole

Escarole is another excellent choice, as it is a member of the chicory family, which means it shares many characteristics with endive.

It’s popularly used as an endive substitute in salads, but it’s not an exact replacement.

Both are grown in the same way (forcing plants to grow in the dark), and both have a similar flavor profile — slightly bitter and with a characteristic crunch.

However, escarole is less bitter than endive, has more rigid leaves, and has a more delicate flavor.

Also, escarole has slightly more calories than endive (27 vs 20), but not enough to be concerned with. But it is a good source of fiber, vitamin K, A, and C.

3. Collard Greens

Collards are a member of the cabbage family and share some similarities with endive in flavor. Although, some critical differences between the two make them unsuitable for specific uses.

Endive leaves have a delicate texture that makes them great for salads and sandwiches where you need to wrap around fillings.

Collards have a sturdy surface ideal for soups, stews, and slow cooking recipes.

4. Napa Cabbage

If you’re looking for an endive substitute, Napa cabbage is your best bet. Napa cabbage is a leafy green vegetable with a similar look and taste to the endive but with a more subtle flavor.

It’s also easier to find and cheaper than endive, making it a great substitute in any recipe. Napa cabbage is crisp and tender like endive, with a crunch perfect for salads, dumplings, or stir-fries.

You’d also appreciate it in kimchi, soups, shredded into a slaw, stuffed in a hearty wrap, or tossed with noodles.

Next time, use some shredded Napa cabbage instead of lettuce for your next sandwich and enjoy that extra crunch!

5. Watercress

Watercress is also a leafy green plant that grows in water. It has a peppery taste, and it’s known for being rich in vitamins C, A, B1, B2, and E.

Both can be used as salad greens or cooked vegetables, but watercress will not be perfect.

It only shares one similarity—the bitterness—which is really what most people are looking for when they look for an endive substitute.

But you need to be careful about using watercress. It’s much lighter than endive but slightly sharper.

It doesn’t have the same nice crunch as a good head of endive, and it has an entirely different texture but is reminiscent of endive.

It has a milder flavor than endive; it’s not nearly as strong-tasting or astringent.

You can use it for salads, smoothies, soup, sandwiches, sauce, pesto, stir-fries, etc.

However, if you’re looking for perfect greens to give your dish the same taste as endive, watercress won’t cut it. It’s so-so.

6. Romaine Lettuce

Romaine lettuce is almost a perfect choice. Both romaine and endive are considered leafy greens and are members of the sunflower family.

However, Romaine lettuce is bitter when raw and mild when cooked, while endive is bitter both raw and cooked. Romaine is crisp and crunchy, while endive has a softer texture with a little bit of crunch.

Both are high in vitamins A and K and among the top 20 foods high in vitamin C. And here’s the kicker: Endive is more expensive than romaine lettuce.

Hence, if all you’ve got is romaine and your recipe calls for endive, don’t despair!

Just use it instead—you’ll still get a great meal and be able to avoid an unnecessary trip to the store.

See Also: Escarole Vs Endive

7. Arugula

When it comes to Arugula and Endive, they have a lot in common.

For example, they’re leafy greens that can be enjoyed raw or cooked. They also have a similar flavor profile: bitter, peppery, and slightly acidic.

Arugula is an excellent choice for people who don’t like the bitterness of the endive—it has a milder flavor and a nice crunch and texture.

You’ll find it in many recipes that call for lettuce or spinach leaves.

Both plants share similar nutritional profiles but differ slightly in flavor profiles—and this is what makes them such great substitutes!

However, If you’re looking for something with more bite (and perhaps less crunch), try using collard greens instead.

8. Radicchio

Radicchio is an excellent substitute for endive because it is similar in appearance and has a slightly bitter taste.

It is sometimes called red endive or red chicory with white veins running through it.

Radicchio does not have quite as much fiber or protein. But it is the perfect choice to add just enough bitterness to make up for the lack of endive.

Moreover, radicchio’s red color gives your salad an extra pop of color, making it even more appealing to eat!

However, if you are looking for something more neutral-tasting than radicchio without sacrificing appearance, arugula is also a good option.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Endive Have Different Types?

Yes, endive has different types! There are three main types used in the culinary arts. They are curly endive, Belgian endive, and broad-leafed endive.

Can I Eat Endive Raw?

Absolutely! Endive is an excellent addition to any salad and not only that, but it also can make for a great snack all on its own. If you have ever been considering eating endive raw, then you are in luck because you can

Why Is Endive So Expensive?

The endive is so expensive because an endive plant produces a single head that can be 6 inches in length and 5 inches in diameter. Once the head has been harvested, no new leaves grow back.

The only way to grow more heads is to replant the root of each one of them, which takes time and energy that most farmers are unwilling to put forth for such a small yield. The result is that most endive growers can only produce about 200 heads per year.

This limited supply means that those who want to grow it need to pay higher prices than they would for other vegetables with a better yield.

What Is The Most Expensive Vegetable In The World? 

There are plenty of vegetables out there that claim to be the most expensive globally. You may have heard about the diamond cucumber, known for sale for over $100 a pound. But it’s only worth that much because it’s so rare—people don’t pay that much for cucumbers.

Plus, they’re not as nutritious as some other vegetables, like La Bonnotte Potatoes, which cost up to $320 per pound, or Hop Shoots, which is $426 per pound.


It’s easy to feel like you can’t be your best self unless you have a specific ingredient in the kitchen.

And while we believe that there are always creative solutions when it comes to finding the suitable ingredient, sometimes you’re short on time and need answers fast.

Whenever you feel this way, you can always tune in to us for an alternative.

We are constantly updating the blog for your consumption –bringing exciting ways to spruce up your recipes with dozens of options.


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