Escarole Vs Spinach: Key Differences

This article may contain affiliate links and if you make a purchase after clicking on a link, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Let’s face it, we all have a long list of vegetables to choose from when we want to cook a delicious meal. It can be overwhelming at times, especially if you’re trying to cook with fresh vegetables and herbs.

I’ve already written an article about the difference between Endive Vs Chicory. This time, I decided to go one step further by sharing the differences between escarole vs spinach.

But before we proceed, you have to know that the most important difference between these two leafy greens is their nutrition content, looks, and taste. Escarole taste fresh and vegetal with light bitterness, while spinach has a mild, slightly sweet taste.

Now, let’s learn more about escarole and spinach and see how they differ from each other!

What Is Escarole?

Escarole is a leafy green vegetable often used in Italian cooking. It has a slightly bitter flavor, and its texture is similar to that of romaine lettuce, endive, and radicchio. The outer leaves of escarole are dark green, while the inner leaves are lighter in color and have a softer texture.

Furthermore, escarole is tender with a mild, slightly bitter flavor. The larger the head of an escarole, the more bitter its taste will be.

The best way to reduce bitterness in escarole is to blanch it before using it.

Escarole can be used in salads, soups, and stews.

What Is Spinach?

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable similar to cabbage or kale but originated in ancient Persia. It has a mild, earthy flavor and is high in vitamins A and C, iron, folic acid, calcium, and magnesium.

Spinach is most commonly served cooked, although it can also be eaten raw in salads, smoothies, or as a sandwich filling. It can be used in soups and stews, combined with pasta, or served as a side dish with meat or fish.

Aside from that, you can purchase fresh spinach, frozen, or canned. It should be stored unwashed in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Although spinach has two different varieties:

Savoy and Flat-leafed. The difference between the two is their color and texture.

For example, flat-leafed spinach has dark green leaves, while Savoy spinach is lighter in color with smooth edges instead of curly like other spinach types, such as curly kale or Swiss chard.

See Also: Endive Vs Escarole

Escarole Vs Spinach: Their Differences

Comparisonescarolespinach
AppearanceLeafier, with wide, short, wavy-edged leaves. And it is usually sold in bunchesSpinach looks super–cold-hardy, leafy green. It looks slimy, wilted, and dark green
TasteEscarole taste fresh and vegetal with light bitternessSpinach is a mild, slightly sweet taste 
Nutritional valueEscarole has about 2.4x as much calcium, 2x as much potassium, and 5.8x as much bone-building magnesiumHas more protein and fiber

While spinach and escarole have high amounts of vitamin K and folate, spinach also contains much more iron than escarole.

Spinach also has twice as many calories as escarole does, which means that if you’re trying to watch your weight, then escarole is a better option for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Substitute Spinach for Escarole?

You can always substitute spinach for escarole. Spinach is a good substitute for escarole in pasta dishes.

What Can You Use Instead Of Escarole In Italian Wedding Soup?

Belgian Endives! When looking for a substitute for escarole in Italian wedding soup, the best option is to use Belgian endives. It is an excellent replacement because they are two of the same family and have many of the same characteristics.

The Belgian endive leaves can be used as a replacement for escarole. The taste is similar to escarole but bitterer. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in soup! You can also use spinach, kale, chard, or even cabbage.

Is Chicory The Same As Escarole?

Chicory and escarole are two completely different things. Escarole is a type of lettuce, while chicory is an herb. Chicory is also sometimes used as a coffee substitute. Their flavor and appearance are quite different as well.

However, both can be eaten raw as a salad or cooked in many different recipes; and used interchangeably.

How Do You Get The Bitterness Out Of Escarole?

The best way to get the bitterness out of escarole is by blanching it. To do this, bring a large pot of water to a boil and prep an ice bath. Cut the root off the escarole and then cut the head into quarters.

Once the water has come to a boil, place the quartered escarole into the water for about 30 seconds. Remove from the boiling water and place in an ice bath until completely cool. The blanching process will remove most of the bitterness from your escarole!

Conclusion

Escarole vs spinach is one of the most hotly contested arguments in the veggie world: I hope this article has helped you understand the differences between escarole vs spinach by highlighting their significant differences.

At the end of the escarole vs spinach comparison, what matters is what you love. Both are leafy greens that can be used in various dishes, and you can also use both interchangeably in most cases.

However, if you prefer one over the other, or if there’s a particular recipe in which you want either spinach or escarole, then, by all means, substitute it for the other.

You may find that the dish turns out better than you expected!

Scroll to Top