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16 Best Endive Substitutes (Frisée & Belgian Endive Alternatives)

Need an endive substitute? There are a few great alternatives to this often underappreciated veggie.

Endive’s taste and crunchiness can elevate salads, soups, and more. If it’s unavailable or you want to spice things up, you need decent endive replacements!

This article is here to help! I’ll cover some of the best endive substitutes and tips on how to cook with them.

16 Best Endive Substitutes featured image | Girl Meets Food

What is endive?

Endive, a chicory cousin, is a bitter and nutty-tasting leafy green vegetable. Because of its somewhat bitter flavor and crisp texture, it is frequently used in salads and as a garnish.

There are three common species of endive: curly, escarole and Belgian.

  • Curly endive has long, narrow leaves that are curly and frilly.
  • Escarole, or broad-leafed endive, is the least bitter out of all varieties. It has broad, pale green leaves.
  • Belgian endive is fashioned like a cone and has loosely packed leaves.

Endive is packed in nutrients like vitamin C and K as well as folate and fiber. It’s a wonderful option for anyone trying to maintain their weight or manage their blood sugar because it has few calories and carbs.

Best endive substitutes

I adore trying new items in the kitchen. After some study and experimenting, I found some wonderful endive replacements that can be utilized in many meals.

Try these endive alternatives!

Belgian endive substitutes

Several Belgian endives in a paper package. | Girl Meets Food

Belgian endive (witloof or chicory) is crisp and mildly bitter. Some Belgian endive alternatives are:

  • Radicchio

Radicchio, like endive, is a bitter leafy vegetable. Its bright red color and crunchy texture make it a fantastic salad or dish garnish. Grilling or roasting enhances its sweetness.

Belgian endive cups with pears, cheese, walnuts, and dried cranberries were my experiment incorporating radicchio. The salad cups turned out to be delicious!

  • Escarole

Escarole, or broad-leaved endive, tastes somewhat bitter. While less crisp than endive, it provides crunch to salads. It also tastes wonderful sautéed or in soups.

  • Frisée (curly endive)

Frisée is bitter curled endive. Salads can benefit from its delicate leaves. I also like sautéing or grilling them to enhance the taste and lessen the bitterness.

  • Endive leaves

If endive or its equivalents are unavailable, use endive leaves. Separate the leaves and use them as salad greens. Salads and garnishes can benefit from these crisp, bitter leaves.

  • Treviso

Treviso radicchio tastes sweeter than normal radicchio. Its long, thin form and rich red color make it ideal for salads and garnishes. 

Grilled treviso with garlic, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil is a dish I can’t get enough of. This is a fantastic substitute for grilled endive.

  • Napa cabbage

Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage) is mild and delicious. Its crisp, delicate leaves are wonderful for salads and wraps, pickled or stir-fried.

  • Radish 

Radish, a good substitute for endive, has a bitter and peppery taste (try Korean radish or a Korean radish alternative). Its leaves can also be eaten in salads as garnishes.

Radish greens pesto is one recipe idea I feel everyone should try. It makes a delicious salad dressing or pasta sauce.

If you like this idea, you may also like these basil substitutes and ideas on how to replace daikon radish.

  • Butter Lettuce

Butter lettuce has delicate, somewhat sweet leaves. Light seasonings can complement its delicate taste in salads and wraps.

  • Romaine lettuce

Chopped salads work well with romaine lettuce. Unlike endive, it lends sweetness and mild flavor to salads.

Curly endive and escarole substitutes

Curly endive on a wooden surface. | Girl Meets Food

Curly endive, also known as frisée, has long, thin, curly and frilly leaves with a somewhat bitter flavor. Some curly endive alternatives are:

  • Chicory leaves

Chicory is a leafy green similar to endive. It adds crunch and a bitter flavor to salads and garnishes.

If don’t care for the bitter aftertaste, try grilling or roasting the leaves to enhance their sweetness.

  • Belgian endive

Belgian endive tastes milder than other chicory cultivars. It works well in salads and garnishes since it resembles the typical taste of endive.

  • Arugula

Arugula’s spicy, bitter taste and softer leaves can replace curly endive in salads. It can also be garnished or blended with other greens for a spicy taste.

While making a salad with citrus vinaigrette, I opted for arugula instead of curly endive. It added a new delicious side dish to my repertoire!

  • Dandelion greens

Dandelion greens are a bitter green that can be used in salads or as a side dish when sautéed. They have a similar texture to curly endive.

  • Mustard greens

Mustard greens are a type of leafy green that can be used as a spicy, somewhat bitter addition to dishes like salads and stir-fries.

I love sautéed mustard greens with garlic and lemon. They make a good alternative to cooked endive and other leafy vegetables, like arugula.

If you’re looking for similar greens, why not check out these arugula substitutes? You’ll discover plenty of flavors and health benefits!

  • Watercress

Watercress is a delicate green that is an excellent complement to salads and sandwiches because of its peppery, somewhat bitter taste.

From my experience, watercress makes a good alternative to endive in Asian-inspired stir-fries.

  • Radicchio

It’s possible to use radicchio in place of curly endive in salads or as a garnish because the two vegetables are related – they both come from the chicory family. So they share a similar flavor profile and potential health benefits.

These substitutes for endive, combined with other ingredients, will add zest and flavour to your meals. Try them all and see which ones you like best!

Endive substitute FAQs

5 endives are on linen cloth. There is a knife next to them | Girl Meets Food
How many calories are in endive?

A 100g serving of raw endive contains only 17 calories.

Does cooked endive taste the same as fresh endive?

Cooked endive is generally more tender and less bitter than fresh endive.

What are the best substitutes for endives in salads?

Radicchio, butter lettuce, and arugula are all excellent substitutes for endives in salads.

How to reduce the bitterness of endives?

To lessen bitterness, endives can be blanched or cooked with onions and garlic. You can add a little sugar or honey to sweeten the meal. Another solution is to pair endive with fruits and nuts to lessen the bitterness.

How to store endive?

Endive should be refrigerated and eaten within a few days. Wrap endive in a moist paper towel and refrigerate to keep it fresh.

It can also be frozen for up to six months in an airtight container.

BOTTOM LINE: endive is delicious, but there are many good replacements. Radicchio, Napa cabbage, arugula, chicory leaves and the like can be used in various dishes. So don’t hesitate to experiment in the kitchen!

Which leafy vegetable mentioned above do you like the most? Share your perfect substitute for endive in the comments!

Are you looking for more cooking ideas? Check out these substitutes for artichoke hearts and basil alternatives.