Unlock the Benefits of Escarole – What Is Escarole?

what is escarole

Escarole is a leafy green from the chicory family. It’s a key ingredient in Italian cooking. Unlike lettuce or endive, escarole has broad, green leaves with a slightly bitter taste.

This vegetable is not just tasty but also full of health perks. It’s loaded with fiber, vitamins A, C, K, folate, iron, and copper. Adding escarole to your meals can help your gut, eyes, and reduce inflammation. It’s also good for your bones and heart.

Key Takeaways:

  • Escarole is a leafy green vegetable, commonly used in Italian cuisine.
  • It is rich in nutrients, including fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, folate, iron, and copper.
  • Escarole promotes gut health, supports eye health, reduces inflammation, and promotes bone and heart health.
  • It can be enjoyed raw in salads or cooked in various dishes, adding a pleasant bitterness.
  • When purchasing escarole, choose firm and vibrant heads without any signs of wilting or damage.

What Is Escarole?

Escarole is a kind of endive in the chicory family. People sometimes mix it up with lettuce or other greens. But, escarole has wide green leaves with rough edges. It looks like a rosette and is less bitter than curly endive.

When we look at escarole versus lettuce, they’re quite different. Escarole’s leaves are bigger and textured differently. It has a slight bitterness that makes salads and cooked meals exciting. Lettuce, on the other hand, is milder.

“Escarole is like the sophisticated cousin of lettuce. It has a more robust flavor and adds a delightful bitterness to dishes. Its versatility makes it a wonderful addition to various culinary creations.”

Escarole is loved in many kitchens, especially in Italy, for its bold flavor. It goes well in salads, soups, omelets, and pasta. Whether raw or cooked, it adds taste, texture, and nutrients to food.

Crisp vs. Mellow: Escarole vs. Lettuce

Escarole Lettuce
Wide, green leaves Crisp, delicate leaves
Pleasant bitterness Mild, neutral flavor
Versatile in cooking Often used raw in salads

Nutritional Profile of Escarole

Escarole is a tasty leafy green with many key nutrients for a healthy diet. It has a distinct flavor and lots of benefits for your meals.

Low in Calories, High in Nutrients

Escarole is perfect for calorie counters. A serving of 2 cups has only 15 calories. It’s great for keeping a healthy weight.

Even with few calories, it’s rich in vitamins and minerals. These are needed for your body to work well.

Vitamins Galore

This veggie has lots of vitamins A, C, and K. Vitamin A helps you see better and fights off germs. Vitamin C helps make collagen and lets your body use iron from plants. Vitamin K keeps bones strong and helps blood clot right.

“Including escarole in your diet is an excellent way to get a natural dose of these important vitamins.”

Mineral Powerhouse

Escarole has plenty of iron and copper. Iron moves oxygen in your body to avoid fatigue. Copper makes red blood cells and keeps the immune system strong.

Nutritional Content of Escarole

Nutrient Amount per 2-Cup Serving % Daily Value*
Calories 15
Vitamin A 4416 IU 88%
Vitamin C 6.8 mg 11%
Vitamin K 131.2 mcg 164%
Iron 0.5 mg 3%
Copper 0.1 mg 5%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet.

Adding escarole to your meals brings a special taste and health benefits. You can use it in salads, soups, or stir-fries. It gives you vital vitamins and minerals for your well-being.

Health Benefits of Escarole

Escarole is packed with nutrients that are good for you. Eating it can help your gut, eyes, and heart stay healthy.

Promotes Gut Health

Escarole is full of fiber that helps your digestion. This fiber makes it easier to use the bathroom and prevents constipation. It keeps your digestive system running smoothly.

Supports Eye Health

It has vitamin A, which is vital for seeing well. This vitamin keeps your eyes healthy, helping you see clearly. It also stops eye problems like night blindness and macular degeneration.

Reduces Inflammation

Escarole has antioxidants like kaempferol that fight inflammation. Less inflammation means a lower chance of chronic diseases. Including escarole in your meals might make you healthier overall.

Promotes Bone and Heart Health

This veggie is a great source of vitamin K, important for bones and blood clotting. Vitamin K improves bone density and lowers fracture risk. It also keeps calcium in check to protect your heart and stops calcium buildup in arteries.

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Culinary Uses of Escarole

Escarole is a leafy green you can eat raw or cooked. It adds great flavor to many dishes. Here are ways to add escarole to your food:

1. Salads:

Escarole makes salads exciting with its slight bitterness and crunch. Mix it with tomatoes, cucumbers, and tangy dressing for a tasty salad.

2. Sautéed:

Cook escarole in olive oil until it’s soft. Cooking reduces its bitter taste, which mixes well with garlic, red pepper, and lemon. This creates a flavorful side dish.

3. Soups and Stews:

In soups and stews, escarole contributes rich flavor. It keeps its shape while cooking. Add it to minestrone or bean soup for more nutrients.

4. Grilled:

Grilling escarole lightly chars it, bringing out sweetness. This adds a smoky taste. Top with balsamic glaze or Parmesan for extra flavor.

5. Wraps:

Use escarole instead of lettuce in wraps. It’s strong enough to hold fillings and gives a crunchy texture. Fill it with grilled chicken, avocado, and sauces for a delicious meal.

To cook with escarole, balance its bitter flavor. Use lemon juice or vinegar to make it tastier. Escarole’s inner leaves are softer and suited for salads. The outer leaves are better for cooking because of their bitterness.

Knowing how to cook with escarole opens up many food choices. Whether you’re updating a salad or trying new cooking methods, escarole will enhance your food.

Precautions When Consuming Escarole

Escarole is usually safe to eat. But, it’s wise to take some steps for safety. This is especially true for people on certain medications or with health issues.

Vitamin K Content and Blood Thinners

Escarole and blood thinners: If you’re on blood thinners like warfarin, watch your escarole intake. Escarole’s rich in vitamin K, which aids in clotting. This could mess with your medication.

“Managing how much escarole you eat can avoid issues with its vitamin K and your blood thinners.”

Risk of Kidney Stones

Escarole and kidney stones: Those with kidney issues or a kidney stone history should be careful with escarole. It has oxalates, which might boost kidney stone risks.

“If you have kidney concerns, limit escarole due to its oxalates, raising kidney stone chances.”

Food Safety and Preparation

Food safety is key with escarole. Clean the leaves thoroughly to dodge foodborne illnesses. This makes your meal both safe and tasty.

Correct way to clean:

  1. Take apart the escarole head’s leaves.
  2. Put them in a colander.
  3. Wash under cool water.
  4. Pat dry with a towel or use a spinner to dry them off.
Precautions Why?
Moderate escarole intake when taking blood thinners Escarole’s high vitamin K content can interfere with the effects of blood thinning medications.
Be careful if you have kidney issues Escarole contains oxalates, which can contribute to the formation of kidney stones.
Wash escarole thoroughly before eating Cleaning properly reduces foodborne illness risks.

Escarole as a Substitute for Other Greens

If you can’t find escarole, several greens make good substitutes. Here are a few:

1. For Salads:

  • Arugula: It’s peppery, adding a unique taste to salads.
  • Curly Endive: With frilly leaves, it offers a slightly bitter taste.
  • Radicchio: Its vibrant purple leaves add bitterness and crunch.

2. For Soups and Stews:

  • Dandelion Greens: Slightly bitter, they’re similar to escarole and stand up to cooking.
  • Youth Mustard Greens: They have a strong taste, good for soups and stews.

If you like things less bitter, consider these options:

3. Chard:

Chard is milder than escarole. It might need more cooking time though.

4. Kale:

Kale is less bitter than escarole. It’s also nutritious for your dishes.

Try these alternatives to find what you like. Each green brings something special to your cooking.

Storage and Shelf Life of Escarole

To keep your escarole fresh longer, proper storage is key. First, get rid of any leaves that look bad. Then, wrap the escarole in a damp paper towel and put it in a plastic bag or container. Keep it in the fridge for up to a week for freshness. But, try to eat it within a few days for the best taste.

Keeping your escarole fresh is crucial for its taste and nutrition. Here are easy steps to store it right:

  1. Choose escarole that’s vibrant and firm without any signs of damage.
  2. Once home, remove any leaves that are damaged or wilted.
  3. Wrap the escarole in a damp paper towel and put it in a plastic bag or container. This keeps it moist and crisp.
  4. Make sure to seal the bag or container well to keep the moisture in.
  5. Put the escarole in the fridge, in the crisper drawer if possible. Avoid overcrowding it.
  6. Avoid storing escarole near fruits and veggies that make ethylene. It makes it wilt faster.

These tips help ensure your escarole stays fresh longer. Using it soon after you buy it guarantees the best flavor and texture. Remember, the fresher it is, the better it tastes and feels.

The Versatility of Escarole in Cuisine

Escarole is a key ingredient in Italian cooking. It shines in dishes like Italian wedding soup and pasta e fagioli. This leafy green adds a special taste and texture to meals.

It works in many recipes, from sautés to soups. Chefs and home cooks love its mild bitterness and softness. Escarole boosts the taste and healthiness of dishes.

Italian Wedding Soup Recipe

Want to try escarole in Italian cooking? Make a classic Italian wedding soup. It mixes escarole with tasty meatballs, pasta, and broth.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cooked small pasta (such as orzo or ditalini)
  • 4 cups escarole, chopped
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Mix ground beef, breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, spices, and egg. Make small meatballs.
  2. Boil chicken broth and water. Add meatballs and cook until done.
  3. Put in the pasta and escarole. Cook until the escarole is soft.
  4. Serve hot with Parmesan on top.

This soup shows how escarole can be part of a tasty, warming meal. It adds a bit of bitterness and crunch, balancing the meatballs and pasta.

Using escarole in different Italian recipes lets you explore new tastes. These can make your meals even more exciting.

Where to Buy Escarole

Escarole is a leafy green that’s easy to find in many places. Your nearest grocery store or supermarket likely has it. Look for it in the produce section, near lettuces and kale.

You might also see escarole at farmer’s markets or specialty stores. These spots offer a great variety of fresh veggies. Plus, you get to support local farmers.

Keep in mind a few tips when buying escarole to get the best quality:

  1. Look for escarole that’s firm and brightly colored. This means it’s fresh.
  2. Stay away from any that are wilting, brown, or damaged.
  3. Make sure the leaves are clean and free from bugs or dirt.

If you follow these tips, you’ll end up with tasty and healthy escarole. It will make your dishes better and help you eat well.


Escarole is a leafy green that should be part of your meals. It’s full of fiber which helps your digestive system. It’s also rich in vitamins A, C, and K, plus iron and copper. These nutrients boost your health.

This veggie is great raw in salads or cooked in dishes like soups and stews. It brings a special taste and texture to your food. You can also use it instead of other greens, which makes your cooking more exciting.

Adding escarole to your diet can make your meals tastier and healthier. It’s packed with goodness that supports your body. So, try escarole today and explore new, healthy flavors in your cooking.


What is escarole?

Escarole is a leafy green vegetable from the chicory family. It’s loved in Italian dishes. It’s a type of endive but with flat leaves.

What are the benefits of escarole?

Eating escarole gives you lots of fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, folate, iron, and copper. It helps keep your gut, eyes, and heart healthy. It also reduces inflammation and supports bone health.

How is escarole different from lettuce?

Escarole, often mixed up with lettuce, is actually an endive. It has broad, green leaves with a bit of a bitter taste. It is milder than curly endive though.

What is the nutritional profile of escarole?

Escarole is packed with nutrients but low in calories. It offers fiber and vitamins like A, C, and K. Plus, it has minerals such as iron and copper.

What are the health benefits of escarole?

Escarole boosts your gut and eye health. It lowers inflammation and is good for your bones and heart. This is thanks to its rich nutrient content.

How can escarole be used in cooking?

You can eat escarole raw or cooked. Try it in salads, soups, stews, or grilled. It’s also great as a lettuce substitute in wraps or with braised meats.

Are there any precautions when consuming escarole?

If you’re on blood thinners, eat less escarole because of vitamin K. People with kidney issues should also be careful. Always wash escarole well before eating.

Can escarole be used as a substitute for other greens?

Yes, you can switch escarole in for lettuce, arugula, and other greens. It depends on what you’re making.

How should escarole be stored?

Keep escarole in a damp-paper-towel-lined bag or container in the fridge. It stays fresh for a week, but it’s best to use it within a few days.

How can escarole be incorporated into cuisine?

Escarole shines in Italian cooking, like in wedding soup or pasta e fagioli. It brings a unique flavor and texture to many dishes.

Where can escarole be bought?

You can find escarole in the produce section of grocery stores and supermarkets. It’s also at farmer’s markets and specialty stores.

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