Escarole is broad-leafed endive that belongs to the genus Cichorium. Also known as Batavian endive, it has broad, curly green leaves with a mildly bitter taste.

Escarole is widely used in pasta and soups because of its sturdiness and mellow taste. It contains vitamin A, C, K, fiber, and antioxidants that make it a healthy ingredient to use in cooking.  

However, if you ever fall short of this amazing ingredient, there are some substitutes for escarole that may help you to create a similar dish.

There are various types of leafy greens from which you can choose the closest escarole substitute. But, depending on the dish you’re making, choosing the best alternative can be challenging.

This article looks into some substitutes for escarole that you may try in your next meal.

Substitutes for Escarole

1. SpinachSpinach

Spinach leaves are known as superfoods due to their numerous amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

The bitterness of spinach makes it a good alternative to escarole. However, the bitterness goes away when it is cooked.

You can use spinach in dishes like soups, casseroles, and stews.

2. RadicchioRadicchio

You may not think about radicchio when it comes to finding a good escarole replacement due to its purple leaves. But, it belongs to the chicory family and has a mild bitterness similar to escarole.  

Looks like small red cabbage, radicchio has crunchy leaves that taste almost similar to escarole. Besides, it will add a bit of color to your recipes.

This can be a great substitute if you’re making a salad or any cold dish that calls for escarole.

3. KaleKale

Kale has gained huge popularity due to its impressive nutritional profile. Its leaves are bigger and a bit tougher, but you can cook them in the same way as escarole.

Kale has a slightly bitter taste, which is not overpowering. You can use it in any dish if you run out of escarole.

Kale is most suitable for dishes like lasagna and soups. If you want to get the closest tastes and appearance, use the curly one.

4. ChardChard

Chard comes with broader and vibrant colored leaves that make a great replacement for escarole in dishes like pizza, risotto, and pasta.

It comes with a number of healthy properties to fulfill your daily requirement of nutrition.

However, chard takes a bit longer to cook than any typical leafy green. They are sweeter than escarole and can bring an excellent texture to any dish you cook.

5. FriseeFrisee

Frisee has curly, frizzy leaves that can bring a hint of uniqueness to your dishes, particularly in salads. Similar to escarole, it belongs to the chicory family.

Frisee has a sharp and bitter taste that gives a dish almost the same flavor as escarole. But it has smaller and shaggier leaves.  

It can be a perfect alternative if you’re making salads where escarole is the key ingredient.

6. ArugulaArugula

Arugula has narrow, dark green leaves and a bitter and slightly peppery flavor. Also known as a wild rocket, it comes with numerous health benefits.

Erucin, the key isothiocyanate in arugula can reduce the risk of different types of cancer.

Due to its strong flavor, arugula can be paired up with lemon, garlic, beet, or blue cheese. You can use it cold or lightly sautéed.

7. Mustard GreensMustard Greens

Mustard green is also known as a close relative to kale, meaning that it can work as a great alternative to escarole.

Mustard greens can easily mimic the flavor of escarole, particularly if you want a sharp bite in your dishes. It comes with numerous phytochemicals, meaning that it is beneficial for your health as well.

Try to use them as sautéed, fried, or boiled to get the best taste.

8. BorageBorage

Borage is a plant that belongs to the Boraginaceae family. It comes with a number of medicinal properties, and its oil is used as a treatment for eczema.

Borage is a native plant to the Middle East, but you can also grow it in your garden. It has a cucumber-like taste and is often used in salads or for garnishing.

You can also use it while making soups, such as carrot soup.

9. Romaine LettuceRomaine Lettuce

Romaine lettuce is a type of lettuce that comes with sturdy dark green leaves. It is tolerant of heat compared to other lettuces.

Romaine lettuce is a good fit in salads that require escarole. It adds some nutritional value to your foods as well.

However, be careful about how much you’re consuming as a recent study states the outbreak of E.coli that is linked to Romaine lettuce.

10. Beet GreensBeet Greens

Beet greens are the bright leafy greens that can be found at the top of the beetroots. While most people cut them off, thinking that they are not edible, you can actually use them in cooking.

Beet greens have a similar flavor to Swiss chard but are sweeter. You can use them in any vegetable soup that calls for escarole.


Finding the perfect alternative to escarole can be trickier, but it can eventually save your entire recipe and bring uniqueness to them.

If you ever run out of this nutritious leafy green, try some of the substitutes mentioned here. Some of them will give you the exact flavor you were looking for, while others may help you to create a better dish than the original one.

All of these leafy greens come with a good nutritional profile, but be careful while using something like Romaine lettuce due to the recent finding of its negative impacts.

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