Difference Between Endive and Escarole

Endive and escarole are two leafy greens that often cause confusion among consumers or common people because of their similar appearances. Imagine heading into a grocery store with a shopping list that includes unidentified items such as endive and escarole. As you stand there, scratching your head in confusion, you can’t help but wonder, “What in the world is the difference between these leafy greens?”. Fear not, for ReadZiD is here to take you on a smooth journey into the world of endive and escarole. So, the next time you’re in the produce section, you can differentiate them. And when the time comes, you’ll know exactly which chicory green to choose for your culinary adventures.

Difference Between Endive and Escarole

Endive and Escarole in brief:


Endive is a leafy vegetable that belongs to the Chicory family. It is a popular salad ingredient because of its crisp texture and mildly bitter flavor. Endives generally come in two main varieties. They are Belgian endive, and curly endive. Belgian endive has pale-colored leaves that are closely packed and elongated, as opposed to curly endive, which has narrow, finely serrated leaves forming a compact head. Besides this another type of endive named red Belgian endive are also available. Its leaves has a torpedo-like shape with a little point at the tip. They wrap tightly over one another.

Endive vegetable

The crunchiness of endives adds a delightful contrast to salads and other dishes. Some inventive chefs even use endive as cups to hold tasty fillings, giving appetizers a posh and delicious appearance. Along with its culinary uses, endive is prized for its nutritional advantages, which support a healthy, balanced diet. Vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, vitamin A, and folate were abundant in endive. They have lower calories as well. As a result, it can be a flexible and wholesome addition to your meals, whether you choose to eat it in a salad or creatively serve it as an appetizer. If you want to know about endive in detail you can go through my article named What is an endive?

Let’s now discuss about Escarole, which could be compared to the easygoing, lax cousin of endive.


Escarole is a kind of leafy green vegetable from the same family as chicory. Although the leaves are wider and have a mildly bitter flavor, it resembles lettuce in appearance. The leaves are broad and curly, and they taste slightly bitter. Escarole is frequently used in Mediterranean and Italian cuisine, as well as salads and soups. People appreciate its distinctive flavor and crisp texture, which gives a nice kick to a variety of dishes. In sandwiches and wraps, some people also use escarole leaves in place of lettuce. It is a nutrient-rich addition to a balanced diet because it is high in vitamins and minerals.

Besides it can be a great option for those trying to manage their carbohydrate intake or maintain a healthy weight because of its low calories and carbohydrates. Additionally, fiber, which promotes digestive health, is present in good amounts. Escarole also contains potassium and vitamins, especially vitamins A and K, which are essential for a number of bodily functions like blood clotting, immune system health, and vision.

 Difference Between Endive and Escarole 

In terms of appearance: 

It is easy to distinguish between endive and escarole based on appearance.

  • Shape and color:

Endive has an elongated shape that gives it its name. A compact head is formed by the tightly curled leaves. The inner leaves are typically light yellow or white, whereas the outside leaves are typically green.

 Escarole, on the other hand, has wider leaves and a looser head and is sometimes mistaken for endive. Escarole leaves look more wide and frilly because they are not as closely packed. Its leaves are smaller, lighter green in color, and more loosely arranged.

  • Flavor: 

The flavor of endives is slightly bitter with a nuttiness undertone. After cooking, it becomes sweeter. 

The flavor of escarole is mild, fresh, and vegetal. Compared to the outer, darker green leaves, the inner, lighter-colored leaves are sweeter. When the food is cooked, the flavor becomes more mellow and brighter.

In terms of varieties:

Endive variations typically come in three different sorts. Belgian endive: which is also referred to as witloof chicory. It has delicate flavor and light, creamy-white leaves because it is grown in the dark. Another one is Curly endive, often known as frisée endive. Its leaves are deeply chopped and curl, adding a beautiful texture to dishes. It has a little bitter flavor that goes nicely with sour sauces or savory seasonings. The final one is red endive, which, as the name suggests, has vibrant crimson leaves. It tastes slightly harsh and sweet.

Escarole is available in several types, each with special qualities of its own. The broadleaf escarole is a well-liked variety that has broad, wide leaves and a milder flavor than other varieties. Its large leaves make it the perfect choice for use as a wrap for fillings or a bed for other ingredients. Another variant is the curly escarole, which has leaves that are firmly coiled and provide food a lovely texture. The curly escarole is another kind that has tightly curled leaves that give food a lovely texture. The last one is frisee escarole which has curly, delicately cut leaves that resemble exquisite lacy patterns. It has a slightly more bitter taste compared to other escarole varieties making it a popular choice for adding complexity to salads and other dishes. 

In terms of differences in bitterness level:

Endive and escarole differ from one another in terms of their bitterness level.

Compared to escarole, endive typically has a stronger bitter flavor. Its bitter flavor, which gives foods a distinct depth, is frequently described as powerful and sharp. 

Escarole, on the other hand, has a softer bitter flavor, making it more palatable for people who dislike very strong bitter flavors. It’s crucial to remember that the bitterness can differ based on the particular variety and growth circumstances.

In terms of Difference in crunchiness and texture:

When it comes to crunchiness and texture, endive and escarole exhibit some differences. 

The texture of endive leaves is noted to be crisp and delicate. They have a pleasing crunch when swallowed, which gives salads a nice bite and makes them a good serving bowl for spreads and dips. 

Escarole leaves, on the other hand, have a little thicker texture. Still crisp, they have a little more bite and a chewy texture.

In terms of Nutritional Comparison:

  • Calories and Macronutrients:

In terms of calories, both endive and escarole are low in calories compared to other leafy vegetables, making them ideal for individuals watching their waistlines. Endive has about 17 calories per 100 grams, while escarole has around 23 calories per 100 grams.

 Both endive and escarole are high in dietary fiber, a macronutrient that supports good weight management and aids in digestion. Approximately 3.1 grams of fiber are present in 100 grams of endive, while 3.5 grams are present in 100 grams of escarole. 

Endive and escarole are mostly leafy greens; hence their protein level is not particularly high. Although they only offer a modest quantity of protein, endive, and escarole do contain about 1.25 and 1.8 grams of protein, respectively, per 100 grams, respectively.

Endive and escarole are practically fat-free in terms of fat content, making them excellent options for anyone on a low-fat diet. They both have low levels of carbs, with endive having about 3.6 grams per 100 grams and escarole having about 4.4 grams.

  • Vitamins and Minerals:

Endive is extremely high in vitamin K, providing more than 100 percent of the RDA per 100 grams. Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and bone health. Endive also includes high levels of vitamin A, which is necessary for strong vision and a robust immune system.

On the other hand, escarole is a fantastic source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that stimulates collagen development and immunological function. Additionally, it offers a sufficient amount of folate, a B vitamin crucial for cell growth and development, particularly during pregnancy.

In terms of harvesting techniques: 

Endive is harvested by cutting the entire plant off at the base, right above the soil line.   When the endive outer leaves are the right size, you can harvest them separately for a milder flavor. By doing this, the inner leaves might expand and acquire a mildly bitter flavor. 

Escarole can be harvested in two ways: either the complete head, or just the outer leaves as needed.                              

In terms of differences in use: 

While escarole can be eaten either raw or cooked, endives are used in salads, roasts, sautéed, and grilled foods. But whether preparing soup, sautéing, or braising, most people choose escarole.                                         

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why does escarole cost more than endive?

Escarole can be used in several different ways in the kitchen. It is regarded as a distinctive ingredient for upscale salad dishes. Escarole is more expensive for another reason; it has a less bitter flavor and goes great with Italian salad.

  • Exactly how similar are endive and escarole?

Despite belonging to the same family, escarole and endive are not the same. Escarole is milder in bitter flavor than endive.

  • Can you use endives instead of escarole?

Yes, is the answer! Even though endive and escarole have some similarities and some differences, you can always substitute another if you want to make a recipe that calls for one but can’t locate it in the grocery store. But if you’re on a tight diet, consult with your nutrients before making any decisions.

  • Endive or escarole, which has a bitterer flavor?

Escarole mixes well with components like citrus, almonds, or even bacon for more complexity because of its softer bitterness. In conclusion, while both endive and escarole have a bitter flavor, endive often has a stronger flavor and escarole has a gentler bitterness.

  • What Can I Do to Get Rid of the Escarole Bitterness?

Escarole should be soaked in hot water for two minutes. Next, let it soak in cold water once again for five minutes. This little procedure will eliminate Escarole’s powerful bitterness. 

  • How should I store escarole?

It is quite simple to keep escarole for a long time. However, avoid placing them in the fridge by itself. Before placing the vegetables in the refrigerator, wrap them tightly. Additionally, you can keep them in a cold and dry location. Put cooked escarole in a container if you wish to keep it. As a result, the cooked escarole can stay fresh for three days.

  • Endive or escarole, which one is healthier?

In terms of health benefits, endive and escarole both provide a wealth of health benefits. But, when you put them side by side, the endive comes out on top. It has more important vitamins and minerals than escarole.

In conclusion, endive shines in the world of raw, crunchy salads, whereas escarole finds its home in hearty, cooked meals, adding a different texture and flavor profile to culinary creations. Whether it’s a savory addition to a warm, cozy dinner or a reviving crunch in a salad, the decision between the two ultimately comes down to the intended culinary result. 

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