Skip to Content

Varieties of Endive

Picture of endive lettuce

To describe the leaves of a plant in the chicory family, the term “endive” can be used. Plants of the Asteraceae or dandelion family are known as endives. For generations, endive variants have been treasured for both their texture and taste, as well as their therapeutic virtues, which have made them a popular food in the Mediterranean area.

There are two distinct ways to pronounce endive: ‘n-dive’ or ‘on-deev,’ which distinguishes it from chicory and radicchio. These include Belgian endive, curly endive, and escarole.

Though it can be grown in most climates, Belgian endive is most often grown in California. A number of states, including California, Arizona, and Florida, provide the bulk of the world’s escarole and curly endive.

Belgian endive, curly endive, and broad-leafed endive are the three most common kinds used in the culinary arts.

Belgian Endive

The pale-yellow leaves of Belgian endive is a tiny, cylindrical head of lettuce, with slightly curled edges. It has a little bitterness and is kept pale and flavorful by being cultivated slightly below the soil’s surface in dark spaces, like mushrooms.

Endives could be utilized in salad recipes and also roasted or broiled as a secondary dish. This is especially the case if you are using Belgian endives. It is possible to remove the leaves and use them as a serving plate for tiny appetizers or to scoop up dips. Grilled endive heads, drizzled with vinaigrette, provide a tasty side dish to pair with grilled fish.

Radicchio or red endive is a red-hued Belgian endive cultivar. In salads, radicchio is a popular because of its scarlet or variegated leaves, that are similar species as Belgian endives.

See also  18 Syrup Varieties

Curly Endives (FRISÉE)

Picture of curly endive

Known by a variety of names, curly endives, frisée, or simply chicory, is a dense head of curling greens with lacy-textured leaves. Green leaves with a deeper shade of green have a little bitter taste. As a salad ingredient, it is commonly used to give a little of crunch and taste.

Curly endives (also known as frisée) is often described to as “endive” in the UK, which may cause a bit of a muddle as to which kind of endive has been discussed.

Endives with Large Leaves or Escarole

In the same family as curly endive, broad-leafed endive is sometimes known as escarole, although it is a distinct kind. The innermost, lighter-colored leaves may be used in salads, and it is less harsh than the other two. Cooked meals and soups is better as these are rough and difficult to slice.


Accept the Bitterness

The idea that endive’s bitterness is a flaw that should be fixed or erased misses the point entirely of eating endives.

All that matters in cuisine is that tastes be balanced, not eradicated. Contrasting tastes are what make a meal genuinely memorable, rather than the particular flavors themselves. While ketchup isn’t something you’d eat on its own, the condiment is essential for French fries.

As a result, many individuals would likely discover that much of life’s pleasure had been taken away with the removal of bitterness from red wine, coffee, or chocolate.

Endive’s bitterness is just like that. The bitterness is a positive quality, not a negative one. Take use of its unusual texture, color, and taste to provide as a counterbalance to sweet and sour ingredients. Be careful with how much you use, but don’t try to get rid of it completely or neutralize it.

See also  Do Blackberries Need to be Refrigerated?


Curly endive may be cultivated year-round if the weather is pleasant and the sun is out. The shaggy leaves may get bitter and bolt if they receive too much light or heat throughout the growing season.

Curly endive is commonly covered as it matures to keep the plants’ color, softness, and taste from fading.

In order to develop Belgian endive, it is necessary to use chicory that is harvested from the field. For harvesting its veggie-like taproot and crown in the autumn, blue-flowered chicory seeds are sown in loamy or mucky soils.

Plants that have been in the ground for over 150 days may bolt if harvesting is delayed.

When the temperature rises, the buds are ‘pushed’ into regrowth in dirt or a hydroponic solution, and the roots are cleaned and sanitized.

Chicons, white shoots tinted with crimson or mild yellow-green tips, appear in an extended torpedo form after approximately three weeks.

Afterwards, the roots are either thrown away or used as cow fodder. The bitterness of the leaves may be caused by light exposure throughout the growth period.

This is not the case with escarole, which is a cool-season crop that thrives in full sun and regular rainfall in well-drained soil.

To control soil temperature, inhibit weeds, and retain water and plastic mulch is an excellent choice (a lack of moisture can cause bitterness). It is recommended that plants be given at least a foot of spacing between each other to avoid bolting due to overcrowding (and hot temperatures).


Pests & Infections

A wide range of pests, including harvester or fire ants, aphids, beetles, bollworms, cabbage loopers, caterpillars, crickets, cutworms, grasshoppers, leafhoppers, lygus (tarnished plant) bugs, lygus bugs, leaf miners, slugs, snails, stink bugs, thrips, and whiteflies, can damage escarole and its lettuce siblings.

See also  Broccoli vs. Peas

It is the mosaic viruses that cause growth to be stunted in plants, which act as reservoirs for the pathogen. There are similarities among the viruses that affect cucumber, lettuce, and turnip, although the latter is more common in escarole. While working to develop downy mildew resistance in escarole types, breeders accidentally introduced the turnip mosaic virus. When a plant suffers from a loss of color, crimps and rips in its leaves, and finally dies, it is exhibiting symptoms.

Beet western yellow virus is a problem in the states of California, Arizona, and Florida, amongst others. The leaves and stems of lettuce and escarole become a deep shade of green as a result of this. Bacterial blight, bottom rot, damping off, downy or powdery mildew, fusarium, grey or white mould, soft rot, tip burn, wilt, and yellowing are some diseases to be aware of.

Ensuring Protection

After harvest, Belgian endive and escarole need to be chilled to 34-36°F with high relative humidity to maintain their quality (95 to 100 percent). However, if they are kept below 32°F for an extended length of time, they are vulnerable to freezing damage. Ethylene may induce yellowing, despite the fact that it is a relatively modest producer.

Recipes for Belgian Endive

Belgian endive is a must-try if you haven’t before. In addition to adding crunch and a hint of bitterness to cool autumn salads, it also holds up well to heat, making it a versatile component. When it comes to salad bits or cups, a sturdy foundation like this is essential. Discover fresh and exciting ways to prepare and eat Belgian endive in this compilation of our favorite dishes.

See also  Do Blueberries and Cream Cheese Go Together?

Salad with Belgian Endive and Brown Rice

Want a filling, healthful snack or meal? Brown rice with Belgian endive create a light lunch. To get more over one serving, just increase the number of servings you need. Summer and autumn picnics would also benefit from this dish! Cut up a few pieces of fruit, such as an apple or orange.

Brown rice, freshwater, Belgian endives, onion, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper are the main ingredients in this dish.


Mix brown rice with water and bring to a simmer in a pot. The rice should be cooked for 45-50 minutes at medium-low heat with the pot covered to ensure all the fluid has been absorbed. Let the rice rest before serving.

In a large bowl, combine the grains, endive, and red onion. Season with pepper and salt and drizzle with balsamic and olive oil. Make sure everything is mixed completely.

Warm Belgian Endive Salad with Pine Nuts

It’s simple to make, tasty, healthful, and goes well with just about everything. This classic French dish is suitable at any time of year. In typically, one endive is plenty for each person to enjoy this cuisine.

Mustard, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, endives, pine nuts, fresh chopped parsley are some of the key ingredients in this dish.

The mustard, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice are all mixed together in a medium bowl. Slowly drizzle olive oil into the mixture until it reaches a creamy consistency. Salt and pepper to taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.

Make rings out of endive heads by cutting them in half crosswise. Cut off and throw away the stems’ hard ends. Make rings by shaking the colander in a circular motion. Drain the water from the drippings.

See also  Types of Curd

Toast pine nuts in a large dry pan over medium heat. Make sure they don’t burn by stirring regularly. Add the endive rings after the pine nuts have browned. Pour in the sauce and stir to combine when it has warmed somewhat. If the endive starts to wilt too rapidly, turn down the heat a notch. Some sharpness and texture are desired.

Throw in a few parsley leaves if you’re looking to wow your visitors. However, the salad will not be lacking in flavor or brightness. Serve right away. The best way to serve it is just out of the pan. Putting the dressing in a bowl will cause the endive to be damaged when tossing it again.

Endive Gratin in Belgian Style

Belgium endive features an ivory-white crown with light yellow-edged, tightly wrapped leaves, a somewhat bitter taste, and a soft, juicy texture. It’s called “witloof” in Dutch and “chicon” in Belgian French.

An assortment of cheeses, including Gruyere and Parmesan as well as nutmeg will be used in this dish. fresh parsley, deli ham, and salt and pepper

Begin by sprinkling some cooking spray on a baking dish.

Over medium-high heat, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Toss the endives into the boiling water. Cook for 5-10 minutes, covered, until the vegetables are soft.


Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often. The mixture should develop a paste-like consistency and a golden-brown color when the flour is added and stirred in. Stir add the milk a little at a time, whisking continually until the mixture is thick and smooth. Until fully combined, add 3/4 cup of Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses as well as the nutmeg, salt, and pepper in step 3. Stirring constantly, cook for 10 minutes at a low temperature.

See also  7 Shellfish Varieties

Set a low broiler temperature in the oven.

Drain the radishes. Prepared baking dish: Wrap each endive with a piece of ham and put in the dish. Serve the endives with the cheese sauce on top. The remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere cheese and parsley should be sprinkled on top.

It should take around 10 minutes to cook the endives under a hot broiler.