My family that’s not fond of the bitter taste of soup and side dishes I usually prepare for them has gone on unanimously to tell me to stick to whatever ingredient I have. You see, I’ve stumbled upon this escarole’s less bitter taste that is also armed with some of the significant nutrients and minerals you could ever ask for.
But the glory of my secret may soon whittle down as I have found out that escaroles are not that readily available on the market. So, I'm writing this article if you're like me who's looking for an escarole substitute!
Good Substitutes For Escarole:
Let’s start this discussion with probably the most flexible substitute out of the bunch. Spinach can be cooked, baked, and served as a side dish. It can also be tossed in your favorite salad! And while this iron-packed leaf has a distinctive bitter flavor, its taste is more known for its versatility that virtually any dish in that range can work with.
Also known as "palak", spinach can work well with butter, cardamom, carrots, cottage cheese, peas, cream, egg, and fish. It can also complement ginger, garlic, hollandaise sauce, mustard, and nutmeg.
Some of the known substitutes of a spinach include the Swiss chard, beet greens, kale, turnip greens, and Chinese spinach.
The slight bitterness of an escarole is quite difficult to replace. However, the salad green Arugula begs to differ. Also known for its little peppery taste, this leaf is widely added to salads, tomato dishes along with sautéed vegetables, egg, pastas and other dishes.
Your rocket salad can also complement walnuts, potatoes, nuts and pears while it could also blend quite tastefully with olive oil, lemon, garlic and avocado.
Arugula also comes with numerous monikers. They include oruga, rugola, rugula, ruchetta, wild rocket, Mediterranean rocket, and Italian cress. It can be substituted with a variety of greens as well —Belgian endive, dandelion green, young mustard greens, and radicchio, among others.
Here’s a video on how to grow your arugula microgreens.
The Italian sibling of chicory, radicchios are known for their distinct burgundy leaves that are adorned with white ribs. These leaves could accompany your old green salad and be used as a base for a couple of d’oeuvres or as your side dish in a meal.
Akin to escarole, your typical radicchio has a slight bitterness that could perfectly suit up any salad, pasta, or pizza that you’re prepping.
You can learn the many uses of radicchio via this video.
Although it takes time to cook chards, they make a great compliment to your side dish and as a deserving add-on to your pizza, pasta dishes, and your mom’s risotto. Notably the Swiss chards, these leaves are probably one of the most nutritious vegetables, if not the most celebrated vegetables in the Mediterranean.
Chards are also widely included in most of the diets globally. They are enriched with a variety of phytonutrients that are visible with its vibrant colors. These are apparent in their rich, dark green leaves with a splash of reds, purples, and yellows in their stalks and veins.
Some of their other benefits include the regulation of our blood sugar, its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory features, and their support of bone health.
If you want to start cooking your own Swiss chard, this video might help you!
5.) Mustard Greens
Beloved particularly in the Asian cuisine, mustard greens are closely associated with kale and broccoli. They have this unique mild peppery flavor and a pungent bite to couple it with. Most mustard greens work or taste well when they’re boiled, steamed, or sautéed.
So if you feel like beefing up the flavor of any of your Korean or Chinese dish, these greens won’t disappoint you. Mustard greens are also known as brown mustard, Indian mustard, leaf mustard, and mustard.
Watch this video to check on how to clean and cook your fresh mustard greens.
Your favorite curly or dinosaur kales are more peppery than bitter! As such, their taste and texture would make the ideal for my soup and at times, lasagna. If escarole is nowhere to be found in my refrigerator, Kale has always been my go-to replacement.
Dubbed as the king of the super healthy greens, kale is also enriched with some of the most beneficial compounds that are also rich in their medicinal properties. Some of these include Vitamins A, K, B6, Manganese, Calcium, Copper, Potassium and Magnesium among others. It also comes with rich antioxidants such as Quercetin and Kaempferol.
Meanwhile, your kale substitution is also ideal if you’d like to lower your cholesterol or lower the risk of a heart disease!
Here’s a video on how you can separate kale leaves from their stems
If you’ve ever wondered how frisée got its fancy name, you can hurl that blame on the unique appearance of its leaves. They have the narrow, curly and frizzy leaves that you just can't help but marvel at. Also, these leaves go well with a mixture of baby greens and can make a great garnish for poached eggs.
Also known as a curly endive, frisées come from a variety of chicory. For you to optimize the great taste of frisées, ensure that you pick those perky or crisp leaves in the market. Meanwhile, it’s recommended to keep these leaves in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to five days until the taste goes weird.
Watch this video to check on how to prepare these frisée leaves.
8.) Romaine Lettuce
If you’re seeking to go with escarole with your salad but can't find one, your romaine lettuce might be an ideal substitute especially if you’re particular with the recipe’s nutritional value. This lettuce-type replacement is a convenient substitute for escarole because it’s available throughout the year. Now, if you reside in California, you should know what I mean!
Romaine lettuce packs a voluminous amount of phytonutrients and vitamins and minerals. They are an excellent choice for consumers who are deficient in Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Folate, and Molybdenum. If you’re reading this now, you might want to ditch those leaves and replace them with these magical greens.
The Romaine is enriched with Vitamin C that is suitable for those who’d like to keep a healthy heart. To optimize the value of this escarole substitute, please make sure that you pick those crisp-looking Romaine lettuce with unwilted leaves. Avoid those with dark and slimy spots.
9.) Beet greens
Beet greens aren’t lauded just for their close resemblance to escarole’s taste. They're also famed for their amazing health benefits. This relative of Swiss chards is also known for their edible leaves that leave the same taste and texture.
To preserve their nutrient richness while cooking, it’s a must that you boil them quickly. They're being enjoyed mostly by Asian and North African cuisines. Some parts of Europe are also using beet greens to up their lasagna game.
To optimize the greatness of beet greens, I’d recommend the additional layers of these leaves to your next lasagna recipe. Plus, you’d never go wrong if you add pine nuts to your cooked beet green.
One of the easiest leaves to grow in your garden, borage is a freely-seeding annual plant with rich blue flowers, along with prickly leaves that taste like cucumbers. While it is considered herb, it’s often grown as a flower. This Spanish annual plant has green “hairy” leaves that can also be added to your favorite salads and drinks.
My aunt has been using borage to decorate some of her desserts, and I might have to follow suit after this! Meanwhile, some people are using borage flowers as an embellishment on a carrot leek soup.
You can watch this video to learn more about the borage herb.
Planning your menu before hunting the best substitute for this prized escarole is a must because you’ll have to check first which type of cooking style or procedure you’d be using. Also, know the texture and taste of some of these substitutes as they may differ when cooked. Nevertheless, the result is guaranteed to give you that glorious taste the escaroles are known for!
Did I miss some possible substitutions for escarole? Please feel free to share what you know in the comments below. If you know someone who's looking for an escarole substitute, you may share the article!