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The 5 Best Substitutes for Endive

Endive is a leafy vegetable and it is also known as curly or Belgian, and the best substitutes for endive include, radicchio, arugula, chicory leaves, watercress, napa cabbage, and romaine lettuce.

You can use any of these substitutes according to the dish you are making so that they can give you the required flavor, look, and crunchiness.

What is Endive?

what is endive

Endives are a green leafy vegetable that belongs to the family of chicory.

The endives give a slightly bitter and earthly flavor similar to coffee.

This leafy vegetable is available in two varieties that include curly and Belgian.

The most common endive is probably Belgian. Endives belong to chicory and that is why all the varieties of endives are a bit bitter.

Radicchio is the closest member of the chicory family.

The best way to describe endives is that they have balanced bitterness, bit sweetness, and a leafy flavor like lettuce.

If you are wondering what are the best substitutes for Endives? Then here you can find the 5 best substitutes for Endives that can help you relish your dish even if you didn’t get endives.

5 Best Substitutes for Endive

1 – Arugula


Arugula is one of the best substitutes for Endive and it is also popularly called rocket in some places.

Arugula is a green leafy vegetable that is very flavorful, and it is easy to cook and wilts quickly, which is why you need it a lot to increase a salad.

It is vital to remember that arugula is not bitter like others but it has some unique flavor that might not go well with other ingredients.

The rocket leafy vegetable might prompt you of that old factor in prosciutto.

It tastes better if you do not heat it, so avoid using it in a Panini or soup.

It tastes better only in cold dishes.

2 – Radicchio


Radicchio is a leafy vegetable that is mostly found in Italian cuisine.

In fact, it is the best substitute for Endive when you cook Italian foods.

It has a very bitter taste when you eat it raw but when you cook it, the bitterness reduces which means that if you add some salt and pepper when boiling it then eating will be quite delicious.

If you want to substitute radicchio for endives, then bitterness may not be an issue for you.

You can use it raw, braised, cooked, or chopped in a salad, whichever way you want you can use radicchio.

This leafy vegetable comes in two shapes that include oval and round; you can get the right shape to make your dish more palatable.

Radicchio‘s Treviso type doesn’t grow round, it stretches head, and like any other chicories, radicchio has a strong structure and different bitterness that goes well with the delicate lettuces as it balances the sweetness of lettuce when it is combined with it.

Radicchio is a salad ingredient that tastes better when grilled, roasted, or sautéed in oil, and tossed with pasta.

3 – Watercress


Watercress is another leafy green vegetable that is close to arugula in terms of bitter flavor, but it has more spicy, sharp, and peppery taste.

Watercress is a great substitute for endive as it also provides some crunchiness along with the bitterness.

The leaves of this plant are juicy and fleshy with a sweet flavor that can be quite surprising.

The leaves are mostly found in dark green color with white veins which suggest that if you want to substitute watercress, make sure you are buying fresh one.

The taste of watercress is also very similar to arugula but the former has a bit spicy flavor.

Watercress contains a neutral flavor that makes this vegetable blend in any salad.

You don’t need to cook watercress, its flavor remains the same, and it just wilts a bit when you heat up.

But, most people like to use raw watercress in cold dishes.

This substitute vegetable tastes great in sandwiches.

According to the researchers, watercress contains sulforaphane and this compound helps to fight against cancer.

Watercress tastes bitter because of sulforaphane that has a sulfur component in it.

4 – Romaine Lettuce

romaine lettuce

This leafy vegetable is mostly used in salads, and it has a very distinct taste and flavor than any other green vegetables.

It is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine, but it works great when you want to substitute endive in your salad or sandwich.

It looks the same as endives but it doesn’t have the bitterness of endives.

People who don’t like bitterness can opt for Romaine Lettuce.

The leaves of this leafy vegetable are a longer and bit darker than endives.

Make sure to get a smaller, younger romaine head that tastes better than the brightly colored ones.

Also, romaine lettuce ruffled leaves make a lot of difference.

However, romaine lettuce is a perfect substitute for endives as perfect for salad, soup décor, platter dressing, etc.

5 – Napa Cabbage

napa cabbage

If you are looking for a substitute for endive that doesn’t have too much of bitterness or spiciness, Napa Cabbage is the best choice.

It has a mild flavor and tastes great with lettuces as it balances their bitter taste.

Napa cabbage looks the same as romaine but its leaves are pale in color than the romaine, and it also comes with round leaf edges than the romaine lettuce.

Though it is called cabbage, it is more like an iceberg and romaine lettuce.

The leaves of the napa cabbage are very big, larger than a completely grown romaine lettuce.

This leafy vegetable is perfectly blends in any dish.


Finding substitutes for Endive is comparatively easy as most of the above-mentioned green leafy substitutes have the same taste.

However, some of these substitutes do not have that authentic bitter taste of endive leaves.

All these substitutes should be used in the same amount initially, and if required add more to get the crunchiness and flavor that you want in your dish.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Endive

The 5 Best Substitutes for Endive
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Arugula
  • Radicchio
  • Watercress
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Napa Cabbage


  1. Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  2. Organize all of your ingredients.
  3. Follow the substitution ratio to determine how much is required in your recipe.

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