Skip to Content

Crisp and Slightly Sweet: What Does Endive Taste Like?

Endive is a leafy green vegetable that has a slightly bitter taste.

It can be eaten raw with a sauce or cooked in many dishes like ratatouille, quiche, and soups.

The endives are grown in the ground similar to other vegetables, but they are not harvested until their leaves have begun to form tightly together at the head of the plant.

This article will explore what endive tastes like and why it’s so healthy for you.

What is Endive?

Endive is a salad green with long narrow leaves that curl tightly when they are cooked.

Endive is a member of the chicory family, along with radicchio and escarole.

Since ancient times, dark green leaves have been used to make medicine (since at least 1500 BC).

It is believed that endive was introduced to Italy in 1736 by an Italian botanist, who saw the plant being grown on Swiss farms.

It has become popular in Parisian markets ever since. Endives grow well when planted near onions or garlic because they share some common pests and diseases.

Cultivation requires at least six weeks to mature, but only two days for the plant to sprout from the seed.

The unique leaf shape also makes the plant easier to harvest by hand because it won’t bruise quickly.

Endive can be crispy and crunchy when raw or cooked to be tender. The chicory herb is most often used in salads because of its bitter taste.

Chefs often use endive in place of lettuce because it has such a distinct flavor.

Endive is not commonly used in the United States, but can be found at specialty grocery stores or farmers markets.

Health Benefits of Eating Endives

You may have seen endives on your plate before and not known what they were called.

This powerful vegetable belongs to the chicory family and is often mistaken for lettuce.

Endives are often overlooked as healthy food, but they should not be.

Endives are low in calories and high in fiber, potassium, vitamin A, folate, and iron. They also contain other minerals like phosphorus and magnesium.

Endives contain high levels of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, iron, and calcium; all these are very beneficial to the body.

Endives may also be helpful for people who have digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative colitis because they help regulate bacteria in the gut.

Eating endives will help you stay healthy by boosting your immune system and lowering your risk for heart disease.

If you’re looking to add more vegetables to your diet without changing your overeating flavor profile, then endives may be perfect for you.

What Does Endive Taste Like? 

Endives are a type of chicory in the endive family. The leaves are much more tender than other green vegetables and have an earthy flavor.

Endive can be raw or cooked. It has a strong flavor that usually tastes better with other ingredients.

They are often used as salad greens because they stand up to heavy dressings such as mayonnaise or ranch dressing better than lettuce does, which can become soggy from these types of dressings.

Raw endives have a firm and crunchy texture but generally don’t remain crisp for long due to their high water content; cooking them will make the leaves soft and tender.

Once cooked, the taste is milder than raw endives, and they can be used in a variety of dishes.

The leaves can also be blanched before being sauteed or boiled, which will help to remove some of the bitterness.

The stems are tough, so you should usually remove them first.

The plant’s texture resembles lettuce more than anything else. One can also compare it to a cross between cabbage and lettuce, with its pronounced bitter chicory flavor.

##How Do You Prepare and Eat Endive? 

Most people make the mistake that they will eat endive raw. While you can certainly do this, your health should cook them first, which not only releases more of their flavor and sweetness but also makes them easier to digest as well.

When cooking with endives, try steaming or braising before adding other ingredients such as butter, salt, or pepper. It’s really up to you.

As long as you are honoring its natural sugar content by cooking it rather than eating it raw, then feel free to experiment with lemon juice, fresh thyme leaves, honey mustard sauce.

To properly prepare endives, remove the outer leaves and trim off any brown spots.

Next, cut them in half lengthwise from top to bottom, then separate the two halves of each endive with a sharp knife so that they can be sliced more easily into thin strips or chopped roughly.

You can also add endive to dishes like the traditional Provençal dish Ratatouille, a stew containing tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and onions.

This hearty vegetable-only meal will help you feel full without feeling heavy.

Endives can be eaten raw in salads, but it’s best if they are shredded into thin strips first to lessen their bitterness.

The endive’s natural bitterness is cut by adding sweet, starchy foods like apples or pears, folded into thin pancakes, and served with maple syrup.

How Do You Get the Bitterness Out of Endives?

The only drawback to endives is their bitterness.

It can be challenging to get the bitter taste out of them without soaking in saltwater for hours.

Blanching them in boiling water for a few minutes can help remove the bitterness and make them more palatable.

Removing the white core in the center of the endive and then slicing it in a cross-wise fashion can help to remove some of the bitterness.

Another trick is just adding a touch more lemon juice or citrus fruit will also work wonders.

Caramelizing them in olive oil will also help to sweeten the endives and bring out their natural sweetness.

Why is Endive So Expensive?

The price for this type of vegetable changes seasonally – during fall, when most crops go into storage, prices on fresh produce typically increase.

Endives flavor can also vary depending on how it is harvested as well as its variety or cultivar.

For example, some types may have a more bitter taste than others do; these tend to cost less in markets because they are not always favored by consumers who prefer milder flavors.

Why endive costs so much have to do with its growing pattern.

Endive requires two planting seasons to produce: the first in early spring when seeds are sown into cold soil then turned over again just before it freezes.

The second crop comes from plants grown out of seedlings taken from these initial plantings and planted during the North Sea summer.

The root system develops along with leaves which form a long head or heart shape – though some varieties have more curly-leaf edges than others.

If you’re looking to save money on your grocery bill, try substituting endives with other leafy greens such as Swiss chard and spinach, which taste similar but are more affordable options when they’re not in season.

Foods That Go Well with Endive

Due to its lining of indigestible cellulose, endive can hold a lot more water than other lettuces.

This makes it an excellent carrier for foods with high-fat content and creamy textures that would otherwise spoil quickly on lettuce.

They work well with many different types of salad dressings, but the best choices are high in fat and acidity.

  • Aioli is a delicious combination of garlic, egg yolk, and olive oil which works well on endive salads because it has fat and acidity.
  • Hollandaise sauce is more complicated to make than an aioli or vinaigrette dressing, but it also contains considerable amounts of eggs and butter for flavor.
  • Ranch dressing is another creamy-textured option – though not quite as good at carrying flavors due to its lack of acids (typically only yogurt).

Endive also goes well with many types of meats, especially those that are rich and fatty.

  • Ham is an excellent choice for an endive salad because it is salty as well as fatty.
  • Canned olives also go very nicely on salads made from endives, adding protein in the form of tiny bites – but don’t try to make this dish vegetarian.

Endive can be combined with any cheese you like when making your salad dressing or topping off a store-bought one.

The best choices are creamy cheeses such as brie (which tastes incredible when paired with honey) or gorgonzola dolce. Another viable option is to use soft goat cheese with some crumbled bacon on top.


To sum up, endive is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that goes well with many types of foods.

Suppose you’re looking to try this delicious green vegetable for yourself, head over to your local grocery store and grab some today.

They’ll make an excellent addition to any meal or as an appetizer option before dinner.

About The Author

Sharing is caring!