13 Best Escarole Substitutes That You Can Use

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Today, let’s talk about the best escarole substitutes. Now if you are a fan of green leafy vegetables, I am sure Escarole must be one of your favorites. Though it has a slightly bitter flavor, it goes extremely well in quite a lot of recipes. 


However, compared to various other leafy vegetables, escarole may be a tad bit difficult to find. In case you are having issues finding escarole, don’t worry! You can easily use a substitute for the same and this article will help you find the best escarole substitutes. 

So what are the best escarole substitutes? The best escarole substitutes are kale, spinach, arugula, chard, mustard greens, beet greens, collard greens, various types of lettuce and chinese cabbage. 

However, before we start exploring the substitutes, let me help you understand escarole a little better. It might be a new vegetable for some people and some information on the same will definitely make it easier to pick your substitute!

Quick Peek: Escarole

This section has all the information on escarole. You will get to understand what the ingredient is, its flavor and texture, uses and nutritional information. So, let us discover escarole!

What Is Escarole?

Escarole, also known as ‘cichorium endivia’, is a part of the chicory family. It belongs to the same family as other green leafy vegetables like curly endive and frisee and often confused with the same or other bitter green leafy vegetables. 

It is considered as a flat leaf variety of endive. It is native to the East Indies and grows in a variety of climates. Now, escarole is found in many parts of the world. It is also known by various other names.

 These names include broad-leaved endive, Bavarian endive, Batavian endive and scarole. Moreover, escarole is also often confused with butterhead lettuce. However, it is easy to tell them apart if you look closely. 

Describing Escarole: Flavor And Texture

Escarole has broad and curly green leaves. The outer leaves are a bit darker in color whereas the inner leaves are more tender. It is easy to tell it apart from butterhead lettuce, despite many similarities. This is because escarole has wide leaves with crumpled edges.

These leaves cluster into a rosette. Whereas the leaves of butterhead lettuce are wavy and smooth as compared to escarole.

When we talk about the flavor, it offers a pleasantly bitter flavor. However, this flavor is milder than that of various other leafy vegetables from the same family. 

Uses Of Escarole

Escarole has many uses in various recipes. However, one dish where escarole is an extremely vital ingredient, is Italian wedding soup. This soup combines escarole with small pasta and meatballs or sausages in a chicken broth. 

Usually, the rest of the ingredients can vary in this recipe, however, escarole is something that is not really replaced as it is one of the most important ingredients. Other than Italian wedding soup, escarole also makes a great addition to various, soups, stews and salads. 

You can eat it raw as well as cooked. Moreover, you can simply toss the greens with some olive or butter and garlic and they taste heavenly! It is usually preferred in various recipes as it provides more depth than various other green leaves. It also pairs well with blue cheese. 

Escarole On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

As it is a green leafy vegetable, escarole is extremely nutritionally dense and has a lot of other health benefits, just like various other leafy vegetables. It has low calories and packed with vital nutrients. 

Around 2 cups or 85 grams of raw escarole has only 15 calories. It is rich in proteins, carbs and dietary fibers and contains no fat at all. Moreover, it has many vitamins such as vitamins A,K and C along with minerals like copper zinc and iron. 

As it is so nutritionally dense, it has many health benefits. Being rich in dietary fibers, it helps keep the gut healthy. Moreover, it is also good for eyesight as it contains a good amount of vitamin A. It is also reduces inflammation and promotes bone and heart health. 

Why Use A Substitute For Escarole?

I am sure this question must have come to your mind. Why use a substitute for a vegetable that is so nutritionally dense? While there are many reasons to use escarole, there are also a few reasons to consider using a substitute. 

Firstly, escarole may be a little difficult to find, as compared to various other green leafy vegetables. It is definitely available worldwide, however, in certain places, it may be very difficult to find. In this case, a substitute can save your day. 

Moreover, escarole has a slightly bitter taste that might not be preferred by everyone. Though the taste of escarole is not as bitter as various other leafy greens from the same family, it still is bitter compared to many other leafy greens. 

So, if the flavor of escarole is not as per your liking, you can definitely use a substitute with a less bitter taste. Lastly, if you don’t have any of these issues and you are just out of escarole, why bother running to the store? You can easily use a substitute. 

Many of the substitute options given are very easily accessible and might already be present in your pantry! That will definitely save you some time and energy. 

I think I have given you a lot of information on escarole. Now, let’s quickly move to main attraction of this topic, its various substitutes. The next section covers the same. 

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

13 Best Escarole Substitutes

This section has a list of all the best escarole substitutes. Moreover, you will also get to know how to use each substitute in place of escarole. So, let’s get started!

1. Kale

Kale is a leafy vegetable from the cabbage family. The leaves have a slightly bitter flavor, quite similar to that of escarole and hence it makes a good escarole substitute. 

Kale works in most recipes as an escarole substitute. It provides depth, along with flavor, to various recipes. Baby kale usually is more tender and makes a good replacement for the inner leaves of escarole. 

Whereas curly kale is harder and is a good replacement for the outer leaves. Moreover, kale is extremely nutritionally dense, similar to escarole. It contains vitamins A, K and B6 along with minerals such as calcium, copper and potassium. 

While using it as a substitute for escarole, you can generally follow a standard 1:1 ratio. Moreover, kale can be cooked in the exact same ways as escarole. 

2. Spinach

Spinach is another nutritionally dense leafy green vegetable. It has a slightly bitter taste too and makes a great escarole substitute in most recipes. 

Spinach is an extremely versatile green leafy vegetable that is usually very easily available in most parts of the world. It works well in all recipes that call for green leafy vegetables. 

Moreover, the bitter flavor of spinach usually fades once it is cooked. So, this is a big plus in case you are trying to avoid a bitter flavor. Moreover, spinach can also be eaten raw and cooked. It is also packed with various vital nutrients. 

Spinach can usually be used in most recipes as a substitute for escarole in a standard 1:1 ratio. This applies for both raw and cooked recipes. 

3. Arugula

Arugula is a leafy vegetable that belongs to the cabbage family. It has a perfect balance of a spicy and peppery taste along with some bitterness. Hence, it makes a great escarole substitute. 

The leaves of arugula tend to be much smaller and tender as compared to that of escarole. Hence, it usually makes a great substitute for escarole where it is supposed to be eaten raw.

It works exceptionally well with salads and can also be paired with various types of cheese and nuts. The peppery yet bitter flavor will compliment these dishes really well, as an escarole substitute. 

It is also nutritionally dense, similar to escarole. It contains vital nutrients such as vitamins A and C along with fiber. It can be used as an escarole substitute in a 1:1 ratio. 

4. Frisee

Frisee is a member of the chicory family, just like escarole. It does have a bitter taste that is quite similar to that of escarole, making it a great substitute for the same. Frisee is also often known as curly endive due to its curly and frizzy leaves. The leaves of frisee are quite tender, again making it a good substitute for escarole in salads. 

However, frisee can also be used in warm recipes as it will not get mushy when paired with warm ingredients. To get the best flavor of frisee, make sure you pick the crisp and fresh ones in the market. That will give the best results. 

While using it as a substitute for escarole, you can generally follow a standard 1:1 ratio, in both raw and cooked recipe variations. 

5. Radicchio

Radicchio is often confused with red cabbage due to its appearance, however, it belongs to the same family as escarole. It has a notable bitter taste that works well as an escarole substitute. 

Radicchio is generally a bit bitter in flavor than escarole. Moreover, it may also seem a little spicy. However, these flavors dissipate a little, once the radicchio is cooked. This makes it a great substitute for escarole in cooked recipes. 

Radicchio, however, can also be used in raw salads, however, the taste may remain pungent and might not be to everyone’s liking. It is also very nutritionally dense, similar to escarole. 

White using radicchio as a substitute for escarole, try starting with half the amount as the bitter taste might be too pungent for some people. You can always add more in case you want a stronger flavor. 

6. Mustard Greens

Mustard greens are known by various other names such as curly mustard, curled mustard, mustard spinach and leafy mustard. It has a bitter taste, similar to escarole, making it a good substitute for the same. 

Mustard greens have a pungent spicy flavor to them along with some bitterness. However, they are not as bitter as many of the other options mentioned in this article. Moreover, once cooked, they don’t lose much of their texture. 

They are an ideal substitute for both warm and cold recipes. However, be careful if your recipe already has pepper, since mustard greens do impart a peppery flavor. So, you may want to adjust the quantity of pepper in your overall recipe accordingly. 

Mustard greens, similar to escarole are low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. They can be used as a escarole substitute in a 1:1 ratio. 

7. Swiss Chard

Swiss chard, also simply known as chard, is closely related to beet greens. They have a bitter flavor which can work well as a escarole substitute in various recipes. 

The flavor of Swiss chard resembles that of spinach but is more bitter. Hence, it is an extremely versatile ingredient. Moreover, once cooked, the flavor of swiss chard becomes more earthy, rather than bitter. 

Swiss chard is available in various colors. So, it can definitely add a lot of vibrance to your dish. However, an important thing to remember is that the roots of Swiss chard aren’t usually used, unlike various other leafy vegetables. 

It can work well as a substitute in both warm and cold recipes. You can use it as a substitute for escarole in a standard 1:1 ratio. 

8. Romaine Lettuce

Romaine lettuce has a mild and neutral taste and is not too bitter. However, it can still work as a great escarole substitute in various recipes. 

Romaine lettuce particularly works well as an escarole substitute in salads. The outer leaves of romaine lettuce are dark and sturdy whereas the inner leaves are more sweet and tender. 

As it has a crispy texture and a milder flavor, you may want to use it in salads and other recipes where other flavors are a little more overpowering. On top of that, romaine lettuce is extremely nutritionally dense, similar to escarole. 

You can generally use romaine lettuce as a substitute for escarole in any recipe in a standard 1;1 ratio. However, these lettuce leaves are generally better used in cold dishes as opposed to warm dishes. 

9. Beet Greens

Beet greens are one of the most nutritionally dense greens out there. They have a flavor quite similar to that of Swiss chard, which in turn makes them a good escarole substitute too. 

Usually beet greens can be eaten both raw and cooked. However, when cooking them, make sure to do it rapidly so that they don’t lose too many of their nutrients. They can be used as an escarole substitute in both hot and cold recipes. 

Beet greens also make a great addition to lasagna, if you are willing to try the same. Moreover, they are rich in vital nutrients like vitamin A, K and C along with fiber, calcium, potassium and manganese. 

Beet greens can be used as a substitute for escarole in a standard 1:1 ratio. You can experiment by adding them to different dishes.  

10. Collard Greens

Collard greens belong to the same family as cabbage. They have dark green leaves with a nutty and bitter flavor, making them a great escarole substitute. 

Collard greens are a staple in most Southern US households. They are very easily available in the market, which already makes them a good choice for substitution. 

Moreover, unlike various green leafy vegetables, the flavor of collard greens does not change much, as they mature. They work extremely well in salads and various warm recipes. However, you can also saute them with garlic to bring out their best flavor. 

Collard greens can be used as a substitute for escarole in a 1:1 ratio. These nutritionally dense leaves have the same value of substitution for both warm and cold recipes. 

11. Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce is sometimes also crisphead lettuce. It does not have a bitter flavor, but is rather slightly sweet. However,you can still use it as an escarole substitute in various recipes. 

Iceberg lettuce is one of the most popular types of lettuce used worldwide. It has a firm and crunchy texture which makes it a great addition to salads and sandwiches. 

The reason a lot of people opt for iceberg lettuce in place of escarole is precisely because it lacks a bitter taste. So, it can make a great substitute for escarole, especially if you want to avoid the bitter taste of various other greens. 

Iceberg lettuce, however, won’t particularly work well as an escarole substitute in recipes where the green needs to be cooked. However, in cold recipes, you can easily use it as a substitute in a 1:1 ratio. 

12. Butterhead Lettuce

Butterhead lettuce has a color similar to that of spinach. It has a mild flavor and hence can be used as a substitute for escarole in recipes where you want to experiment with other flavors. 

The texture of butterhead lettuce is soft and tender, as opposed to the crunchy texture of various other types of greens. So, if this is a texture that you prefer in your food, butterhead lettuce can definitely come in handy as a substitute option. 

Butterhead lettuce again goes well in cold recipes such as salads and sandwiches, rather than warm recipes. Moreover, it is low in calories and nutritionally dense with various vital nutrients, similar to escarole. 

Butterhead lettuce can be used as an escarole substitute in a standard 1:1 ratio. You can experiment with various other flavors while using butterhead lettuce, to amp up the overall flavor of your food. 

13. Chinese Cabbage

Chinese cabbage has a crisp and crunchy texture with a mild taste. It can be used as a substitute for escarole in recipes where you would not want a very overpowering flavor. 

The two most popular varieties of Chinese cabbage generally used are bok choy and napa cabbage. The mild flavor of this cabbage tends to turn a little sweeter, once cooked. 

You can use Chinese cabbage as a substitute for escarole in both warm and cold recipes. It works best when you are looking for a substitute for escarole where you would not want a bitter flavor. 

While using Chinese cabbage, you can easily experiment with other flavorings to enhance the flavor of your food. It can be used as an escarole substitute in a standard 1:1 ratio. 

Short Recap For Best Escarole Substitutes

Those were definitely a lot of substitutes for escarole. I am sure you must have gone through and understood all of them by now. However, are you still confused about which one would work best in your recipe? 

Then, there is no need to worry! I have broken it down further for you into three categories. Have a look!

Most Suitable : The most suitable substitute for escarole is Kale. 

Easily Available : Spinach, kale, collard greens, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce and butterhead lettuce are the most easily available escarole substitutes. 

Best Flavor Profile : Kale, arugula and Swiss chard will provide the best flavor profile, when used as a substitute for escarole. 

How To Use Escarole Substitutes In A Recipe


Escarole Substitutes

However, compared to various other leafy vegetables, escarole may be a tad bit difficult to find. In case you are having issues finding escarole, don’t worry! Here are some of the best escarole substitutes. 
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  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Frisee
  • Radicchio
  • Mustard Greens
  • Swiss Chard
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Beet Greens
  • Collard Greens
  • Iceberg Lettuce
  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Chinese Cabbage


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Final Word

As we have reached the end of this article, I hope it has helped you with finding the best substitute for escarole. Escarole is definitely nutritionally dense and makes a great addition to a lot of recipes. However, it definitely can be a little difficult to find at certain places. 

Having said that, most of the substitute options given above are usually very easy to find. Moreover, quite a lot of them share a similar flavor too. They are all also either equally or more nutritionally dense than escarole. 

Hence, they are all definitely worth consideration. For those substitutes that don’t have a similar flavor, it leaves a lot of room for experimentation! You can experiment with various seasonings and flavorings and I am sure you will end up cooking something wonderful!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What kind of vegetable is escarole?

Escarole is a green leafy vegetable belonging to the chicory family.

Is kale and escarole the same thing?

No, they are both different kinds of leafy vegetables, with escarole being leafier than kale.

Are collard greens the same as escarole?

Though they belong to the same chicory family, collard greens and escarole are both different types of leafy greens. 

Can I use escarole in place of spinach?

Yes, escarole can be used as a substitute for spinach.

What is the difference between escarole and spinach?

Spinach is usually a bit more nutritionally dense than escarole.

Is escarole good for weight loss?

As escarole is very nutritionally dense and contains no fat, it can help with weight loss.

Can escarole be eaten on a keto diet?

Yes, escarole is extremely healthy and can very well be included in a keto diet.

Is escarole good for diabetes?

Escarole contains a high amount of fiber which can protect against heart disease, diabetes and various other chronic illnesses.

What vegetables are in the chicory family?

The chicory family includes leafy vegetables such as Belgian endive, curly endive, escarole, frisée and radicchio.

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