12 Best Substitutes for Escarole


Want to eat a good salad with your piece of meat? Or you are on a diet and want to eat something light? If so, you can always make a tasty green salad and add anything you like. The options are limitless.

There are many types of green salads and you should try each one of them to know what is your favorite one.

The best substitutes for escarole are iceberg lettuce, arugula, kale, Chinese cabbage, Radicchio, Butterhead lettuce, Frisee, Spinach, Swiss chard and Mustard greens. 

Escarole Substitutes

Escarole is a green leafy type of endive, and it belongs to the chicory family. It has many names as scarola, grumolo, scarole, Bavarian endive or Batavian endive.

It can be used raw in a salad, grilled, in soups and stews, or sauteed. Because it’s similar to other greens you can easily substitute it with the one you have in your kitchen.

If you have never tried it and don’t know what it looks like but want to buy it you should look for a green salad-looking vegetable with broad pale green leaves. They have a rough and coarse texture, but the bottom looks like classic endive.

The taste of the escarole is slightly bitter. The outer leaves are more bitter than the inner which has lighter color. When you want to cook it the bitter flavor will get softer and more pleasant for eating but in salads, it’s crispy and crunchy.

1. Iceberg lettuce

Iceberg lettuce 

Iceberg lettuce is composed of 96% of water there for its great for hydration. It has a crisp and soft taste and can be used in salads. It’s also low in fibers when compared to other greens.

2. Arugula or rocket salad


Arugula is known as rocket salad, or Italian cress, and has a slightly peppery and bitter flavor. It can be used as an addition for salads, tomato dishes, sauteed vegetables, egg dishes, pasta, or on the top of the pizza. Due to its bitter taste, it’s used with strong flavors like garlic, lemon, blue cheese, parmesan, or olive oil.

Arugula is mainly used raw as a salad with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Or with cherry tomatoes, grilled chicken, and walnuts, cooked into a gratin or blended into a spread. 

3. Chinese cabbage

Chinese Cabbage

Chinese cabbage is popular in the Asian kitchen used for stir-fry, noodle dishes, dumplings, and salads. It has a crispy texture and mild taste which gets sweeter when cooked. 

4. Kale


Kale is a cruciferous vegetable one of the members of the cabbage family. There are many types of kale. One with green leaves, the other with purple, with curly or smooth shape.

You can eat it raw in salads, boil it, sautee it or add it to soups and casseroles.

5. Radicchio


Radicchio is a vegetable with red-purple leaves with white veins and a bitter spicy flavor. It’s a type of chicory just like Belgian endive. Because it’s crispy it’s often used in salads, but it can be roasted, grilled, sauteed, or tossed with pasta.

6. Butterhead lettuce

Butterhead lettuce is lettuce with round sweet leaves. It has a mild buttery flavor that feels like it’s melting in your mouth. It pairs well with roasted pork or blue cheese.

It’s used mainly as a salad, but also as a wrap for chicken, pork, beef, taco, or a burger. When it’s used in sandwiches it gives a light crunchy note that refreshes the flavor without overpowering the other ingredients.

7. Frisee

Frisee is a member of the chicory family together with escarole, radicchio, and endive. It’s also known as curly endive due to the curly, narrow, and frizzy leaves which are crispy and with a bitter flavor.

This veggie is used in salads with rich creamy dressings, or with roasted chicken. You can add it to sandwiches, sauteed with garlic. Or serve it with roasted walnuts and blue cheese.

8. Spinach

Water Spinach

Spinach is a great substitute for escarole. Spinach leaves are less bitter than escarole, and they can be used raw in salads, fried, or cooked as a side dish. Or blended in soups and smoothies.

9. Swiss chard

Swiss chard

Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable similar to beets and spinach. It has stems that can be red, white, or yellow, with red-green or dark green leaves. It has a similar taste to spinach and beets, with an earthy flavor and small note of bitterness.

You can eat chard raw. But because of the oxalic acid, it’s better to cook it and add onion, garlic, and a little vinegar to balance the bitter taste.

Stems are harder than the leaves so you will have to cook them longer. 

10. Mustard greens

Mustard greens

Mustard greens are related to cabbage, kale, and collard greens. They have a less bitter taste than kale. But the same spicy flavor as arugula.

Mustard greens can be eaten raw with oil and vinegar, sauteed with oil and herbs, or tossed into soups. 

11. Endive


Endive is a leafy vegetable from the chicory family. It has a fresh, crisp, and mildly bitter flavor which makes them a great addition to the salads.

There are few other options like baking, roasting, sauteeing or you can even use it as a cracker with dip.

12. Romaine lettuce

Romaine lettuce has long dark green leaves and a crispy texture which makes it great to use for salad. It has a slightly bitter taste and can be also grilled and sauteed.

Romaine lettuce was originally used when Caesar salad was created.


What lettuce is like escarole?

Endive is similar to escarole. However, if you don’t have either, you can use arugula or spinach as a substitute.

Can you substitute kale for escarole?

Yes, you can substitute kale for escarole. They’re quite similar in texture and flavor. And they can be used in similar ways.

Is escarole spinach?

No, escarole is not spinach. But can be a good substitute for it because of the similar taste.

What does escarole taste like?

When used raw escarole has a mildly bitter taste. But when cooked it becomes less bitter.


Escarole is a vegetable that can be used in salads or for cooking. However, if you can’t find it you can always use some of the substitutes above.

For soups and stews mustard greens and spinach, and for salads, arugula, radicchio, or endive will do. You can also use chard or kale but don’t forget to cook them longer since they are more tender. Whatever you choose will be tasty and give you the nutrients you need.

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