Spring is endive season. Have you been passing over the endive at the farmers market? This salad green might not look like much, but it’s actually a flavorful nutritional powerhouse! Grab some endive, and check out why you should eat it along with some tips on how to eat more endive.
This ancient green veggie has a slightly bitter flavor that’s a lovely addition to salads or a raw veggie plate. Don’t let endive’s bitterness put you off! The trick to enjoying endive is combining it with other foods. Here are a few ways that I like to eat endive:
- In place of chips. Are you serving up hummus or another healthy dip? Offer leaves of endive instead of tortilla chips for dipping.
- Grilled. What better way to celebrate spring than throwing seasonal veggies on the grill? Check out this simple recipe for grilling your endive.
- In salads. Endive is a salad superstar. Chop or shred the leaves up with milder salad greens or sweet veggies like carrots and beets for a punch of flavor. A fruity vinaigrette is great on an endive salad!
Health Benefits of Endive
Whether you choose flat-leaf — also known as escarole — or curly endive, your body will thank you! A head of endive contains 222 percent of your daily vitamin A and 1481 percent of your vitamin K. As I’ve discussed before, vitamin K is an essential piece of the bone health puzzle that we often overlook.
If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you definitely want to eat more of this spring veggie, because a head of endive also contains 182 percent of your daily requirement for folic acid.
Endive is also a rich source of trace minerals like manganese, copper and zinc. Your body only needs a tiny amount of these minerals each day, but they’re essential for everything from healthy bones to a strong immune system.
There isn’t a lot of research specifically on endive, but I did find a couple of interesting tidbits. One study looked at beta carotene and found that mature endive actually has more beta carotene than young leaves. Normally folks sing the praises of microgreens, but when it comes to endive, waiting may be more beneficial.
Another study looked at how preparing different lettuces impacted their flavonoid content. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that help support immune health and often have anti-aging properties. This study showed that shredding endive or exposing it to light caused the most flavonoid loss. That doesn’t mean you can’t shred your endive in your cooking. The loss isn’t instant. Just don’t shred and store it. To retain its beneficial flavonoids, store your endive whole in a dark, cool place like the produce drawer of your refrigerator.