In season in the fall, endive is a nutritious leafy vegetable that kind of looks like a miniature hybrid of lettuce and cabbage. The leaves have a tender crunchiness and their flavor is a little on the bitter side. Alongside its cousins radicchio, escarole and frisee, you sometimes see endive coming into play in fancy salads. In addition, the leaves of the endive are shaped like little boats, so they’re perfect for appetizers where dips are involved. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative than deep fried chips or crackers, endive will certainly step up to the plate. Endive can be enjoyed equally in hot or cold dishes, eaten raw, braised or roasted.

Nutritionally speaking, endive is packed with folate, vitamins A and K and lots of fiber. It’s super low in sodium and has only one calorie per leaf, so we know endive is a great addition to your plate. In fact, the flavor, nutrition and versatility of endive has led Belgians to call it ‘white gold’. But how does one incorporate endive into their cooking? Try these ideas:

Braised Endive

Endive leaves are hearty enough to withstand cooking and they also make excellent receptacles for flavorful sauces. Braising them in a savory broth cuts their bitterness a little and leaves them super tender and tasty. Try this recipe: Braised Endive.

Endive and Walnut Salad 

Fall salads are wonderful, especially when they incorporate hearty greens, earthy nuts and creamy, sharp cheese. In this simple salad, crunchy chopped endive is the star of the show, supported by walnuts, comte cheese and a Dijon vinaigrette. Get the recipe: Endive and Walnut Salad.

Salmon and Endive Tart 

Perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or a late night snack, this savory tart marries salty salmon, julienned endive, crème fraiche, eggs and dill baked inside a flaky tart crust. Say no more: Salmon and Endive Tart.

Prosciutto, Endive and Shaved Manchego Salad

Topped with a tarragon-shallot vinaigrette, the shaved pieces of salty prosciutto and creamy Manchego are the perfect match for the bitter endive leaves and sweet pear. It’s a perfectly luxurious salad that will impress any dinner guest. Get the recipe: Proscuitto, Endive and Shaved Manchego Salad.

Red Endive with Dried Cranberries, Pecans, Feta and Arugula 

Noticing a trend here? Endive pairs exceptionally well with nuts and cheese (me too, me too). In this appetizer, we see the endive in one of its most popular incarnations: as a delivery vessel for flavorful fillings. It looks great on the plate, too! Perfect for entertaining. Get the super easy recipe: Red Endive with Dried Cranberries, Pecans, Feta and Arugula.

Have you tried endive? What’s your favorite way to eat it? Tell us in the comments!

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