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The 5 Best Substitutes for Escarole Lettuce

In Italian cuisine, the Escarole Lettuce is a very important ingredient.

It’s used in many classic dishes such as “Insalata Calabrese” and “Minestrone”.

The Escarole Lettuce is usually associated with the flavor of anise and fennel.

However, many other herbs can be used in its places, such as parsley, basil, and oregano, which add a fresher taste to the dish.

This is especially true with dishes that contain seafood.

Escarole Lettuce is always eaten raw since the cooking process diminishes its nutritional value and taste.

In most cases, it is mixed with other fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, and carrots, all of which add a touch of sweetness to the lettuce.

In conclusion, when preparing a dish with Escarole Lettuce, there are many possibilities to substitute it with other, more fresh and flavorful ingredients.

This way, you can still enjoy all the flavors of Italian cuisine while twisting your dishes.

Read on for five of the best substitutes for Escarole Lettuce.

What is Escarole Lettuce?

what is escarole lettuce

Escarole lettuce is a leafy type of lettuce that belongs to the bitter chicory family.

Escarole lettuce came from the French word “escarole”, which means “endive”.

This green, leafy vegetable has wavy leaves and sturdy ribs.

It can be found in dark green or bright red hues, with white or pale yellow ribs.

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It can be used as a traditional ingredient in soups, salads, and sandwiches.

Escarole lettuce has a bitter taste but is not related to the more common “bitter” lettuces part of the chicory family.

Escarole also goes by “Batavian endive” and “Batavian lettuce”.

When cooking with escarole lettuce, it’s best to steam the vegetable for a short period.

The edges of the leaves should be firm and just beginning to brown.

If you overcook escarole lettuce, it will have an unpleasant smell and taste.

When choosing escarole lettuce, you should look for a bright green color and avoid those that have wilted leaves.

It’s also best to avoid darker shades of green, as these varieties tend to be more bitter than lighter shades.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Escarole Lettuce

If your recipe calls for escarole lettuce and you cannot find it at your local grocery store, there are several other types of lettuce that can be used in its place.

1 – Spinach


Spinach is the second-best alternative when escarole lettuce is not available.

Spinach is very easy to find at any grocery store; in fact, you’ll often be able to find it right in the same refrigerator section as other types of leafy greens like arugula or kale.

The best way to prepare spinach for a salad is to remove any large stems, rinse it under cold water, and pat dry.

Then, you can toss it in the salad spinner or let it air dry before adding it to your recipe.

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Spinach has a mild flavor that will not overpower many other ingredients.

When eating fresh spinach leaves, they should be chewy but not tough.

Fresh spinach should look vibrant and deep green.

Avoid purchasing any wilted bags of spinach or show signs of yellowing around the leaves.

2 – Radicchios


Radicchio is a type of head lettuce that can be used to replace escarole lettuce.

It’s also found in the same section of your local grocery store as other types of leafy greens.

The outer leaves of the radicchio should be tightly formed and brightly colored, with deep red or purple hues.

This variety of lettuce is round with slightly crinkled leaves.

Radicchio has an intense flavor that may be bitter, but not overly so.

The radicchio you purchase at the grocery store will most likely already be separated into individual leaves; if this isn’t the case, you should work carefully to avoid bruising the delicate lettuce pieces.

3 – Chard


Swiss chard is closely related to beets and spinach.

It has sharply serrated, deep green leaves.

Chard is known for having an earthy flavor that’s slightly sweet at the same time; in fact, some refer to this variety of lettuce as “chard-flavored spinach”.

Chard should look fresh and crisp. It should also feel firm and not wilted.

The stalks should be moist and brightly colored, with no signs of blackening or discoloration.

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When adding chard to a recipe, you should avoid packing the leaves together too tightly; it’s best to leave some space between them, so they’re easier to work with.

Start by rinsing and draining the leaves in a colander and, if necessary, separating them into smaller pieces.

4 – Romaine Lettuce

romaine lettuce

Romaine lettuce is the last alternative to escarole lettuce on this list.

Romaine lettuce has pale green leaves and crisp, thick ribs on each side.

The leaves of romaine lettuce are darker than some other varieties that may be available in your local grocery store.

When choosing romaine lettuce, you should look for firm and crisp pieces.

Avoid any leaves that appear wilted or discolored in any way.

The edges of the leaves should be bright green, not brown or slimy.

With romaine lettuce, it’s important to avoid bruising the leaves when preparing your meal.

This can help prevent the lettuce from becoming soggy and wilted.

Start by rinsing it in a colander and patting dry with paper towels, if necessary.

5 – Butter Lettuce

butter lettuce

Butter lettuce is also known as Boston or bibb lettuce.

It’s an alternative that will work well if you need to replace escarole.

Butter lettuce has crisp green leaves with a soft, buttery texture.

This type of lettuce is very popular in salads because it pairs well with almost any other ingredient.

When choosing butter lettuce, look for leaves that are bright green and crisp.

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Avoid any with browned or wilted edges.

Butter lettuce is fragile, so it’s important to handle it gently when adding it to your salad recipe.

The best way to store butter lettuce is to wrap it in a damp paper towel and seal it inside a plastic bag.

If you’re going to use the lettuce within a day, this will be enough to keep it fresh until you need it.

Otherwise, you should eat or cook your lettuce as soon as possible.


Escarole lettuce is dark green lettuce with broad, curly leaves.

It’s found in the same section of your local grocery store as other types of leafy greens.

Escarole also has a slightly bitter taste that pairs well with many different foods, so it’s often used in recipes worldwide.

Unfortunately, escarole can be difficult to find in some areas.

In this case, you should consider several other options that you can use as a substitute.

Other leafy greens such as chard, romaine lettuce, and butter lettuce are all good choices if escarole is out of stock or too expensive.

All five varieties have a unique taste and texture, so test out a few to find the one that best suits your needs.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Escarole Lettuce

The 5 Best Substitutes for Escarole Lettuce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Spinach
  • Radicchios
  • Chard
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Butter Lettuce


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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