Belgian Endive–Much More Than A Salad Green

If you’ve enjoyed Belgian endive, it’s probably been in a salad or as part of a vegetable tray.  This pale green, almost white, leafy veggie has a mild flavor and is surprisingly versatile and interesting.  Unlike growing many other greens, the process of growing Belgian endive is quite labor intensive and involves a number of stages.

Belgian endive courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters

The process begins when chicory seeds are sown and allowed to take root.  After the roots are well established, the leaves are harvested and the roots are carefully pulled from the ground.  The endive is then grown in darkness from the cut roots.  The endive must be kept beneath the soil in order to preserve its whiteness (this prevents it from turning bitter).  Only the extreme tips are allowed to emerge and gain the green appearance.

As I mentioned, this veggie is versatile in that it’s equally delicious both cooked and raw.  I’ve collected three different ways to prepare Belgian endive and I encourage you to try each one as they will allow you to experience the veggie in very different ways.  To begin, a more common way is this recipe for Quinoa Salad in Endive Cups.  The endive is used as a “scoop” for this healthy salad made of quinoa, asparagus, radishes, pear, poppy seeds, and plenty of herbs and spices.  Think the healthiest “chip and dip” out there and this is the recipe for you.

quinoa salad in endive cups
Courtesy of Munchin with Munchkin

You may not think of using your oven when preparing Belgian endive, but that’s exactly what you’ll do with this recipe for Honey-Roasted Belgian Endive and Parsnips.  This is a wonderful pairing, with the sweetness of the parsnips and the flavor of the honey-thyme mixture.

honey roasted endive and parsnips
Photo courtesy of Martin Brigdale

Third, we have a recipe for Pan-Seared Belgian Endive with White Wine Orange Reduction.  This is an elegant dish, perfect for company.  A few crushed pistachios top the dish perfectly.

pan seared endive
Photo courtesy of The Fit Kitchen

For even more ways to use Belgian endive, Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has their Top 10 Ways (don’t forget the grill!).  I’ll be back next week with some new ways to incorporate celery into your meals.

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