Here’s why endive is the paleo hero ingredient you’re about to see everywhere

August 29, 2019 at 04:30AM by CWC

Ever have a flashback to when kale wasn’t cool (#tbt)? Well, there’s a new crew of superfoods about to hit your plates and IG feeds. We teamed up with Ocean Spray to clue you in on the trends. Learn about all six craze-worthy foods here, and keep reading to find out why the health benefits of endive earned it a spot.


On your quest to get your greens in, it’s easy to default to throwing spinach, kale, or arugula into a bowl and calling it a day. Besides, the taste of your greens-of-choice isn’t always the main showstopper, but more of a vehicle for the real yummy stuff (like that vinaigrette you finally perfected).

But a different veggie base is threatening to steal the salad spotlight—and its unique flavor can stand on its own. Enter: Belgian endive—the elegant-looking (and sounding, tbh) member of the chicory family that’s making its case to be the leafy green of 2019.

If you’re unfamiliar with the up-and-coming superfood, you can pick endive out of the produce section by its oval-shaped head and boat-shaped white leaves with yellow or red-purple tops. It’s known for being fresh and crunchy, and though its slight bitterness might seem like a turnoff, don’t be intimidated. The benefits of endive make the case for why it might soon be taking over your plate.

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Keep scrolling for insight on the health benefits of endive AKA your new favorite supergreen.

Benefits of endive

Endive might look unassuming, but its health benefits are big time. Nutritionist and pharmacist Barbara Mendez notes the green contains a phytonutrient called kaempferol, which has anti-inflammatory properties and could help protect against heart disease and certain cancers.

Endive also packs a variety of vitamins, such as vitamin A for improved immunity and eye health, Mendez notes. Just a three-ounce serving (which is about two cups) earns you more than your recommended daily intake of vitamin K, a nutrient key for bone health.


The third point of its vitamin trifecta is folate, a B vitamin that supports healthy cell production as well as healthy pregnancy by helping to prevent neural tube defects, Eliza Savage, RD, says.

Why it’s trending

Admittedly, endive is a photogenic lettuce, which lends itself well to do-it-for-the-‘gram images of crudité platters. Plus, if you follow a keto or paleo diet, endive is gaining traction amongst foodies as plant-based cracker alternative for holding dips and spreads.

Endive’s addition to highly touted menus is helped by the fact that the production of the crop is booming, but the flavor profile of the green is earning it favorite status among chefs as well, since the bitterness helps balance the flavors of a dish and contributes a crisp bite.

Salt Fat Acid Heat author and chef Samin Nosrat says NYC’s Via Carota serves up the best green salad she’s ever had (a mind-blowing rec!), featuring a blend of endive and frisée topped with a sherry vinaigrette. And you can also see it on menus at acclaimed NYC restaraunts like Café Altro Paradiso—which serves an endive, anchovy, hazelnut, and gorgonzola salad—or the award-winning Blue Hill at Stone Barns that offers a first course of endive, bok choy, purple cauliflower, and radishes.

How to use it

The obvious choice? Use it in your next salad for a nutrient boost. “Endive is low calorie, high fiber, and has a lot of taste, so it can be a great way to add variety to a normal salad,” Savage says. And don’t let the bitterness scare you off. Instead, use it as the perfectly balanced compliment to sweeter or more acidic salad toppings, and toss some fresh figs, dried cranberries , or juicy olives into your bowl. 

Other chef-approved ideas include mixing red endive into a gut-healthy bowl with a blend of radicchio, red cabbage, fennel, mint, and lentils, pan-frying it in a skillet for a new grain-bowl topping, or using the leaves as a boat for your favorite garlicky dip or smoked salmon. Moral of the story: goodbye kale chips, hello endive boats. 

In partnership with Ocean Spray

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Author Well+Good Editors | Well and Good
Selected by CWC