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This elegant salad features a trio of chicories — escarole, frisée, and Belgian endive. These gently bitter winter greens pack just the right punch, and they stand up to serious accompaniments like Kalamata olive vinaigrette and warm marinated goat cheese croutons.

endive and escarole salad with goat cheese croutons and anchovy olive vinaigrette in a bowl with a fork
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Why we love this recipe

For many years, this salad has occupied a disproportionate amount of space in my mind — and I wouldn’t trade it. Equally at home kicking off a dinner party and flying solo as a light lunch, it’s just really satisfying and memorable.

Endive and escarole salad is:

  • Super-savory and satisfying
  • Full of balanced textures and flavors
  • Prep-ahead friendly
  • Amenable to vegetarian and gluten-free adaptations

I first published this recipe here and on Serious Eats way back in 2010. I’ve since updated the post for clarity and made some tweaks to the recipe itself. Over the years this recipe has come to feel like my own, but I have a sense I may have adapted it from a magazine once upon a time. If that’s the case, I’ve lost track of the source. If you happen to recognize it, please leave a comment so I can credit the original. Thank you!

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

The chicories

If you can, use a combination of all three of these wonderful winter greens. Though they’re all varieties of the cichorium plant, each adds its own unique texture and flavor profile. If you can’t get them all, it’s okay to combine just a couple of them.

ingredients in bowls
  • You could be excused for mistaking escarole for a head of lettuce — which is part of why it thrives in salads (as well as in cooked preparations). Its leaves are fairly broad and flat, with ruffled tops. It has a gentle bitterness that doesn’t overwhelm. Treat it like lettuce, removing the core and tearing or chopping the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  • Frisée is also called curly endive. Its leaves are frilly and festive and do a great job snagging dressing in their crannies. I personally prefer when it’s combined with other greens, since the shape can get a little bit complicated to eat.
  • Belgian endive has pale, oblong leaves that come together in small, torpedo-shaped heads, and it’s the result of a true labor of love. Farmers harvest very young chicory plants and then re-plant the roots, growing them in total darkness to produce the almost pure-white endive. Separate the leaves. You can leave them whole for a pretty presentation or slice them if you prefer.

For the croutons

ingredients in bowls
  • Fresh goat cheese (also called chèvre) is creamy, tangy, and savory. It’s so good on its own that marinating it is almost ridiculous — in the best possible way. It will soften up a bit when you heat it, without losing its shape.
  • Fresh thyme pairs beautifully with goat cheese. You don’t need a lot to make an impact.
  • Here and in the dressing, use a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, since you’ll really taste it.
  • Use a good-quality standard baguette, and cut it on the bias to form nice, long slices. (Truth be told, I always choose a sourdough baguette if I can find one.) If you’ve got a really good eye, you may be able to tell that I actually cut these slices from a ciabatta roll. Baguette is best since the crumb structure is tighter and less prone to allowing drips — but using what you’ve got is great, too. To make this recipe gluten-free, use a GF loaf.
  • You’ll slice a clove of garlic in half and rub the cut sides all over one of the faces of each baguette slice. If you’ve never done this before, it’ll be a revelation.
  • There are plenty of salty elements in this salad, but I still like to sprinkle both the leaves and croutons with a bit of flaky sea salt (such as Maldon) as the final step. You can skip this if you’re more sensitive to salt.

For the dressing

ingredients in bowls
  • Kalamata olives are a great fit for this dish. They bring both vinegary tang and tons of umami to this recipe, and the aubergine color is gorgeous, too. You could use Niçoise olives instead if you prefer.
  • Anchovy is an umami powerhouse. Don’t be afraid of using it here. Similar to Caesar salad, it disappears into the dressing and provides a well-integrated savory element rather than standing out. To make this recipe vegetarian, you could leave out the anchovy and add a teaspoon of vegetarian “fish sauce,” or a teaspoon of white miso paste instead.
  • You’ll mash the garlic into a paste with the anchovy, then let that and the shallot marinate in the lemon juice and vinegar for a few minutes to neutralize their bite.
  • The perfect ratio of freshly squeezed lemon juice and red wine vinegar adds a remarkably complex spectrum of floral, fruity acidity.
  • Use flat-leaf parsley (also called Italian parsley). It has a more delicate texture and a milder flavor than its curly counterpart.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make this beautiful endive and escarole salad. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First you’ll smash the garlic and anchovies together, then let them marinate for a few minutes in the lemon juice and vinegar, along with the shallot. Then whisk in the rest of the dressing ingredients. You can do this well in advance if you like.
  2. Slice and toast the baguette, marinate the goat cheese, then spread some cheese on each toast and warm it up.
  3. Toss the greens with most of the dressing.
  4. Divide among bowls, top each with a crouton, and drizzle with remaining dressing. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

You can make the dressing up to a week in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge. I recommend adding the parsley shortly before serving time. Marinate the goat cheese up to a few days in advance and store the same way. You can slice and toast the baguette up to a day or two in advance and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Prep the greens on serving day, and toss and assemble the salad just before serving.

If you have leftover dressed greens, they should be hearty enough to keep in the fridge for about 24 hours.

More favorite winter salads

endive and escarole salad with goat cheese croutons and anchovy olive vinaigrette in a bowl with a fork

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endive and escarole salad with goat cheese croutons and anchovy olive vinaigrette in a bowl with a fork
4.73 from 11 votes

Endive and Escarole Salad with Olive Vinaigrette

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
This elegant salad features a trio of chicories — escarole, frisée, and Belgian endive. These gently bitter winter greens pack just the right punch, and they stand up to serious accompaniments like Kalamata olive vinaigrette and warm marinated goat cheese croutons. Makes a beautiful first course for a dinner party, or a light lunch on its own.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
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Ingredients 

For the dressing

  • 3 anchovy fillets, patted dry
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup (90 grams) pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

For the croutons

  • 4 ounces (113 grams) fresh goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves picked from their stems
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices baguette, cut on the bias
  • 1 garlic clove, cut in half lengthwise

For the salad

  • ½ small head escarole
  • 1 small head frisée
  • 1 Belgian endive
  • Flaky sea salt, optional

Instructions 

Make the dressing

  • Place the anchovies and garlic on a cutting board.
  • Finely chop them together, and then mash to a paste with the side of a chef's knife.
  • Transfer the paste to a bowl or a small glass jar with a lid.
  • Add the minced shallot, lemon juice, and vinegar. Stir well. Let it sit for five minutes.
  • Add the chopped olives, parsley, and pepper, and give it a good stir.
  • Pour in the olive oil. Close the jar and shake to combine, or whisk together thoroughly.

Make the croutons

  • Slice the goat cheese into four rounds and place them in a small, shallow bowl in a single layer. Don't worry if they're not gorgeous, since you'll be spreading them on the croutons later anyway.
  • Pour about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil over the cheese and sprinkle evenly with the thyme and pepper.
  • Set aside at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the elements.
  • Preheat oven or a toaster oven to 400°F with a rack in the center.
  • Rub the baguette slices with the cut sides of the garlic clove, and brush them with the remaining olive oil.
  • Bake in a small, shallow baking pan until lightly browned around the edges, about five minutes.
  • Let cool slightly. Then spread each crouton with one round of goat cheese and drizzle a bit of the marinade on top.
  • Just before serving, return to oven for about five minutes, until goat cheese is warm.

Make the salad

  • To prepare the greens: Tear the escarole and frisée into bite-size pieces. Trim the root end from the endive and slice leaves crosswise, or separate leaves and keep them intact if you like.
  • Place greens into a salad spinner, in batches if necessary, and wash and dry thoroughly.
  • Transfer greens to a large salad bowl.
  • Pour most of the dressing, reserving a little bit to drizzle over the croutons.
  • Toss well, to coat evenly.
  • Divide the salad among four shallow bowls and garnish each with a crouton.
  • Drizzle a little dressing over each crouton and sprinkle everything with a bit of flaky sea salt if you like.

Notes

  1. Anchovy is an umami powerhouse. Don't be afraid of using it here. Similar to Caesar salad, it disappears into the dressing and provides a well-integrated savory element rather than standing out. You'll mash the garlic into a paste with the anchovy, then let that and the shallot marinate in the lemon juice and vinegar for a few minutes to neutralize their bite.
  2. To make this recipe vegetarian, you could leave out the anchovy and add a teaspoon of vegetarian "fish sauce," or a teaspoon of white miso paste instead.
  3. Kalamata olives are a great fit for this dish. They bring both vinegary tang and tons of umami to this recipe, and the aubergine color is gorgeous, too. You could use Niçoise olives instead if you prefer.
  4. Use a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, since you'll really taste it.
  5. Use a good-quality standard baguette, and cut it on the bias to form nice, long slices. (Truth be told, I always choose a sourdough baguette if I can find one.) To make this recipe gluten-free, use a GF loaf.
  6. You could be excused for mistaking escarole for a head of lettuce — which is part of why it thrives in salads (as well as in cooked preparations). Its leaves are fairly broad and flat, with ruffled tops. It has a gentle bitterness that doesn't overwhelm. Treat it like lettuce, removing the core and tearing or chopping the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  7. Frisée is also called curly endive. Its leaves are frilly and festive and do a great job snagging dressing in their crannies. I personally prefer when it's combined with other greens, since the shape can get a little bit complicated to eat.
  8. Belgian endive has pale, oblong leaves that come together in small, torpedo-shaped heads, and it's the result of a true labor of love. Farmers harvest very young chicory plants and then re-plant the roots, growing them in total darkness to produce the almost pure-white endive. Separate the leaves. You can leave them whole for a pretty presentation or slice them if you prefer.
  9. There are plenty of salty elements in this salad, but I still like to sprinkle both the leaves and croutons with a bit of flaky sea salt (such as Maldon) as the final step. You can skip this if you're more sensitive to salt.
  10. You can make the dressing up to a week in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge. I recommend adding the parsley shortly before serving time. Marinate the goat cheese up to a few days in advance and store the same way. You can slice and toast the baguette up to a day or two in advance and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Prep the greens on serving day, and toss and assemble the salad just before serving.
  11. If you have leftover dressed greens, they should be hearty enough to keep in the fridge for about 24 hours.

Nutrition

Calories: 414kcal, Carbohydrates: 25.6g, Protein: 12.9g, Fat: 30.5g, Fiber: 6.6g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salads + Bowls
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.73 from 11 votes (11 ratings without comment)

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