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Belgian Endive

Updated on October 10, 2015

Lunch With A Crunch

Discovered in 1830, the Endive is rich in vitamins and minerals, especially folate and vitamins A and K and it is high in Fiber. The Belgian endive (also known as White Gold to Belgian restaurateurs) is low in sodium and one calorie per leaf. It is used in appetizers, soups, salads and entrees. Adds elegance and value to meats and other vegetables; whether braised, baked, sauteed, or sauced.

I never knew what to do with endives. Strange name, weird looking greenish white pod that could turn into bloomed chicory, if allowed to bloom. Also a common name for some types of Chicory, endives make a tasty salad when in full bloom, though today we shall use Belgian endives that are grown in the dark to prevent them from blooming.

Make the Change

From Carbs to Vitamin-Rich Veggies

My favorite flavors are tangy, bitter, salty and savory. It's no secret I could tuck away a batch of caramelized onions and mushrooms rendered in cheap white wine atop a mound of carbs. But WAIT. I also want my summer skinnies and I can't have both. So I decided to trade the mash and pasta for asparagus, rapini, spinach, lettuce, cabbage etc. When I gave endives a shot I was surprised by their firm, crisp yet smooth texture. Even after they're cooked their flavor and crunch remains.

Endive Lasagna

Warning

Do not forget to use a splash guard in the microwave while you cook the Lasagna Endivia or you will not like me any time soon.

Endives, Marinara Sauce & Mozzarella

Slice two endives in half lengthwise and remove the core. Arrange them in the bottom of a microwave-safe dish, ladle marinara tomato sauce over them and sprinkle the surface with grated mozzarella. Cover with a splash guard and cook the dish in the microwave for 5-8 minutes, until the sauce and mozzarella is bubbly and sticks to the bowl a bit.

Of course the oven would give it a crustier finish with a sprinkle of Italian flavored breadcrumbs, but it's just lunch and I'm in a hurry. The sauce can be anything from pizza sauce to Bolognese to Arrabbiata, but the plainer marinara sauce works for me since I strive to achieve a lasagna-like flavor.

After several trials I began to dice the endives into bite-size pieces (1/2 inch). It isn't as pretty, but it cooks more evenly. Also, the internal temperature of the microwave cooked endive is quite hot, so smaller bites may be easier and safer for some to eat.

CALORIES ~Not Many

2 endives = 30 Calories > 2/3 cup marinara sauce = 80-100 Calories > 1 ounce skim or part skim milk mozzarella = 50-70 (the size of a 9-volt battery)

Lickety-split Marinara Sauce Ingredients: A small can of peeled tomatoes, as much or as little spices as you like; salt, pepper, dried oregano and basil, dried garlic and/or onion powder. Or about a teaspoon of Italian style spice. Or easier yet, 1/2 cup of marinara sauce from a jar = 70 calories.

So the grand total for the whole yummy plate as seem above? 150 - 200 calories (it depends on the fat content of the cheese and of the sauce you use).

Chicken Au Gratin Endivia

I used to boil a cup of cabbage in 2 cups of water for 8-10 minutes, then add a sachet of Lipton Chicken Noodle soup for another five minutes. So one day I decided to endive-it-up. Instead of cabbage

I prepared my microwave-safe dish with two trimmed and chopped endives. [Use more if you prefer; simple adjust the amounts of the other ingredients as well as the cooking time].

I cooked them in the microwave in a cup of chicken stock and (my bad) an ounce of shredded mozzarella or cheddar. One might add a few morsels of cooked chicken for a heartier meal. The longer it cooks the more tender the endives become, yet since endives may be eaten uncooked (raw) it doesn't matter. 5-10 minutes, depending on the microwave.

Yes, I have done endives in a pot of Lipton Chicken Noodle soup. Who wouldn't? It turns out soupy and yummy, and with a generous sprinkle of grated Romano Pecorino cheese, it is divine!

Mushroom Endivia

Mushrooms and endives
Mushrooms and endives

Mushroom Endivia

2 endives, 2 shallots, 2 mushrooms, 2 slices cooked bacon > Mixed separately 1/2 can (5oz) of cream of mushroom soup with 1/3 cup (3oz) water > any amount of cubed Havarti, Gruyère or Swiss cheese (whatever floats your boat). I always add a sprinkle of Romano Pecorino.

In an oven-proof dish, microwave the trimmed and sliced endives in a little water on high for 5 minutes. Drain the water (as well,the bitterness, if any). Dress the endives with the above ingredients and cook for 2 more minutes. About 300 calories. You may omit the bacon. Or use ham or capocollo Calabrese. It's all good.

You can't see the endives for the mushroom sauce, but they are sweet and tender underneath that delicious and creamy topping.

Other Great Ideas

belgianendives.com
belgianendives.com

Check This Out

Several endives sliced in halves in an oven-proof casserole, smothered in your favorite sauce with a coat of cheese, may be braised in the oven for the whole family to enjoy. Once you start experimenting with endive, you'll find many uses for it in your menu. Dare I say endivia with canned tuna and mayo? Use the tuna water and add tons of freshly ground black pepper, chili pepper flakes and grated cheese. I've not yet tried endivia with a can of wild Alaska salmon and a dollop of tartar sauce, but the day will come.

The Greek Endivia

I have recently (Autumn 2015) made Greek Endivia (I will post a photo soon!) with sun dried tomatoes and oregano in oil sauce/dressing/marinade, (Kraft makes it and it's also available in calorie-wise at Walmart).

Here's how I did it

I cooked the endives with the sun dried tomato dressing/sauce (covered, of course). Then I added crumbled low-fat feta and Kalamata olives.

Note: You can buy Kalamata olives pitted or pitted and sliced. But if you truly love Kalamata olives, they should be whole, with the pit inside, and they should be Irini olives from Greece.

Now that I've probably bored or scared you with this > just use the olives you love best, along with the feta, or other cheese you love best, then put the finshed endivia dish into your preheated {takes 3 minutes} toaster oven on 425-450 F for 10 minutes.


© 2013 Carol Houle

Let us know what you think of this quick low calorie lunch idea. - Try it, you'll like it !

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    • profile image

      julieannbrady 3 years ago

      I would love to try Endive Lasagna as it looks and sounds quite tasty!

    • TransplantedSoul profile image

      TransplantedSoul 3 years ago

      Endive is one of my favourites. I lived in France for a few years and acquired a taste for it.

    • profile image

      Scott A McCray 4 years ago

      I had to pin this one - looks yummy!

    • TheWritingnag profile image

      Writing Nag 4 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Wow, the endive lasagna looks great!

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      Love endive. You have some very appealing photos they look great and make me hungry