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The A-Z of Plantalicious Ingredients – E is for Endive

In my childhood, salad almost invariably consisted of: Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber and because we were dead sophisticated and adventurous – Onions!  I don’t think I even knew what endive was until I was an adult. Something as exotic as this had not made it to Coastal Essex.

I can recall my maternal grandfather used to use Camp Coffee that was made with Chicory, but i’d never seen a head of chicory or an endive or whatever it should be called.

I can remember the first time I saw “escarole” on a menu only to discover that too was a type endive.   In South Africa it is called Whitloof.  What a great name!

What I love about this vegetable is its unique bitter taste and crunch and that it keeps fresh for a long time in the fridge so it’s a good salad standby. I also often slice off the bottom stem and use individual leaves to dip into dips such as guacamole or hummus. The leaves are great for serving little veggie canapés.

Another option is to braise it – I love it sliced in half and slowly baked in the oven in some stock.  You can also cook it slowly it in a frying pan with a lid.

I also use the red endives just shredded up in a salad as they give such a lot of colour and texture.

A classic salad is endive with blue cheese and nuts – my plantalicious version is to use fake Parmesan and some roasted pecans, or a few dry roasted pine nuts – delicious with a creamy fat free dressing.

 

Here’s some nutritional highlights of Endive:

  • Endive is one of the very low calorie leafy vegetable. 100 g fresh leaves provide just 17 calories; however, it contributes about 8% of daily-required intake of fibre.
  • High inulin and fiber content in endive helps reduce glucose and LDL cholesterol levels in diabetes and obese patients.
  • Endive is enriched with good amount Vitamin A and ß-carotene. Both compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. Carotenes convert to vitamin A in the body. Furthermore, vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. In addition, it is also essential vitamin for good eye-sight.
  • It contains good amounts of many essential B-complex groups of vitamins such as folic acid, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and thiamin (vitamin B1), niacin (B3). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish and required for fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism.
  • Additionally, endive is a good source of minerals like manganese, copper, iron, and potassium. Manganese is used as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.Potassium is an important intracellular electrolyte helps counter the hypertension effects of sodium.

Source of nutritional info and more details:  http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/endive.html

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