As the season slowly turns to fall here in the Old Line State, autumn vegetables will be making their way into CSA boxes and produce markets. When they do, one item Marylanders should be on the lookout for is escarole. It could help those in search of a healthy life.
Vitamin, fiber and mineral rich, this leafy green member of the daisy family belongs with vegetables in the chicory genus. It characteristically has slightly bitter, broad, curly, light green leaves and is sometimes marketed under the name scarola or Bavarian endive. If picked fresh and stored properly in the fridge, it should remain edible for at least three days.
There are various ways to prepare escarole and lead a healthy life. Some nutrition aware chefs like to simply wash the leaves and serve them up raw in a tasty, fall salad. They say it pairs well with a slightly sweet vinaigrette dressing, soft cheeses and autumn nuts. It’s also not uncommon for raw vegetable fans to include pureed escarole in juices and smoothies.
Other Maryland chefs prefer to cook the escarole. Boiling and sautéing are the two most common methods of preparation. However, there are those that like to bake the escarole with additional ingredients as part of a vegetable casserole or toss the leaves into homemade or semi-homemade soups.
One of the easiest semi-homemade escarole soups to make and incorporate into a healthy life requires just two additional ingredients. They are a can of no or low sodium chicken stock and a package of fresh tortellini. Just cook the escarole and tortellini in the chicken broth and viola!, semi-homemade soup will be on the menu.
We know what you’re thinking right about now, “So how healthy is the soup?” On average, a serving of low sodium chicken broth is 10 calories and contains around 100 mg of potassium. A serving size of three cheese tortellini, on the other hand, has approximately 330 calories as well as healthy amounts of calcium and iron. As for the escarole, a ½ cup serving typically contains 4 calories and a whole head has roughly 87. It also contains vitamin A, folate and vitamin K.
To learn more about escarole, other foods and activities that may help you live a healthy life, please contact us at Merritt Athletic Clubs today.