Escarole and Spinach are two tasty, healthy and nutritious leafy green vegetables that are often confused. They are great additions to dishes, soups, salads, and more. Similarly, they are nutritional powerhouses that are almost identical. But which one is better?
Let’s compare these two powerhouse ingredients to help you decide which is best for your diet!
Escarole vs. Spinach: Overview
Escarole is a chicory-like vegetable that has been cultivated in Italy for centuries. It’s a chicory family member, which includes beets, endives, and escaroles. The leaves are long, thin, and taper to a point at both ends. They can be curly or smooth and have an almost shredded appearance.
In most cases, it is usually cooked alongside other veges and, occasionally, eaten raw. Basically, it has a slightly bitter flavor that can make it difficult to eat at first. But, once you get used to it, you’ll find that it adds another dimension to your meal—and that’s not all! It’s also packed with vitamins and minerals like folate and iron.
Escarole is often used in Italian cooking because it adds a bitter note to dishes without overpowering them with its flavor as other vegetables might. It’s also great for using older artichokes after they’ve gone bad or are past their prime.
It is often sold in the winter months at farmers’ markets and grocery stores because it’s one of the few salad greens that can be grown in cold weather.
Health Benefits of Escarole
There is a lot of debate about the health benefits of escarole. Some say it is a great addition to your diet, while others think it is not worth the trouble. Here are some reasons why you should include escarole in your diet:
- Escarole contains vitamins A and C, which are important for your health
The vitamin A content in escarole helps with cell growth and repair. Vitamin C is essential for good immune system function and for absorbing iron from food.
- Promotes healthy heart function:
Escaroles are high in dietary fiber and contain heart-protecting nutrients like potassium, magnesium, zinc, and folate.
- It helps control blood sugar levels.
The insoluble fiber in escarole helps control blood sugar levels by slowing digestion and increasing fullness (although this effect may be only temporary). This makes escarole an ideal food for people who want to lose weight or prevent obesity because it slows down digestion without making you feel hungry longer than normal foods.
- Protects against cancer:
It contains a high amount of antioxidants like beta-carotene (Vitamin A), which works towards preventing cancer cells from forming or spreading inside your body. Escarole also contains antioxidant lycopene, which protects against cancer cells from forming or spreading inside your body.
Spinach is one of the most popular vegetables in the world, and it’s easy to see why. It has a mild flavor that doesn’t overwhelm other ingredients and is delicious in both savory and sweet dishes.
It is native to temperate regions of Europe and Asia but has been cultivated over much of the world as a leaf vegetable since antiquity. In North America, it is commonly consumed as a vegetable regardless of season, although there are differences between growing seasons.
Spinach is prevalent in many cultures for its nutritional benefits. In addition to being high in vitamins A and C, it also contains folate and minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, and iron, which are essential in normal body functioning.
More than just a leafy green, spinach is also beneficial for its versatility. It can be used as an ingredient in salads, sauces, soups, and stews.
Health Benefits of Spinach
Spinach is a low-calorie vegetable rich in Vitamin A, C, and K. Spinach also contains folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
The health benefits of spinach include:
- Boosting immunity
Spinach contains vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system by keeping your body’s cells healthy and strong. Vitamin C also helps build collagen, which helps keep skin soft and supple.
Similarly, spinach contains antioxidants, which help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules created during normal cellular functions, but they can also be made by pollution, cigarette smoke, and environmental toxins. These free radicals can wreak havoc on your cells and contribute to several diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and chronic inflammation.
- Protecting eyesight
Spinach contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which help prevent macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness among older people. Eating spinach regularly can help protect your eyesight from this common eye disorder caused by the buildup of free radicals in the body’s cells.
- Lowering cholesterol levels
Spinach contains phytosterols which have been shown to lower cholesterol levels in blood tests. Phytosterols are plant-based chemicals found in many foods, including nuts, seeds, grains such as oats, barley, wheat bran, and fruits such as avocados.
Ultimately, spinach also contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, all important minerals our bodies need. These minerals help keep bones healthy and strong while they support normal nerve conduction throughout our bodies.
How Escarole and Spinach Compare
Although they both grow up in the same family, escarole and spinach are very different from each other. Escarole is a member of the chicory family, while spinach is not. Both are leafy greens that are grown for their leaves and stems. However, spinach has a stronger flavor than does escarole.
Escarole has a more bitter taste than does spinach, but both can be used interchangeably as a salad ingredient. In fact, some people prefer escarole over spinach because it has less sugar content than does spinach.
Similarly, escarole and spinach have almost similar nutritional values regarding fat content and carbohydrates but have different amounts of vitamins and minerals. Spinach has higher amounts of vitamins, fiber, and minerals than its counterpart.
Ultimately, the choice between the two is completely yours. Both of these ingredients are nutritious and healthy. If you enjoy spinach but want to try something new or expand your culinary skills further, spaghetti with spinach could be an ideal recipe for you.
In this recipe, spinach and marinara sauce blend to create delicious comfort food that will impress your family and friends—even if they aren’t quite sure what escarole is! But if you’re looking for a widely-available vegetable that you can easily substitute in most recipes, you might want to consider escarole.
It’s reasonably priced, easy to find in grocery stores year-round, and it works well in vegetable soups and many pasta recipes.