This traditional Italian recipe for Sauteed Chicory Greens, makes a simple quick and easy side dish. Cooked Greens sauteed in olive oil, garlic and a sprinkle of salt. The perfect healthy addition to any meal! And so good!
Living in Italy I have discovered so many vegetables that I never imagined I would eat and others that I didn’t even know existed. And naturally I was introduced to them by my Mother-in-law.
- Olive oil
- Hot pepper flakes – optional
What do Chicory Greens Taste like?
Some types can be bitter with a spicy taste, but once it is cooked it does mellow out. Some are tasty without a bitter taste that can be tossed in a salad. I like to mix it with some lettuce and rucola.
What is Chicory?
Chicory in Italian is called cicoria, which can be planted or is picked in the middle of patches of grass. There are many varieties of chicory greens and they are also known as Italian dandelion greens, escarole or curly endive. Radicchio is also considered a type of chicory but is often mistaken for cabbage or lettuce.
You really have to know what you are looking for when you are picking it in the open, because what you think may be chicory might not be, that being said, my mother-in-law has been known to search for cicoria in the pouring rain! Is it worth it? Well, there really is nothing like wild chicory.
Although later in life she just stuck to planting her own!
How to make Sauteed Chicory Greens
Wash leaves in cold water, cut in half (or leave whole), cook either in boiling water (unsalted) until tender but not mushy or steam, drain well.
In medium frying pan add the olive oil, garlic and hot pepper flakes if using, cook 1 minute.
Then add the chicory and salt toss gently until heated through. Serve immediately, with a squeeze of lemon if desired.
Other ingredients that go well with chicory are walnuts, anchovies, blue cheese or even fresh Pecorino cheese.
Are Chicory greens good for you?
Chicory has many health benefits, it is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including zinc, magnesium, calcium, manganese and iron. It is also used for loss of appetite, gut health, an upset stomach, liver and gallbladder problems, cancer and a rapid heartbeat. It can also be used to increase the production of urine and to protect the liver.
How to serve them
Chicory can be sauteed and served as a side dish, or added to a salad or even added to your favorite homemade soup. If you make your own broth you could add some along with the other vegetables. Or once sauteed toss with some pasta and sprinkle with some grated parmesan or pecorino.
Or do as the Italians and use the sauteed greens to make a sandwich, using a crusty Italian bread or bun and add your favorite cheese. It really does make a delicious sandwich!
How to store Chicory Greens
Raw greens should be stored in a plastic bag, they shouldn’t be washed until ready to eat. They will last 4-5 days in the fridge. Cooked greens should be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. It will last for up 2 days in the fridge.
How to freeze Chicory
It is best to cook the greens first, drain well, let cool completely then placed in a freezer bag or container. It will keep for up to 1 month in the freezer.
So if you ever come across these amazing greens in your local market or farmer’s market, pick up a bunch and sautee yourself some Chicory Greens. Buon Appetito!
More Italian Side Dishes
- Italian Roasted Zucchini and Potatoes
- Italian Fried Peppers
- Peas and Pancetta
- Simple Italian Green Beans
Italian Sauteed Chicory Greens
- 1 bunch chicory greens (1 pound /500-600 grams)
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼-½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1-2 dashes hot pepper flakes (optional)
- 2-3 slices fresh lemon
- I trim off about ¼-½ inch (1cm) off the stems before washing. Wash the leaves and drain, I like to leave them whole but you can cut them in half if you prefer. Cook the greens in either a large pot of boiling water (unsalted) or steam until tender but not mushy, drain well.
- In medium frying pan add the olive oil, garlic and hot pepper flakes if using, cook 1 minute, then add the chicory and salt toss gently until heated through 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately, with a squeeze of lemon if desired. Enjoy!
Updated from December 15, 2018.