An easy, elegant starter for spring
Want to wow your guests without breaking a sweat? Try this full-flavored starter.
This salad looks (and tastes) like a dish that takes hours to prepare. No need to tell them that you whipped it up in under 15 minutes.
That’ll be our little secret.
Recipe: Belgian Endive Salad with Olives
Belgian endive has a slightly bitter flavor that combines well with salty olives.
For this recipe, you’ll need to cook the endive briefly. Then you can serve the salad warm or at room temperature. We usually put this dish together right before plating, but you could prepare it a few minutes ahead, then plate it when you’re ready to serve.
Endive doesn’t get much love. That’s too bad, because it looks great and tastes better. As a reminder, see our recipes for Braised Belgian Endive and Roast Belgian Endive.
There’s even a leafy, lettuce-like form of endive. We used it in our recipe for Salade Frisée aux Lardons.
We adapted this recipe from one we found in Jacques Pépin’s Table.
This recipe takes about 15 minutes to prepare. It serves 4 as a starter.
- 2 heads of Belgian endive (about 8 ounces total)
- 2 cloves garlic (or to taste)
- ½ cup water
- 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (the better the oil, the better the salad)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 to 3 pinches kosher salt, or to taste (can substitute regular table salt; see Notes)
- 4 to 6 grinds black pepper (or to taste)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons black or brown olives (see Notes)
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley or chives for garnish (optional)
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce (or more to taste)
- Clean the endive: Wash it under cold, running water. Remove any wilted outer leaves. Drain the endive, then cut it into quarters lengthwise.
- Peel the garlic, then mince it finely.
- Place the endive pieces and chopped garlic in a nonreactive saucepan (we recommend using stainless steel). Add the water, olive oil, and vinegar, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then cover the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pit the olives (if necessary) and chop them roughly (you may want to reserve some whole olives for garnish; see Notes). Rinse and dry the parsley or chives (if using) and chop them finely.
- Remove the cooking pan from the heat. Add the soy sauce and chopped olives, then stir the ingredients together.
- Plate the endive salad, dividing it among the serving plates. Sprinkle chopped parsley or chives on top as garnish, if you wish. Serve and enjoy.
- You can prepare this salad 10 to 20 minutes ahead, then serve it at room temperature if you prefer. If going that route, we’d add the soy sauce and olives in Step 5, then let everything sit in the cooking pan until ready to serve. The flavor won’t be quite as bright as it would if you prepare the salad right before serving, but it’ll still be very good.
- We like to leave some olives whole and add one or two to each plate as extra garnish.
- Kalamata olives are easy to find and are wonderful in this dish. Niçoise olives also work well.
- Olives range in color from green to black. Green ones are the least ripe, while black (or purple or deep brown, depending on variety) are the most ripe. Light brown and reddish olives are in between. In general, we find that ripe olives have a deeper, more subtle flavor.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If using regular table salt, start with about half as much as we recommend. But always season to your taste, not ours.
- And remember: Olives and soy sauce add quite a bit of salt to this dish. We prefer to under-season the dish slightly when cooking (Step 3), then add more salt at table if necessary.
- Soy sauce typically contains wheat. So use a gluten-free variety (or substitute tamari) if serving this dish to guests who are gluten intolerant.
- Belgian endive is available throughout the year, but its peak season is from September through May.
- Belgian endive is a form of chicory. In fact, if you go looking for “chicory” in Britain, you’ll probably find the veggie known as “Belgian endive” in the US.
“Yum,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “This salad is good to the bitter end.”
“Yup,” I said. “Olive it too.”
“Jeez,” said Mrs K R. “Are olive your jokes that bad?”
“Guess they’re the pits,” I said.
“Endive just about had enough,” said Mrs K R.
OK, maybe time to offer an olive branch.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Braised Belgian Endive
Roast Belgian Endive
Salade Frisée aux Lardons
Asparagus and Spinach Salad
Marinated Cauliflower Salad with Capers
Fennel and Pear Salad
French-Style Braised Lettuce and Peas
Italian Celery and Mushroom Salad
Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
Or check out the index for more
Yum! I've never had endive this way - it looks wonderful.
Hi Pam, it's a terrific salad! Tons of flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Oh Jacques Pépin, a classic. I am a big fan of endive, never though magnifique!
Hi Evelyne, endive is terrific! Love its flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
That's a creative way to use endive. In France it's a vegetable that everyone eats, from low to high cuisine. A dish of endives and ham covered with cheese was an entreé in a self-service cafeteria where we ate in Paris at very low prices, but it can also go upscale like your recipe.
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
I love endives and your salad looks great. A couple of years ago I saw how endives are grown near Sacramento.
I can't believe how easy this is to make! Under 15 minutes?! Count me in!
Hi Mae, that endive and ham gratin sounds wonderful! Gotta try that. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Gerlinde, where you live, bet Belgian endive is never out of season! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Ashley, we're real suckers for quick -- and tasty!! -- dishes like this. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I really must try this! I've never had endibe prepared like this but I love anything with salty olives. Olive it!
Hi Abbe, it's a fun way to enjoy endive. :-) Thanks for the comment.
How delightful, you are right too, when you see whole endive like this to buy you have to grab them quickly. What a wonderful pairing of flavours with the olives. Thank you and Mrs KR for a divine recipe.
Hi Merryn, divine is exactly the word for this! :-) Thanks for the comment.
A total newbie to me but very interesting: do like endive but have never eaten it like this and yet the prep is simple . . . like your use of that tiny bit of soy sauce to bring forth extra umami flavour . . .
Hi Eha, soy sauce and olives are a really interesting flavor combo. And both work really well with the endive. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Had endive probably once or twice, but did not look that good. This recipe is for me.
Hi Amira, sounds like you need to try this recipe! :-) Thanks for the comment.
We eats LOTS of belgian endive, but mostly in cold salads. This one is definitely a must try for me. So delicious and beautiful with olives.
Hi Angie, this really is a bit different, isn't it? And really good! Thanks for the comment.
Really ellegant dish, looks so pretty on a plate☺☺
Looking tasty KR:). I can’t say I’ve eaten this vegetable much; maybe not at all? Love your riffing with Mrs KR.
John, this recipe is so unique. We can't wait to give it a try. Bet the leaves and silky tender. The briny olives are a nice compliment. Take Care
Hi Natalia, looks pretty, tastes wonderful! :-) Thanks for the comment.
H Sherry, this really isn't that popular of a veggie -- too bad, because it has really interesting flavor. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Bobbi, the brief cooking makes the endive quite tender -- really nice. And great flavor! Thanks for the comment.
This is so pretty. I don't get the soy sauce. Is it just for the saltiness? I'm trying to taste soy sauce and Kalamata olives together and I need help with that!
Hi Mimi, the soy sauce really adds some nice depth of flavor. My reaction was similar to yours -- so I tried this with and without the soy sauce. The "with" version is definitely better. Something really interesting happens when you combine olives and soy sauce. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I never thought of cooking endives but it totally make sense. I love warm salad and the olives will make this salad so much more flavorful.
Hi Holly, warm salads are good! And even though it's spring, it's chilly here today, so this would be really satisfying. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Great starter John, I love the combination of the olives with the endives...super tasty warm salad...thanks for the recipe...
Have a great rest of the week!
Hi Juliana, this is a wonderful dish -- lovely flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
What a grand salad! Although endive is grown in the dark is has fabulous spring color. Pairing with olives really adds a pop of flavor to this recipe.
Hi Deb, the olives are SO good in this dish -- really pair nicely with the endive, and, surprisingly, the soy sauce. Thanks for the comment.
Perfect for me that is on a low carb diet. It looks yummy!
Hi Denise, it's perfectly yummy. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I'd love to give this elegant salad a try - it looks delicious and a bit different and I love endives.
Thanks for the tip on first cooking the endive. I would have just served in raw and probably gotten quite a surprise!
I really enjoy bitter flavors and endive is delicious -- the olives are a perfect match!
Hi Amalia, this IS different, isn't it? And really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Fran, yup, when you see the word "salad" you usually don't think the greens are going to be cooked. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Amy, don't the olives sound terrific in this dish? Neat flavor combo! Thanks for the comment.
Belgian endive is a way underrated veggie in my opinion. Your Belgian Endive and olive salad will help people gain a new culinary appreciation for endive. I'm certainly going to give it a go. I love chargrilled endive, so I know I'll love this.
HI Ron, we love grilling endive! Roasting is also good. And of course, it's good in this salad. :-) Thanks for the comment.
You are so right, the endive doesn't get enough love! And this is a good reminder for me to use it more often. I love it and this preparation sounds especially delicious, and indeed looks impressive. I always have Kalamata olives in the house. :-)
Hi Valentina, this really is a great dish -- tons of flavor and different from what most people know. Fun stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
We love endives! And I look forward to trying this recipe (without the garlic, of course). Definitely an under appreciated veggie!
Hi David, bet you'll really, really like this. :-) Enjoy! Ad thanks for the comment.
I have never tried endive but going through the ingredients list I believe it must have been delicious
Hi Taruna, endive is a wonderful veggie -- definitely worth a try. :-) Thanks for the comment.
How interesting that you cook the endive for this salad. Usually, you see the endive raw and crisp in salads. Did you prefer the texture of it cooked in this type of dish?
hehe--olive all of your jokes, too! I promise I won't tell anyone how easy this is to whip together. In fact, I'll probably fool someone else with this soon, too...
I've never had this particular salad before. It sounds delicious! Thanks for introducing me to it.
Hi Carolyn, the texture actually might be a bit better cooked than raw. Its flavor certainly is nice when cooked! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Ala, we just can't leave those puns alone! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Jeff, this really is a nice salad! Wonderful flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
John, this endive salad looks so elegant and delicious! Endives are definitely underutilized in my kitchen. I'm so curious about the soy and olive combo. Thanks for the inspo!
I haven't tried cooking endive like this before, I bet it does work really well with olives. Next time I get my hands on some I'll have to try it.
Belgian endive get a lot of love in our house, actually. Love them all sorts of ways, but especially in risotto. This looks really nice, too. Love those dishes that are really easy but are elegant enough for company. Pepin is a true genius.
HI Kelly, the soy sauce does sound weird, doesn't it? Totally works, though! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Caroline, although we often eat endive raw when we use it for salads, cooking it works really well too. Changes its flavor/texture somewhat -- almost a new veggie! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Frank, I've never tried endive in risotto -- sounds like a wonderful idea. Gotta try that. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Mini asked what I was thinking and I read your answer. A French recipe with Italian olives and Japanese soy sauce, I guess you could call this a global salad.
Hi Karen, global salad indeed! Love that. :-) Thanks for the comment.
You're right - endive doesn't get much love and it certainly hasn't gotten any from me. Not sure why. I guess I've never seen such a beautiful and tasty way to use it. Bobby and I both LOVE olives and salads, so this salad is right up our alley, especially now that warm weather is approaching. Thanks for sharing!
Hi MJ, the olive/endive combo is really good. Definitely worth a try. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Exquisita y fresca ensalada me encanta,abrazos.
Hi Rosita, doesn't this look great? Such a great dish! Thanks for the comment.
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