Mom’s Sauteed Escarole

Mom’s Sauteed Escarole is flavored with only 5 ingredients (not counting salt and pepper) and makes a yummy vegetable side dish in 15 minutes to compliment any meat or seafood entree.  Sauteed in one skillet with garlic, olive oil, kalamata olives, and capers, mom’s sauteed escarole becomes a delicious and seasonal dish that goes with practically anything!



What is Escarole?

Escarole is a member of chicory family and it’s usually sold in bunches that look like a head of lettuce, but with wide, wavy-edged leaves.  The outer leaves tend to be darker in color and more bitter, while the inner leaves are more tender and sweeter in flavor.

QUICK TIP: When looking for escarole at the supermarket, a large leafy green vegetable, similar to the size of big romaine lettuce. If you don’t see it in the produce section, ask someone.

Reasons To Try This Leafy Green…

  • Escarole, as we know it is widely used in soups and salads but when you simply saute it with a few extra ingredients as our mom prepared it, this vegetable becomes very flavorful and most delicious!
  • This healthy green vegetable is not only rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but it’s relatively cheap and easy to prepare. 
  • Like Swiss chard, escarole cooks up quickly and in a matter of minutes until it wilts and becomes tender. 
  • Not only does it cook quickly, but it also reheats well too.

How much do we need?

Escarole wilts like spinach. Keep in mind, as a side, one head of escarole sauteed will make enough servings for 2 people. 

Mom's Best Sauteed Escarole by

How To Clean and Prepare Escarole?

  • Escarole is a vegetable that needs rinsing. It is usually very sandy and gritty and needs to be rinsed a few times before it’s ready to use.
  • Just cut off the back end, and discard. Chop it, then submerge it in a large bowl of cold water. QUICK TIP: Submerge chopped escarole in a bowl of water, and sprinkle some salt over it, which helps pull down all the “gritty sand” to the bottom of the bowl. This helps speed up the rinsing process.
  • Then let it drain in a colander.
How to Clean and chop, and rinse under running water in a large pot. by

How to Cook Escarole?

There are a few ways to cook escarole. You can bake it, or add it to soups, like our Tuscan escarole with beans soup, and saute it.

For this recipe, it only takes a few minutes to cook it in a large skillet and on the stovetop. (!Full recipe card below!)

Cooking Tips for Mom’s Sauteed Escarole…

  • Keep in mind, that escarole usually wilts to practically nothing, so don’t be afraid to add mounds of it into the pan while cooking. 
  • While it’s cooking, toss in some kalamata olives and capers into the pan and continue to cook for a few minutes more until the escarole is tender. 
  • Then taste and season with salt and pepper and it’s done!
  • Also, with this recipe for mom’s sauteed escarole, it’s a matter of preference, you can add as much or as little olives and capers to her recipe.

To Saute in a Skillet…

This recipe for mom’s sauteed escarole is straightforward and fast.

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add the garlic. Add the chopped escarole. Cook and stir as needed until it wilts, add in additional escarole until all of it is gone.

Mom's Best Sauteed Escarole by
Mom's Best Sauteed Escarole by

2. Stir until all the escarole is wilted and simmer for a few minutes. Add in the additional ingredients, taste, stir, and turn off the heat. Allow the cooked escarole to stay in the skillet (covered) to keep warm.

Mom's Best Sauteed Escarole by


Options for Serving Sauteed Escarole:

This dish goes great with fried foods as a side dish, and it even pairs well with some of these main dishes:

Delicious, our Mom’s Sauteed Escarole makes enough for a family of 4 or larger. 

You can be adventurous and try serving it on flatbread, or serve it as an appetizer on crusty Italian bread like a bruschetta.

If you haven’t had sauteed escarole, you’ll have to try it!


Yield: 5 to 7 servings

Mom's Best Sauteed Escarole

Mom's Best Sauteed Escarole by

Mom's Best Sauteed Escarole is deliciously tender and flavored with garlic, olive oil, kalamata olives, and capers. It is a perfect side dish to compliment any meat or fish entree.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 2 or 3 heads of escarole, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, and extra
  • 4 to 6 large garlic cloves
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. kalamata olives (pitted)
  • 1 Tbsp. capers


  1. Rinse and wash escarole a few times until the water comes out clean. Drain in a colander. Place it nearby the stove where you will be sauteing it.
  2. In a large deep skillet, heat olive oil and add in the garlic. Allow the garlic to only fragrant the olive, about 30 seconds, no need to brown the garlic.
  3. Add in escarole (work with adding in few batches at a time), using kitchen tongs or two spoons to turn it as it sautes in the pan.
  4. Each time the escarole wilts toss in a few olives and capers, salt, and fresh cracked pepper on top. If you need to add additional olive oil, drizzle a small amount over the escarole.
  5. Allow the escarole to saute for another 2 to 4 minutes, until its tender. Transfer to a serving platter nearby. Cover the platter with foil wrap to keep escarole warm, until all the escarole has been sauteed and transferred to the platter.
  6. Serve warm.

Nutrition Information:


6 servings

Serving Size:

1 serving

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 161Total Fat: 6.1gCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 3.1gSugar: .7gProtein: 5.1g

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Finally, More Tasty VEGETABLE SIDE Dishes!!

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Mom's Sauteed Escarole by


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xo anna and liz

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  1. Think I’ll have this with pasta, maybe add a little white wine or chicken broth if it’s too dry, and voila!, no longer a side dish

    1. Ooo that sounds SO good! I’m with you, pasta always tastes good with all veggies sauteed with wine or broth! Thanks for the idea Jim!

  2. So happy to hear that Sandra! And we agree with you that sometimes it’s a little tough in its raw state. Please let us know when you finally try our recipe! Have a great day!

  3. I love all vegetable recipes and this one is new to me. I think it’s considered a salad over here and I never buy it because it’s a little tough in its raw state. I will definitely be trying this cooked version!