Escarole Soup As A Classic Comfort Food With Perfect Ingredients Blend

Escarole soup recipe is a culinary gem that effortlessly bridges the gap between hearty comfort food and delicate sophistication. Steeped in tradition, this luscious concoction has a tale to tell – one of rustic simplicity, interlaced with the stirring narrative of food as a unifying force.

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escarole soup recipe

Originating from the vibrant heart of Italy, Escarole Soup has traversed the globe, accruing a loyal following of food connoisseurs and home cooks alike. A beautiful symphony of fresh escarole, savory broth, and velvety cannellini beans, this soup is more than just a dish; it’s an experience.

Each spoonful is a testament to the remarkable versatility of humble ingredients. As we take a deep dive into the exciting world of Escarole Soup, we’ll explore its journey, appreciate its flavors, and uncover secrets to creating the perfect bowl.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, this exploration of Escarole Soup promises to rekindle your love for wholesome, home-cooked meals.

What Is Escarole Soup?

Escarole Soup is a traditional Italian soup made with escarole and other simple, wholesome ingredients. Escarole, a type of endive, is a leafy green vegetable that adds a mildly bitter flavor and a delightful crunch to the soup. It’s packed with vitamins and nutrients, making it a healthy addition to any meal.

The soup is typically prepared with a base of chicken or vegetable broth. It often includes cannellini beans (white kidney beans), garlic, onions, olive oil, and occasionally small pasta or pieces of Italian sausage. The escarole is added towards the end of the cooking process to keep its texture and vibrant green color.

A bowl of Escarole Soup is warming and comforting, perfect for a cold winter day, but it’s light enough to be enjoyed anytime. It’s a testament to the beauty of Italian cuisine, which often creates delightful flavors from simple, fresh ingredients.

History Of Escarole Soup 

Escarole Soup, known as “Minestra di Scarola” in Italian, has deep roots in Italian cuisine, particularly in the southern regions. Its history, much like many traditional dishes, is intertwined with the agricultural and socio-economic conditions of the time.

Escarole, a variety of endives with broad, slightly bitter leaves, is a cold-resistant vegetable, making it a staple in Mediterranean countries, particularly during winter. 

The hearty and nutrient-rich escarole was an affordable and accessible option for peasants and the working class, who often cultivated it in their own gardens.

The concept of making a soup or stew from available ingredients is as old as cooking itself, and it was especially common among the peasant class in Italy, who couldn’t afford to waste anything. 

So, combining escarole with basic pantry staples like beans, pasta, or leftover bread was a practical and nutritious way to create a satisfying meal. This is how Escarole Soup, as we know it, was likely born.

Over time, the soup gained popularity across different social classes and regions, and each added its own local touch, such as the addition of sausage in some variations. 

Today, Escarole Soup is celebrated not only for its humble origins but also for its comforting warmth and the unique, slightly bitter flavor profile brought by the star ingredient escarole.

Interesting Facts About Escarole Soup 

  • Multicultural Appeal: While escarole soup has its roots in Italy, it’s enjoyed in various forms worldwide, showcasing the vegetable’s adaptability across different cuisines.
  • Nutritional Powerhouse: The star ingredient, escarole, is a powerhouse of nutrition. It contains fiber, vitamins A, K, and C, and several minerals. It’s known to aid in digestion and boost immunity.
  • Resilient Ingredient: Escarole is a winter green that is frost-tolerant. This resilience makes it an excellent ingredient in cold climates and during winter months when other fresh produce is scarce.
  • A Soup for All Seasons: While typically considered a cold-weather soup due to escarole’s seasonal availability, the soup’s lightness makes it appropriate and enjoyable even in warmer weather.
  • Flexibility in Preparation: The recipe for escarole soup can be easily adapted to dietary restrictions. For instance, using vegetable broth instead of chicken makes the dish vegan-friendly.
  • Bitter to Better: The slightly bitter flavor of escarole, which may seem unusual to first-timers, is actually a special quality. It provides a pleasant contrast to the soup’s other savory elements.
  • Culinary Chameleon: Depending on the region in Italy, escarole soup can include other ingredients such as anchovies, capers, olives, and even raisins, demonstrating its versatility and adaptability.

What Makes Escarole Soup Special? 

Escarole Soup is special for several reasons:

  • Nutrient-Dense Ingredient: Escarole, the key ingredient in this soup, is a nutritional powerhouse rich in vitamins and minerals. It offers a unique, slightly bitter flavor, adding an interesting depth to the soup.
  • Simplicity: This soup showcases the beauty of simplicity. It utilizes only a handful of ingredients, yet it provides a complex and comforting flavor profile that is both satisfying and heartwarming.
  • Versatility: Escarole soup is incredibly versatile. It can be adapted to different dietary preferences – it can be made vegan or vegetarian, it can include meat or pasta, or it can be kept simple with just escarole and a good quality broth.
  • Culinary Tradition: It carries with it a rich culinary tradition from Southern Italy. Every bowl tells a story of rustic cooking and the art of creating something beautiful and delicious from humble, readily available ingredients.
  • Seasonal Delight: Escarole is a cold-weather crop, making this soup a special wintertime treat. However, its light and wholesome nature also allows for enjoyment across all seasons.
  • Comforting Nature: Much like other well-loved soups, a bowl of escarole soup provides comfort. It’s the kind of dish that warms you from the inside out, making it much more than just a meal.
escarole soup recipe


Olive Oil1 Tbsp
Extra-Lean Ground Beef1/2 lb
Escarole (chopped and washed)1 head
Garlic1 clove
Baby Bella Mushrooms (sliced)4 oz
Thyme1 tsp
Piment d’Espellette or Red Pepper FlakesA pinch
Mor-Sels or Sea SaltA pinch
Chicken Broth (homemade or low-sodium store-bought)8 cups
Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Rind1
Orzo1/2 cup
Fresh Ground Black PepperTo taste

Ingredient Tips

  • Escarole: Choose escarole with firm, crisp leaves without browning or wilting. Rinse the escarole thoroughly, as it often contains sand or dirt in its leaves. Also, remember that escarole wilts significantly when cooked, so you’ll need a good amount to achieve a hearty soup.
  • Garlic and Onion: For the best flavor, take your time sautéing the garlic and onion until they’re soft and golden. This can really elevate the flavor base of your soup.
  • Broth: If you can, opt for homemade chicken or vegetable broth for the most flavorful results. If using store-bought broth, try to choose low-sodium varieties so that you can control the salt level yourself.
  • Cannellini Beans: If using canned beans, rinse and drain them well to remove any excess salt or canning liquid. If using dried beans, remember to soak and cook them beforehand.
  • Pasta (optional): If you’re adding pasta to your soup, consider cooking it separately and adding it to individual bowls. This prevents the pasta from getting too soft or absorbing too much broth if there are leftovers.
  • Parmesan Cheese (optional): Consider using a Parmesan rind while cooking the soup for an added depth of flavor. It’s a trick often used in Italian cooking. Just be sure to remove it before serving!
  • Meat (optional): If adding meat, like Italian sausage or ground beef, make sure to brown it well before adding the other ingredients. This caramelization process adds a depth of flavor to the soup.
  • Seasoning: Lastly, don’t forget to season as you go! Layering your seasoning – a bit of salt when you’re sautéing the garlic and onions, a bit more when you add the broth – helps bring out the ingredients’ flavors.

Can You Vary The Escarole Soup With Other Ingredients?

Absolutely! One of the great things about Escarole Soup is its flexibility and adaptability. Here are some variations you can consider:

  • Protein: You can add proteins like shredded chicken, sausage, or even tofu for a vegetarian option.
  • Vegetables: Consider adding other vegetables like carrots, celery, or potatoes. They’ll add more body and nutritional value to the soup.
  • Pasta: Adding small pasta shapes like orzo, ditalini, or even tortellini can give the soup more substance and turn it into a full meal.
  • Spices and Herbs: Feel free to experiment with spices and herbs. For instance, a dash of red pepper flakes can add a bit of heat, while herbs like thyme or rosemary can lend a different flavor profile.
  • Cheese: Try using a Parmigiano-Reggiano rind while cooking the soup for extra depth of flavor. You can also sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top before serving.
  • Beans: If you’re not a fan of cannellini beans, feel free to swap them out for other types like chickpeas or kidney beans.
escarole soup recipe

Recipe Directions

Prepare The Soup Base

  • Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook until it is fully browned. Remove the cooked beef from the pot and set it aside.
  • In the same pot, add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are tender for about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the thyme, piment d’Espellette (red pepper flakes), and Mor-sels (sea salt).
  • Add the chicken broth to the pot and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind, if using.
  • Once the broth is simmering, add the chopped escarole to the pot. Allow the soup to simmer until the escarole is wilted and tender, about 10 minutes.

Prepare The Cream Topping

  • Mix a cup of heavy cream, a pinch of salt, and a tablespoon of lemon juice in a separate bowl.
  • Whisk the mixture until it starts to thicken slightly. This will be smaller than whipped cream but should have somebody to it.

Finish The Soup

  • Add the cooked ground beef back into the soup pot. Stir in the cooked orzo.
  • Season the soup with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

To Serve

  • Remove the Parmigiano-Reggiano rind, if used, before serving.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls, and drizzle each serving with some prepared cream topping.
  • Serve hot, and enjoy!
escarole soup recipe

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings


  • Vegetarian Version: Skip the ground beef and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth for a vegetarian version of the soup.
  • Vegan Version: Follow the vegetarian version and omit the Parmigiano-Reggiano rind or replace it with a piece of kombu or dried shiitake mushroom for umami.
  • Spicy Version: If you enjoy a kick in your soup, add extra red pepper flakes or a diced jalapeno pepper for some heat.
  • Seafood Version: Replace ground beef with some seafood like shrimp or calamari for a lighter variant.


  • Proteins: Chicken, turkey, or even tofu cubes could be a great addition to the soup, adding more protein and making it more substantial.
  • Vegetables: Add vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, or carrots for added nutrition and texture.
  • Beans: Adding a can of rinsed and drained white beans like cannellini or navy beans adds more fiber and makes the soup even heartier.


  • Cheese: A sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese adds a wonderful flavor and enhances the soup’s savory profile.
  • Herbs: Fresh herbs like parsley or basil can add color and freshness to the soup. Add them right before serving so they retain their vibrant color and flavor.
  • Croutons: Homemade croutons can add a pleasant crunch to the soup and make it more filling.
  • Drizzle of Oil: A drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil just before serving can add a lovely richness and depth of flavor to the soup.

Scaling The Recipe

  • Proportion: Always maintain the ratio of ingredients to each other. If you double the size of your recipe, you need to double every ingredient.
  • Cooking Time: As you increase the quantity, the cooking time may also need to increase, especially for the simmering stage. Keep a close eye on your dish to prevent over or undercooking.
  • Equipment Size: Make sure your cooking pot is large enough to handle the increased volume of ingredients.

What Is Used For Garnishing?

For Escarole Soup, some common garnishes might include:

  • Parmesan cheese: A sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese not only adds a nice visual touch; but also complements the flavors in the soup.
  • Fresh herbs: A sprig of fresh parsley or thyme can add a pop of color and a hint of fresh flavor.
  • Crusty bread: Although not a traditional garnish, a side of crusty bread can be used to dip into the soup, making for a heartier meal.
  • Cracked black pepper: A pinch of freshly cracked black pepper on top can add a nice contrast in color and an extra hint of flavor.
  • Olive oil: A drizzle of high-quality olive oil can add a beautiful shine and enhance the flavors in the soup.
  • Red pepper flakes: If you like a little heat, sprinkling red pepper flakes can add a pop of color and a spicy kick.

Can I Make Escarole Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot

A slow cooker and an Instant Pot can be great tools for making escarole soup, particularly because they allow the flavors to meld together over a longer cooking period.

Here’s a generalized guide on how to adapt your escarole soup recipe for these appliances:

Slow Cooker

  • Brown your ground beef in a skillet on the stove. Drain and transfer to your slow cooker.
  • Add the chopped onion, garlic, and mushrooms to the slow cooker. 
  • Add in the spices, including the thyme and pepper flakes, along with the broth.
  • Cook on low for about 6-8 hours.
  • Add the chopped escarole and the orzo pasta an hour before serving. Turn the heat up to high for this last hour to ensure the pasta cooks through.
  • Before serving, remove the cheese rind; if you used one, season with salt and black pepper, then ladle into bowls.

Instant Pot

  • Use the sauté function to brown your ground beef in the Instant Pot. Once browned, remove and set aside.
  • Still using the sauté function, add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms, cooking until softened.
  • Turn off the sauté function, add the spices and broth to the pot, followed by the browned beef.
  • Secure the lid and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for about 15 minutes.
  • After the pressure cooking cycle, carefully release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Once the pressure is fully released, remove the lid and turn on the sauté function again. Add the chopped escarole and orzo, letting the soup simmer until the pasta is cooked through (about 10 minutes).
  • Before serving, remove the cheese rind; if used, season with salt and black pepper, then ladle into bowls.

Can I use store bought broth or should I make my own?

You can use store-bought broth for your escarole soup or any other soup recipe. It’s a convenient option and can save a lot of time. When choosing a store-bought broth, look for low-sodium options to control your dish’s salt level.

However, if you have the time and ingredients, homemade broth can make your soup even more flavorful. Homemade broth allows you to control exactly what goes into it, so you can adjust the flavors to your liking and avoid any preservatives or additives that are often found in store-bought versions.

The choice between store-bought and homemade broth often comes down to a balance between convenience and flavor. Both options work well, depending on your specific needs and preferences.

Can I Use Different Types Of Seafood/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables Etc For The Escarole Soup

You can customize your escarole soup by adding different types of proteins or vegetables. Here are a few suggestions:


  • Seafood: Add some cooked shrimp or calamari to the soup towards the end of the cooking process. They cook quickly and will become tough if overcooked.
  • Fish: White fish like cod or haddock could also be used. Cut into chunks and add to the soup in the last 10-15 minutes of cooking time.
  • Chicken: Cooked chicken breast or thighs could be used instead of ground beef. You could either add pre-cooked chicken towards the end, or cook raw chicken in the soup. 


  • You can replace orzo with other small-sized pasta like ditalini, elbow macaroni, or small shells. 


  • Leafy greens: You can substitute escarole with other types of greens like kale, spinach, or chard. The cooking time may need to be adjusted based on the toughness of the greens.
  • Other vegetables: Feel free to add more veggies like carrots, celery, zucchini, bell peppers, or tomatoes. 
escarole soup recipe

Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making Soup

Prepping Tips

  • Plan Ahead: Go through the recipe beforehand and ensure you have all your ingredients on hand. Prepare and measure them out before you start cooking to make the process smoother.
  • Wash Vegetables: Rinse escarole thoroughly in cold water to get rid of any grit. As escarole leaves can sometimes trap dirt, cleaning them well is essential.
  • Chopping: Chop your ingredients into similar sizes to ensure even cooking. For the escarole, a rough chop is sufficient.

Cooking Time Tips

  • Don’t Rush: Allow the soup to simmer on low heat for the amount of time specified in the recipe. This slow cooking process helps the flavors meld together and fully develop.
  • Pasta: If your recipe includes pasta, add it towards the end of the cooking process to prevent it from becoming too soft and mushy.
  • Adding Greens: Add escarole towards the end of the cooking process. Overcooking can prevent it from losing its vibrant green color and becoming overly wilted.
escarole soup recipe

Nutritional Values

This wholesome escarole soup is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients. A single serving provides approximately 200 calories, balancing proteins from the lean ground beef and fiber from the escarole. 

It also offers a good dose of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, along with Calcium and Iron. Remember, however, that these values can vary based on your specific ingredients and quantities.

What Are The Total Calories In Escarole Soup?

The total calorie count in escarole soup can vary significantly based on the specific ingredients and quantities used. However, a rough estimate for a standard recipe might be around 200-250 calories per serving.

This estimate assumes that the soup contains lean meat, a limited amount of olive oil, and a broth base. Adding more olive oil, using higher-fat meat, or including ingredients like pasta or beans would increase the calorie count.

Dietary Restrictions For Escarole Soup

Escarole soup is quite versatile and can be modified to fit many dietary restrictions. However, as traditionally prepared, there are a few dietary restrictions to note:

  • Vegetarian/Vegan: Traditional escarole soup is not vegetarian or vegan; it usually contains chicken broth and might contain meat. However, it can easily be adapted using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and omitting the meat. 
  • Gluten-free: Escarole soup can be gluten-free, depending on the specific ingredients used. If it includes pasta or a thickener that contains gluten, those would need to be substituted with gluten-free alternatives.
  • Dairy-free: Traditional escarole soup is typically dairy-free unless it’s finished with a cheese garnish. 
  • Low-Carb/Keto: Escarole soup can be adapted to be low-carb or keto-friendly by omitting high-carb ingredients like pasta or beans.
  • Allergies: If someone is allergic to any of the ingredients in the soup (like garlic, onions, or certain types of meat), those would need to be omitted or substituted.

Health Benefits For Escarole Soup

Escarole soup is not only delicious but also carries several health benefits due to the nutritious ingredients involved. Here are some notable advantages:

  • Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Escarole, the star ingredient of this soup, is rich in vitamins A, K, and C, as well as folate. It also contains minerals like calcium and iron.
  • High in Fiber: Escarole is a good source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and can help to keep you feeling full.
  • Low in Calories: A bowl of escarole soup can be relatively low in calories, especially if prepared with lean meat or without meat altogether, making it a good choice for weight management.
  • Hydrating: Like other soups, escarole soup has high water content, which helps to keep you hydrated and can also aid digestion.
  • Immunity Boost: The presence of vitamin C in escarole and the onions used in the soup is beneficial for the immune system.
  • Bone Health: The high vitamin K content in escarole contributes to bone health.
  • Heart Health: The garlic used in the soup is known for its potential benefits in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, contributing to heart health.

Nutrition Table

escarole soup recipe

How Can I Make Escarole Soup Lower In Sodium?

There are several strategies to make escarole soup lower in sodium:

  • Broth: Use a low-sodium or no-sodium broth. Alternatively, you can make your own broth at home, with complete control over the amount of salt added.
  • Ground Beef: Choose fresh, lean ground beef rather than pre-packaged or processed versions which can contain added sodium.
  • Seasonings: Limit the added salt in the recipe. The sodium from the broth and the natural flavors of the other ingredients are sufficient.
  • Cheese: Be aware that Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is high in sodium. You could use less of it or skip it entirely.
  • Spices and Herbs: Increase the use of other spices and herbs such as thyme, garlic, and pepper to enhance the flavor without adding extra sodium.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh ingredients wherever possible. Canned or prepackaged foods often contain added sodium for preservation.

How Can I Make Escarole Soup Lower In Sugar?

Escarole soup is naturally low in sugar since it’s primarily a savory dish. The main sources of sugar are the natural sugars found in the vegetables (like onions and escarole) and any present in your store-bought broth.

  • Broth: Use a homemade broth or ensure the store-bought version you’re using is low in sugar. Some commercial broths can contain added sugars.
  • Vegetables: If you’re strictly monitoring sugar intake, be mindful of the vegetables used. While they are generally healthy, some vegetables like carrots or sweet onions can add a small amount of sugar.
  • Ingredients: Make sure none of your ingredients, like canned tomatoes if you use any, have added sugars.

How To Serve Side Dishes For Escarole Soup?

  • Crusty Bread: A loaf of fresh, crusty bread is perfect for dipping into the soup and sopping up the flavorful broth.
  • Salad: A light, refreshing salad would contrast nicely with the hearty soup. Consider a simple green salad or a tangy citrus salad.
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich: A grilled cheese sandwich will pair wonderfully if you want to make the meal more substantial. 
  • Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or sweet potatoes can add a hearty, healthy side option.
  • Quinoa or Rice: A side of quinoa or rice can help to make the soup more filling and can be a good option if you’re serving the soup as a main dish.
  • Sautéed Greens: If you’d like a side dish that mirrors the main ingredient in the soup, sautéed escarole or other greens with garlic could be a great option.

What Are Perfect Side Dishes To Complement Recipe (Sandwiches, Salads, First Course)

Pairing your escarole soup with a perfectly complementary side dish can make for a well-rounded and satisfying meal. Here are some recommendations:


  • Italian Grilled Cheese: Upgrade a classic grilled cheese sandwich with Italian cheeses and a bit of pesto for an herbaceous kick.
  • Chicken Pesto Panini: A panini stuffed with grilled chicken, pesto, and fresh mozzarella would complement the robust flavors of the soup.
  • Caprese Sandwich: Fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze create a light, refreshing counterpoint to the hearty soup.


  • Italian Chopped Salad: A robust salad with romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives, and a tangy vinaigrette could be a vibrant and crisp accompaniment.
  • Arugula Parmesan Salad: The peppery arugula and sharp Parmesan cheese would pair well with the soup.
  • Citrus and Fennel Salad: This salad offers a refreshing and slightly sweet contrast to the soup.

First Course

  • Bruschetta: Toasted slices of baguette topped with a mixture of ripe tomatoes, basil, and garlic offer a pleasing texture contrast.
  • Antipasto Platter: A selection of Italian cheeses, cured meats, olives, and marinated vegetables can make for a versatile and pleasing first course.
  • Stuffed Mushrooms: A plate of mushrooms stuffed with a mix of breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs would make for a hearty start to the meal.

How Long Can We Store Escarole Soup?

Escarole soup, when properly stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, can be kept for 3 to 4 days. If you want to store it longer, you can freeze the soup. In the freezer, it will generally stay at its best quality for about 4 to 6 months. 

However, the soup will remain safe to eat beyond that time. Always reheat the soup thoroughly before consuming it and discard any food that has developed an off smell, color, or texture.

Can I Make Escarole Soup  In Advance? 

You can make escarole soup in advance. It’s a great meal-prepping option as the flavors deepen and meld together over time.

After cooking, allow the soup to cool to room temperature. Then, transfer it into an airtight container and refrigerate. When you’re ready to serve, reheat the soup thoroughly on the stove or in the microwave until it’s piping hot.

If you plan to store the soup for more than a few days, consider freezing it. Just remember, if you’re adding pasta like orzo to your soup, it’s best to cook and add it separately when serving, as pasta can become mushy when reheated.

What Can We Do With Leftovers?

Leftover escarole soup is versatile and easily repurposed into a new meal. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Add Proteins: Toss in cooked chicken, shrimp, tofu, or beans for a heartier meal.
  • Pasta/Rice Addition: Stir in cooked pasta or rice to create a new texture and fill the soup.
  • Frittata: Use the leftover soup as a mix-in for a frittata. This can make for a delicious and hearty breakfast or brunch dish.
  • Stew Base: Use the soup as a base for a stew. Add in chunks of meat, more veggies, and some hearty grains like barley.
  • Bread Dip: Warm the soup and serve it with a crusty loaf of bread for dipping.

Specials Tools Needed & Equipment

Making escarole soup doesn’t require any special tools or equipment, but here are some kitchen essentials that will make the process easier and more efficient:

  • Large Soup Pot or Dutch Oven: This is essential for cooking the soup. A heavy-bottomed pot is ideal as it distributes heat evenly and prevents burning.
  • Sharp Knife: For chopping vegetables and escarole.
  • Cutting Board: A large one will give you plenty of space to work.
  • Wooden Spoon or Spatula: Useful for stirring the soup as it cooks.
  • Ladle: For serving the soup.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: To measure out your ingredients accurately.
  • Cheese Grater: If you’re using a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, you’ll need this for grating.
  • Garlic Press: While not absolutely necessary, a garlic press can make it easier to mince garlic.
  • Storage Containers: For storing any leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use A Different Type Of Greens Instead Of Escarole?

You can replace escarole with other leafy greens such as kale, spinach, or chard. Just remember that the flavor and texture will vary slightly.

Can This Escarole Soup Be Made Vegetarian Or Vegan?

Yes. For a vegetarian version, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth and omit the ground beef. Additionally, skip the Parmigiano-Reggiano rind for a vegan version or use a vegan cheese alternative.

Can I Freeze The Soup?

Yes, escarole soup freezes well. Just cool it completely before storing it in an airtight container and freezing it. You may need to add a little water to regain the original consistency when reheating.

I Don’t Like Spicy Food. Can I Skip The Red Pepper Flakes?

Absolutely. The red pepper flakes are for those who prefer a bit of heat in their soup. Feel free to omit them if you prefer.

Can I Add Other Vegetables To The Soup?

Yes, other vegetables like carrots, celery, or potatoes can also be added to the soup to increase its nutritional value and add different flavors and textures.

Let The Delicate Elegance Of Escarole Soup Transport You To A World Of Pure Bliss

Let The Delicate Elegance Of Escarole Soup Transport You To A World Of Pure Bliss

5 from 8 votes
Recipe by Hanna Barnes Course: Soup Recipes


Prep time


Cooking time





Escarole Soup combines fresh escarole leaves, hearty cannellini beans, and aromatic garlic in a savory broth. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil, add broth, and simmer. Introduce escarole and beans until tender.


  • Olive Oil

  • Extra-Lean Ground Beef

  • Escarole (chopped and washed)

  • Onion

  • Garlic

  • Baby Bella Mushrooms (sliced)

  • Thyme

  • Piment d’Espellette or Red Pepper Flakes

  • Mor-Sels or Sea Salt

  • Chicken Broth (homemade or low-sodium store-bought)

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Rind

  • Orzo

  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation: Chop and wash the head of the escarole. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Slice the baby bella mushrooms.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook until it is fully browned. Remove the cooked beef from the pot and set it aside.
  • In the same pot, add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are tender for about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the thyme, piment d’Espellette (red pepper flakes), and Mor-sels (sea salt).
  • Add the chicken broth to the pot and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind, if using.
  • Once the broth is simmering, add the chopped escarole to the pot. Allow the soup to simmer until the escarole is wilted and tender, about 10 minutes
  • Add the cooked ground beef back into the soup pot. Stir in the cooked orzo.
  • Season the soup with freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • Remove the Parmigiano-Reggiano rind, if used, before serving. Ladle the soup into bowls, serve hot, and enjoy!


  • Quality Ingredients: As with any dish, the quality of your ingredients will greatly impact the final result.Try to source fresh, high-quality ingredients where possible.
  • Escarole: This vegetable can be quite sandy. Wash it thoroughly in several changes of water to ensure it’s clean.
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano Rind: Don’t discard the rind of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese! It’s full of flavor and makes a great addition to soups.
  • Customize: Feel free to modify the recipe based on your preferences. You can add different vegetables, proteins, or spices to make your own soup.
  • Cooking Time: Be careful not to overcook the escarole; it should retain some of its characteristic slight crunch.
  • Storing and Reheating: This soup stores well in the fridge for up to four days and freezes well too. Reheat gently on the stove, adding a little water if necessary to thin the consistency.
  • Serving: This soup pairs beautifully with crusty bread, a side salad, or a sandwich for a complete meal.
Hanna Barnes

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