EndiveBoats-e1384641675788With so many of your friends “going paleo”, “going keto” or reducing the sugars and starches in their diet, it can be a real challenge to find recipes for appetizers that are going to please everyone in the room. In my opinion, the answer is endive, a lettuce that makes the perfect scoop, cradle or roll for all kinds of healthy ingredients.  Furthermore, endive in itself is a very healthy vegetable with a hint of bitter flavor that contains anti-oxidant lactones, Vitamins A, C, K and folates and 1300 units of carotene. The high inulin and fiber content in escarole can also help reduce glucose and cholesterol levels, making them the ideal snack food base for those who have insulin resistance. Endive, also known as escarole, also contains calcium copper, iron, potassium, and magnesium.

To take advantage of the fact that the endive can naturally function little boats or scoops for food, make sure that you rinse fresh endive in cool running water and that you discard any discolored leaves. Cut off the rough woody stem base with a sharp knife and set them aside to fill with any of the healthy fillings below.

Each of the recipes below makes about 20-25 endive appetizers depending on how many leaves are on each endive head.

Almond, Ricotta and Raisin Endive Boats

Note that if anyone is allergic to nuts, then you can make this recipe without the almonds. However, almonds are a healthy source of protein, calcium, magnesium and healthy fats. Ricotta cheese is also high in proteins and supplies vitamins A, B, and zinc. Raisins are rich in iron, magnesium, calcium, and boron (which helps build healthy bones.) Chives contain allicin, which protects the heart and fights infection.

4 endive heads separated into leaves
½ cup almonds
2 tablespoons chopped chives
½ cup chopped golden raisins
½ cup unsalted roasted almonds
1/1/2 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the almonds, raisins, chives, oil, salt, and pepper.  Fill each endive leaf with the mixture.  Arrange on a platter and serve.

Cranberry, Walnut and Roquefort Cheese Endive Boats

Note that if you suspect that anyone is allergic to nuts that you can simply omit the walnuts from the recipe. Otherwise, note that walnuts are the ultimate brain food containing protein, healthy fats, Vitamin B-6, and magnesium. Cranberries are a very rich source of Vitamin A, C, and K, and the Roquefort cheese contains Vitamin K2, which is an important anti-inflammatory agent.

4 endive heads separated into leaves
½ cup walnuts
½ cup chopped dried cranberries
4 ounces of Roquefort cheese (approximately 1 wedge)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
¼ olive oil
salt and pepper

Gently toast the walnuts over low heat for about two minutes and chop them into small pieces. Mix the olive oil, honey, Greek yogurt, and lemon juice together in a blender until it is thick.  Add the endives, toasted walnuts and cranberries, toss and season with salt and pepper.  Top with crumbled Roquefort cheese.  Arrange on a platter and serve.

Goat Cheese, Butternut Squash and Honey Endive Boats

Frozen cubed butternut squash can be found in the freezer section of most grocery stores if you don’t want to cut up a raw squash. The squash is a good source of Vitamin A and the goat cheese is a good source of calcium, healthy fats, Vitamin D and protein.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

4 endive heads separated into leaves
Roasted cubes of butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon iodized salt
¼ tablespoon of pepper
Sprigs of rosemary
5 ounces of goat cheese
Honey for drizzling

Toss the diced squash with the olive oil rosemary, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and spread onto a baking sheet. Roast for about 14 minutes and discard the rosemary.

Layer the cubed butternut squash on the endive leaves and then crumble about a teaspoon of goat cheese on top.  Drizzle with the honey. Arrange on a large platter and serve.

Of course, the same ingredients could be served on crackers if you like, but endive boats are clearly a healthier alternative for those watching their weight.

For more information about healthy eating, nutrition, Toronto weight loss or to book a consultation, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website. You can find a full list of full services and products at http://www.pinewoodhealth.ca or call our Toronto Office at  (416)-656- 8100.  We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at info@pinewoodhealth.ca and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.

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