Vegetarianized Recipe: Barley Risotto Stuffed Endive


I was pleasantly surprised to learn recently that the cultivation of endive in the U.S. happened in the Sacramento region. Originally discovered by accident in the early 1800s when a Belgian farmer returned from war to find that his chicory roots had sprouted, more than one hundred years went by before a young chef in Sacramento committed to figuring out a way to grow it in the states. This appetizer recipe takes a different approach to stuffed endive boats by using a barley risotto mixture filled with creamy blue cheese and fresh spring flavors.

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Servings: 6 (about 4 boats each)
Time: About 15 minutes active; 45 minutes total

2 heads of endive (about 3/4 lb)
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup leeks, chopped
1/4 cup peas
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup pearled barley
2 cups vegetable stock
2 ounces creamy blue cheese

1. Separate the leaves from the endive heads. When the leaves get too small too stuff, chop them into a 1/2″ dice.

2. In a medium pan over medium heat, sauté leeks, peas, chopped endive, thyme and black pepper in extra virgin olive oil for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and lemon zest, and cook 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

3. Meanwhile in a small pot, toast barley over medium heat until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Add stock, stir and cook 10 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Divide the mixture among the endive leaves. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Writer Bio: Adrienne D. Capps loves food AND is a vegetarian! These things are not mutually exclusive in her world. She is passionate about eating, drinking, cooking, teaching, reading about food, and growing food. Her goal with her food blog,, is to open up the world of vegetarian cooking and eating to the veg-friendly and the veg-curious in an accessible way. She promises never to try to convert or make you feel guilty—just that eating less meat can be part of a healthy, fun, and above all, tasty lifestyle.