Chicory and dandelions both belong to the same family and have a lot in common in terms of appearance and taste. You can divide both chicory and dandelions into the two parts of each plant that are most commonly used: the leaves or greens and the roots. Let’s compare to learn how much they differ and what they have in common.
Table of Contents
- How does chicory differ from dandelion?
- Can you use chicory in place of dandelion? And vice versa?
- When should you use chicory? And when should you use dandelion?
- Must-read related posts
How does chicory differ from dandelion?
Chicory greens and dandelion greens are nutritionally similar with the exception of a few nutrients, like vitamins A and K. Dandelion greens contain much more of these vitamins than chicory greens. Another nutritional difference has to do with the inulin content. Inulin is a soluble fiber that you will find in both chicory roots and dandelion roots. Chicory roots have more inulin than dandelion roots.
Chicory greens and roots are typically cultivated, while dandelion greens and roots mostly grow in the wild and are usually foraged.
Can you use chicory in place of dandelion? And vice versa?
The similarities between chicory and dandelion greens make them excellent substitutes for each other. But many cooks find chicory to be a superior option to dandelion leaves in raw applications.
Both chicory greens and dandelion greens have flavor profiles dominated by bitterness and can be used in many of the same applications as a result. You can use chicory greens in place of dandelion leaves in salads and you can saute or stir-fry both. Similarly, dandelion greens can be eaten raw in salads despite being more bitter.
–> Learn More: What’s A Good Chicory Substitute?
Note that chicory is the same plant as Belgian endive, except for differences in how the two plants are cultivated. Belgian endive is cultivated in a dark environment, which ensures pale leaves that are not as bitter as those of dandelion.
Both chicory and dandelion have similar taproots that you can use in similar ways. Neither chicory roots nor dandelions roots taste exactly like coffee; however, both can be used to make viable coffee substitutes. Both will provide bitterness with nutty notes and the dark appearance of coffee. As well, both are caffeine-free, so they make great coffee alternatives if you want to avoid the anxiety and sleep issues that can come from consuming caffeine. They are also not as bitter coffee and are sometimes added to it to reduce its bitterness.
The combination of the two may work better than either of them alone if what you are seeking is a coffee alternative. Though chicory coffee is more common (and very popular in New Orleans.)
When should you use chicory? And when should you use dandelion?
Use chicory greens for salads. Chicory greens are arguably the superior option for raw preparations, as they tend to be more tender and less bitter. You can use dandelion greens in salads as well, but you may want to opt for a sweeter or more acidic dressing to help tone down their bitterness.
Use chicory root in your coffee, especially you want the benefits from its high inulin content. You can use dandelion root in the same way, but while it does contain some inulin, it does not contain as much of it.
Both chicory and dandelion are believed to be beneficial for liver detoxification, so you can use them interchangeably for that purpose.