Chicory Stir-fry with olive and anchovies

Stir-fry chicory is a staple side dish in Italy. It is quick, easy and healthy!

If you are you looking for a simple yet tasty side dish, this stir-fry chicory recipe will make you very happy.
This one is not only quick and yummy but also, at least here in Italy, very cheap. Chicory is a bitter leafy green vegetable, very often the most praised is the wild variety. Farmed chicory is a bit milder but still very good. In a lot of restaurants throughout Italy chicory stir-fry is a very common side dish, goes very well alongside meat stews or steak. In my opinion the best match is with a grilled Italian sausage and some tasty wood oven baked sourdough bread.

wild chicory

I’ve learned recently that in some parts of the world chicory is only considered as a weed and no one would eat it. However, if you find it in your farmers market I hope you will give this leafy green a try.

Chicory: health benefits

Chicory is not only a cheap and tasty vegetable, but it is also very very healthy. Chicory helps draining the liver and aids digestion. It is also helpful for anemia, arthritis and helps with lowering blood sugar. It is rich in inulin, cyclorin, choline, and tannin (the highest concentration are in the root).
A very good source of fibers and also act as prebiotics.

Chicory root: purifying syrup

Chicory root powder is also used to make coffee. You could also use the powder to make a purifying syrup:
– Add a two spoons of powder to 1lt of boiling water and let it steep for 10-15min (this tea is great to lower blood sugar).
– Add 150gr of sugar and boil until it reaches a syrupy consistency.
Keep it in a dry and cool spot. You can use the syrup to make tea or on top of pancakes, ice cream or yogurt.


Stir-fry chicory


  • 500gr fresh chicory
  • 3 tablespoons of olives
  • 6-8 preserved anchovies fillet (if you are vegetarian or vegan simply skip it)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • chili pepper to taste
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp oil


Step 1
First wash thoroughly the chicory, then cut the brown stem ends. If you want to remove the excess bitterness, you can boil it for 5 minutes in water then drain and rinse, otherwise go straight to step 2.

TIP: the cooking water, once cooled down, can be used to irrigate the plants in your vases and garden, or drank as a cleansing tea.

Step 2
In a pan put the chopped anchovies, garlic, olives and chili pepper with the oil. Let it cook for a minute then add the chicory, chopped. Add salt to taste and stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes.


You can make a salty tart out of this stir-fry chicory: buy a  shortcrust pastry (or make it at home using the recipe I’ve made for the pumpkin and porcini baskets), and pop it in the oven following the direction on the package and it’s ready! You can also add mozzarella or other melting cheese, amazing for a party or a buffet.

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