Chicory root is a unique and flavorful ingredient that has been used in cooking for centuries. Chicory root can be enjoyed as a roasted coffee-like beverage, as an addition to salads or soups, or even as a part of a savory meal. What Does Chicory Taste Like?
Whether you’re looking for an interesting flavor to add to your recipes or just want to learn more about this unique ingredient, we will explore the taste of chicory root and how it can be used in cooking.
Chicory, or Chicorium intybus var. sativum, is a flowering plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family. This family is also known as the dandelion family.
Chicory is native to Asia and Europe but is now grown in other parts of the world, including the US.
The perennial plant grows up to 5 feet and has leaves reminiscent of dandelion leaves. It usually bears bright blue flowers. For this reason, chicory is also called blue dandelion or a blue daisy.
The chicory plant is a common forage crop. People grow it to feed grazing cattle and other hungry farm animals like chickens.
Aside from being an animal food source, people grow chicory for its flowers, leaves, and roots.
Raw chicory flowers and leaves are great additions to salads. The leaves are also great when cooked – you can sautee, boil, and bake them.
Sure, the leaves and flowers make the chicory plant very useful in the kitchen. But, what takes the cake are the roots.
Chicory root can be enjoyed as a roasted coffee-like beverage, as an addition to salads or soups, or even as a part of a savory meal.
As the name implies, the chicory root is the tap root of the chicory plant. These roots grow deep into the soil, enabling the plant to absorb many nutrients. This ability is the reason why chicory is a great forage crop.
The most notable use of chicory root relates to coffee. Because of this, it earned the nickname “coffee weed.”
When you dry, roast, and grind chicory leaves, you’ll end up with a powder that looks like ground coffee. The best part? It is naturally caffeine-free!
As a coffee substitute, adding chicory to dishes and baked goods will create a coffee flavor.
Or, you can make a drink with it alone or combine it with regular coffee grounds. This coffee recipe is popular in New Orleans, so much so that people call it “New Orleans Coffee.”
The use of chicory as a coffee substitute or additive originated in France in the 19th century. At that time, trading goods between France and England was not allowed.
Because of this, French people had to make do with their limited coffee supply. People turned to add chicory to their coffee mix to stretch whatever they had left.
Raw chicory root has a bitter taste. But, once you roast these roots, the bitterness mellows, enabling the other flavors to shine.
Roasted root chicory boasts intense earthy, woody, and nutty flavors. It also hints at a licorice taste on top of a slightly sweet flavor.
Chicory is mainly bitter, so it shares a similar flavor profile with coffee. For this reason, it makes an excellent coffee substitute.
The biggest distinction of chicory from coffee is that it is not as acidic and does not have caffeine.
Chicory coffee can mean two things. First, it can be chicory alone as a coffee alternative. Second, chicory coffee can be chicory plus coffee.
Brewed and roasted ground chicory root has a flavor very close to coffee. It is mildly bitter and earthy. Remember, though, that it does not come from the same plant as coffee, so it is not an exact flavor match.
That said, if someone gave you chicory coffee and passed it as regular coffee, you’d definitely know. The flavor profile is close, though; if you love coffee, you’ll also love it.
The resulting beverage is extra delicious when you combine chicory root and coffee. This chicory coffee tastes like regular coffee but richer and more indulgent. The earthy flavor of chicory complements coffee perfectly, resulting in a well-balanced drink.
Like brewing coffee beans, making chicory coffee from scratch is a great experience.
Here are the steps to follow:
Aside from giving you a coffee-like drink without caffeine, chicory offers some health benefits.
For starters, it has low calories and low sodium. It is fat-free and cholesterol-free as well.
Chicory is a good source of potassium and calcium. It also has folic acid and phosphorus.
It is high in fiber and has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-boosting properties, which make it an excellent choice for those looking to improve their overall health.
Additionally, chicory root contains a compound called inulin, which helps to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as support digestive health.
Chicory root is known to be an appetite suppressant, so it might help with weight loss goals. Furthermore, chicory root has been linked to improved liver function and detox.
Chicory root also contains prebiotics which can help to promote healthy gut bacteria, as well as a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
Lastly, chicory contains antioxidants. When taken in moderation, chicory root can be a healthy addition to your diet.
Both. Chicory is mainly bitter, but a subtle sweetness comes with it. So, you can say that it is bittersweet. After all, inulin, the dietary fiber that makes up more than 50% of root chicory, is naturally sweet.
Yes, there are hints of the licorice taste in chicory. To those with sensitive palates, the licorice taste becomes more noticeable. For this reason, chicory coffee is not everyone’s favorite and is more of an acquired taste.
No, chicory does not taste like aniseed. Aniseed has a distinct licorice-like flavor and is often used to add sweetness to dishes, while chicory is more earthy and bitter in flavor.
It depends. If you want to avoid caffeine, a chicory coffee drink is better. But, for people who need a caffeine boost, regular coffee is better option.
Chicory is an herb that many people know about due to its dainty blue flowers that grow along the roadsides. More than being pretty, chicory is a useful ingredient in the kitchen. For instance, chicory is a popular coffee alternative. People also use it as an additive to make flavored coffees.
So, what does chicory taste like? It tastes bittersweet. Chicory is also earthy and nutty. And when you roast and grind it, you’ll end up with a coffee-like powder. Ground chicory root even has the same aroma as the beloved coffee beans!
That said, drinking chicory coffee is worth trying if you want to reduce caffeine intake.