An Endive & Chestnut Appetizer for Better Digestion

by Travis Metzger |

An Endive & Chestnut Appetizer for Better Digestion

This dish encloses the richness of chestnuts and acorn squash in fresh leaves of Belgian endive. It may look like a type of lettuce or cabbage, but Belgian endive is actually a cultivated form of chicory and belongs in the Asteraceae family. Although it is not typically found in China, most observers claim that Belgian endive clears heat, detoxifies, reduces swelling, and improves digestion. It offers relief for gallstones and gastritis.

In this dish, we use individual leaves of this “cooling” green to hold the filling, which also has enticing medical benefits. Chestnuts have a long history of medicinal use in China. The famous Tang dynasty poet Du Fu supposedly cured his foot ailment by eating them twice a day for several weeks.

Chestnuts, You Spleen, Your Stomach and Your Kidneys

According to Chinese medicine, chestnuts are “sweet and warming.” They nourish the Spleen and Stomach, which make them excellent for an upset stomach and loose stools. But they also support the Kidney, strengthen the tendons, and both move blood and staunch bleeding. These qualities can help relieve back, knee and joint pain and heal injuries and any condition with mild bleeding, like a nosebleed.

The “warming” qualities of the chestnut pair well with acorn squash, which like all squash are “cooling” in nature. Moreover, the vinaigrette further aids digestions, because it contains orange zest to move qi and mustard to break up phlegm.

Appetizer for healthy digestion

Endive Leaves with Roasted Chestnuts, Acorn Squash and a Cranberry-Orange Vinaigrette

Serving Size

About 5-7

Prep Time / Cook Time

20 minutes / 45 minutes


3 Belgian Endive

10 Chestnuts

1 Slice Acorn Squash (or about two ounces)

4 Ounces Orange Juice

½ C Fresh Cranberries

1 Tablespoon Whole Grain Mustard

1 Ounce Red Wine Vinegar

1 Ounce Olive Oil

Salt and pepper 


Separate and trim the endive leaves.

Small dice (brunoise) and lightly roast about two ounces of Acorn squash and set aside.

Score by dicing a large "X" into the flat side of every chestnut with a pair of knife, slicing through the shell and roast it at 375 degrees for around 35 minutes, take out from shell and papery skin and crumble into small pieces similar size of the squash.

Make vinaigrette by blending orange juice, cranberries, whole grain mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil and S&P together and adjust seasoning.

Assemble by placing a small amount of chestnuts, squash and vinaigrette into each endive leave.

Endive salad and Chinese medicine for better digestion

The recipes on The Way are intended as an East meets West look at food and its relationship to health and nutrition. Food is powerful, and every bite can either greatly benefit your system or effectively work against it. In Chinese Medicine, each grain, vegetable, meat, fruit, and spice has unique properties that can be harnessed to help us achieve and maintain balance in our bodies. Our recipes seek to incorporate some of the age-old principles of Chinese medicine into the culinary practices more familiar to the West.

Dining with Culinary Artist Travis Metzger is an unforgettable experience. You can taste the passion, creativity and culinary expertise in each of Travis’s one-of-kind recipes. Most would agree that Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs in their original form taste less than delectable, but Travis has proven that TCM for today can taste great with DAO Labs. Travis develops unique flavors for each DAO formula to complement the proprietary blend of herbs and their health benefits. After extensive training at the New England Culinary Institute, Travis ran some of the finest restaurants across the country before starting his own in Minneapolis. To survive the stresses and physical challenges of the kitchen heat, Travis focused on combining natural ingredients for healthy AND delicious eating and juicing.

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