Italian Radicchio Salad Recipe with Parmesan & Olives

This delicious Italian Radicchio Salad recipe features a creamy lemon-vinaigrette, buttery calvestrano olives, tasty breadcrumbs and nutty parmesan cheese. Plus, a special tip ensures that your radicchio won’t be overly bitter!

I have a thing for bitter. Almost any day of the week, I’ll take a Campari Spritz over its sweeter cousin, the Aperol Spritz. And I’m utterly obsessed with radicchio, a variety of chicory that resembles a small red cabbage, but has a delightful bitter note.

I’ve been making this delicious salad at least once a week lately. I especially love it right now since radicchio keeps for an extremely long time in the fridge. It’s one of my favorite healthy recipes for meal prep.

And while I’m all for classic salad recipes like this Caesar Salad, Wedge Salad or Arugula Salad, sometimes I feel like the dinner table just needs a little extra excitement. And this colorful salad is where it’s at!

This is my favorite salad spinner. I love that it collapses to store flat in my cupboard. 

Ingredients Needed

  • Radicchio
  • Bread
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Castelvetrano Olives (or any green olives)
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Garlic
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sugar, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper
Ingredients for radicchio salad laid out on tray.

How to Make It

  • Core and chop the radicchio heads into bite-size pieces.
  • Add to a large bowl and soak in ice water.
  • Make the breadcrumbs – bake bread cubes in oven until golden then process to coarse crumbs.
  • Make the dressing – combine ingredients in a small mason jar and shake well to combine.
  • Drain radicchio and toss with dressing, olives, parmesan and breadcrumbs.
  • Enjoy!

Recipe Variations

  • Swap out the lemon juice for orange juice, sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar to add a different flavor profile.
  • Swap out the toasted breadcrumbs for some homemade croutons.
  • Swap out the radicchio for any favorite bitter greens – belgian endive and arugula are great options! You could even try swapping in some shredded brussels sprouts, similar to my Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad.
  • For added crunch, add in some toasted pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sliced sweet apple, or pomegranate seeds.
  • Try adding in some orange segments or blood oranges for added color and tang.
  • In place of the parmesan, try adding in some manchego cheese, goat cheese or blue cheese.
Prepared radicchio salad in grey bowl with serving utensils on serving tray.

How to Make Ahead & Store

  • I’ve found that this salad holds up well for a couple days in the fridge, though the breadcrumbs will become soggy. To ensure the best tasting salad when making this ahead of time, I would keep the dressing and toppings separate until ready to serve. Then just toss everything together.

Recipe FAQs

What is radicchio lettuce?

Radicchio is a leafy vegetable and is a member of the chicory family. In appearance, it resembles a small head of red cabbage, but its leaves are much more delicate and have a bitter flavor.

Can you eat raw radicchio?

Yes! It can be served raw in salads like this, or cooked, as in this Prosciutto Wrapped Radicchio recipe, which brings out more of its sweetness. You could even make this radicchio salad recipe with grilled radicchio.

How do you get the bitter taste out of radicchio?

To make radicchio less bitter when eating it raw, the trick is to soak it in ice cold water! I simply place it in the basket of my salad spinner and soak it in ice water while I’m preparing the other ingredients. After about 10 minutes, I drain it and spin in dry in the salad spinner to prepare it for tossing with my other ingredients. No more bitter radicchio!

What To Eat With It

Wine Pairings

Prepared radicchio salad in grey bowl with serving utensils.

More Salad Recipes

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Prepared radicchio salad in grey bowl with serving utensils.

Italian Radicchio Salad Recipe

This delicious Italian Radicchio Salad is dressed in a creamy lemon-vinaigrette and tossed with buttery calvestrano olives, tasty breadcrumbs and nutty parmesan cheese. And, a special tip ensures that your radicchio won't be bitter!
5 from 5 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people




  • 2 medium heads radicchio (about 1 pound)
  • cup chopped Castelvetrano olives
  • 1 ounce parmesan (finely grated)



  • Discard any browned outer leaves of the radicchio. Quarter the heads, and cut into them at a diagonal to remove the core. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Add radicchio to a salad spinner or a large bowl. Fill bowl with ice water and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, make the breadcrumbs. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Arrange bread cubes on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Toss until evenly coated. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bread is brown and crisp. When cool enough to handle, roughly chop the cubes on a cutting board or process in a food processor to make coarse crumbs.
  • Make the dressing by adding all ingredients to a small mason jar or small container. Shake to combine, or whisk. Taste, and adjust seasonings with additional salt and pepper, or sugar.
  • Drain the radicchio and spin it dry or pat dry with a large dish towel. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Add olives, parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs and toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Enjoy!
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 720mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 100IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 1mg

This post was originally published in 2020. It was updated in 2023 to add new content. The raddichio salad recipe remains the same. Enjoy!

7 thoughts on “Italian Radicchio Salad Recipe with Parmesan & Olives”

  1. 5 stars
    This was amazing with a few changes – we grilled the radicchio, sliced the olives rather than chopped (as your pictures show) and used a lot more, and grilled the bread and cut into small cubes rather than crumbs. Definitely a keeper!

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for this yummy recipe! I was so sick of all of our regular rotation sides/salads and this sounded amazing. It was bright, fresh, and totally different. I’ve never used radicchio before, but will definitely be making this again!

  3. 5 stars
    Fantastic! We added some chopped romaine and cranberries and sunflower seeds for a little sweetness and maximum crunch. Loved by the whole family!


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