This delicious 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!
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 Radicchio Salad at least once a week lately. I especially love it right now since radicchio keeps for an extremely long time in the fridge – perfect for these days when we’re not able to get to the grocery store too frequently. 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.
What is Radicchio?
- Radicchio is leafy vegetable, and is a variety of chicory. In appearance, it resembles a small head of red cabbage, but its leaves are much more delicate and have a bitter flavor. It can be served raw or cooked as in this Prosciutto Wrapped Radicchio recipe, which brings out more of its sweetness.
How Do You Get the Bitterness Out of Radicchio?
- To make radicchio less bitter when eating it raw, the trick is to soak it in ice 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.
This is my favorite salad spinner. I love that it collapses to store flat in my cupboard.
Radicchio Salad Ingredients:
- Olive Oil
- Calvestrano Olives (or any green olive)
- Parmesan Cheese
- Lemon Juice
- Sugar, Salt, Pepper
How to Make Radicchio Salad:
- Core and chop the radicchio.
- 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.
Can You Make Radicchio Salad Ahead of Time?
- 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.
What to Serve with Radicchio Salad:
- I love serving this chicory salad with rich & hearty dishes that can benefit from the palate cleansing bitterness of the radicchio. Roasted Chicken, Osso Bucco, Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloin and Shrimp Risotto are all great main dishes to serve with Radicchio Salad.
Wine Pairings for Radicchio Salad:
- Grenache Blanc
- Sauvignon Blanc
- 2 thick slices crusty sourdough bread (cut into large cubes (2 heaping cups))
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 medium heads radicchio (about 1 pound)
- ⅓ cup chopped calvestrano olives
- 1 ounce parmesan (finely grated)
- 1 lemon (zested and juiced)
- 1 large garlic clove (grated or minced)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 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!