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Simple, Stunning Radicchio Salad

5 from 1 vote

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A gorgeous and festive radicchio salad that combines chopped red radicchio leaves, arugula, blue cheese, red onion and rosemary-roasted walnuts with a sweet and tangy balsamic vinaigrette. This is a punchy, robust salad that’s easy to make and beautiful to serve.

Radicchio and arugula salad tossed in a salad bowl.
Make the best radicchio salad with blue cheese, arugula and walnuts.

This radicchio salad recipe makes a big, beautiful salad that’s perfect to serve family-style on a big platter when company comes — or anytime you’re craving something more interesting to eat than a basic green salad. You’ll learn the best way to cut, prepare, and eat radicchio with this easy recipe.

You may have never thought of radicchio as the main ingredient of a salad, but once you taste it, you’ll wonder why you’ve been missing out on this beautifully-colored leafy vegetable. If you’re looking for salad recipe ideas that are beyond ordinary, this is one to try.

Radicchio salad in a wood serving bowl, with two salad servers, a dish of walnuts and blue cheese in the background.

What sets this salad apart is the combination of ingredients that touches every one of your taste buds. We’re talking sweet, salty, bitter and sour, not to mention plenty of savory crunch! A robust radicchio salad is a fantastic winter salad.

About radicchio

  • Radicchio (pronounced rah-dee-key-o) originated in Italy. It’s a member of the chicory family, which includes vegetables like endive and frisée (a type of curly endive).
  • Like most chicories, it has a bitter taste profile. The round heads look like red cabbage at first glance, but they’re actually not related botanically.
  • The maroon or deep-red colored leaves form a round or elongated ball that are veined with white.
  • The most familiar type found in grocery stores is (and the one used in this recipe) is the round Chioggia variety. Other radicchio types include Treviso, Tardivo, and Castelfranco, which can sometimes be found at farmer’s markets or in specialty grocery stores.
A bowl of arugula lettuce on a surface, with a head of radicchio, sliced red onion, blue cheese chunks and walnuts in a bowl.

About the salad ingredients

  • Radicchio: One medium or 2 small heads (3/4 pound) of radicchio yields about 6 cups sliced radicchio, which is the amount needed to make the salad.
  • Arugula: This nutty-tasting salad green adds color and tempers some of the bitterness of the radicchio. Arugula salads with nuts and soft cheeses are a always a winning combo.
  • Red onion: The sweet sharpness of red onion is really tasty with bitter greens, and on any salad. You can substitute with 1/2 cup chopped green onion if you like.
  • Walnuts: This nut is a perfect partner for any type of bitter green. I use them as a crunchy garnish for the salad, toasted and lightly seasoned with rosemary and sugar. If you’re short on time, you can simply use plain roasted, salted walnuts, or use store-bought glazed walnuts or almonds.
  • Cheese: Tangy, creamy blue cheese has a distinctive taste and texture that can stand up to bold flavors in the salad. Swap it out with another soft, salty cheese such as feta.
  • Optional: Add cooked bacon or crumbled baked prosciutto crisps for a savory, salty hit.

Salad dressing ingredients

Radicchio is not a timid vegetable — it needs a salad dressing that can match it’s bold character. A classic balsamic vinaigrette doubles-down on the bittersweet ingredients for a pleasant flavor contrast.

  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Garlic
  • Salt and black pepper

This dressing is one of our pantry favorites! It’s easy to shake together in a jar, and keeps for about a week in the refrigerator.

Ingredients for making balsamic vinaigrette, including jars of Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey and garlic cloves.
A simple balsamic vinaigrette provides delicious flavor balance to the salad.

Make the salad, step by step

How to cut radicchio for a salad: Walk through the steps pictured below for prepping, slicing and serving the salad:

Assemble the salad

Tips and substitutes

  • Instead of making the Rosemary Walnuts, use plain roasted, salted walnuts, or store-bought glazed walnuts or almonds.
  • The prepped and sliced radicchio (without dressing) will keep up to 3 days, refrigerated in a sealed bag.
  • Make ahead: Assemble the salad without the dressing up to one day ahead and refrigerate. Toss with the balsamic vinaigrette just before serving.
  • Try adding in about 1/4 cup dried sour cherries, cranberries or diced pear.
Radicchio and arugula salad tossed in a salad bowl.

Simple and Stunning Radicchio Salad

Karen Tedesco
A gorgeous, festive radicchio salad that combines chopped red radicchio leaves, arugula, blue cheese, red onion and rosemary-roasted walnuts with a sweet and tangy balsamic vinaigrette. This is a punchy, robust salad that's easy to make and beautiful to serve.
Print Pin
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

Salad dressing

  • ½ cup (120 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon grated garlic, about 1 small clove
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Radicchio salad

  • 1 head (20 g) radicchio
  • 4 cups arugula
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces (85 g) blue cheese
  • ½ cup store-bought glazed walnuts or Rosemary Walnuts (below)

Rosemary walnuts

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar or brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Instructions 

Make the salad dressing

  • Combine all the ingredients in a lidded jar. Shake well to combine. The dressing keeps up to 5 days refrigerated. Makes 1 cup of dressing.

Prepare the salad:

  • Trim off the stem end of the radicchio. Slice the head in half and remove the core. Slice each half into ½-inch strips, then slice crosswise into bite-size pieces.
  • Put the radicchio and arugula in a large salad bowl. Add the sliced onion and half of the blue cheese. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of the dressing over, and toss together gently.
  • Sprinkle ½ cup of the walnuts over the salad, along with the remaining cheese. Serve with additional dressing on the side.

Rosemary walnuts – Makes 1 cup

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Toss the walnuts in a medium bowl with the olive oil, rosemary, sugar, salt and red pepper.
  • Spread the walnuts on a small rimmed tray or ovenproof skillet. Toast in the oven 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and transfer to a small bowl or airtight container. Top the salad with ½ cup of the walnuts. Any remaining nuts will keep 2 weeks at room temperature.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • This recipe makes a big salad, enough for 6-8 servings. 
  • The prepped and sliced radicchio (without dressing) will keep up to 3 days, refrigerated in a sealed bag.
  • Make ahead: Assemble the salad without the dressing up to one day ahead and refrigerate. Toss with the vinaigrette just before serving.
  • Instead of making the Rosemary Walnuts, use plain roasted, salted walnuts, or store-bought glazed walnuts or almonds.
  • Tangy, creamy blue cheese has a distinctive taste and texture that can stand up to bold flavors in the salad. Swap it out with another soft, salty cheese such as feta.
  • Add cooked bacon or crumbled baked prosciutto crisps for a savory, salty hit. 
  • Toss in 1/4 cup dried sour cherries, cranberries or diced pear.

Nutrition

Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 499mg | Potassium: 289mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 353IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe? Mention @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Instagram

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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