Radicchio Salad

20 November 2020 Dairy Free Gluten Free Vegetarian Friendly
This salad is really a choose your own adventure opportunity.  Feel free to get creative with your ingredients, adding or subtracting at your will. I really enjoyed playing with the monochrome element here and it played straight into my love of cooked salads - I especially adore grilled lettuces, which is the foundation on which this dish was born. The fast grilling process not only sweetens the leaves, it brings a softer texture to the dish.  And from there I built this salad with colour in mind, playing with flavours and ingredients that can be on hand in the fridge. 

Those who know me know that Thanksgiving is a BIG DEAL around here and usually a major gastronomic adventure. Whether celebrated in London with every expat American in the vicinity, or back in the Stateside Mothership, there is always the traditional grand spread, plus at least one snuck-in-newly-dreamed-up dish to test out on a typically opinionated crowd.

This year is undeniably different in every way – no travel, no masses squished around extended tables, no weeks of planning,decorating,lists and preparation. But that doesn’t mean we should miss the opportunity to menu prep and make something regal and festive.  

Even if Thanksgiving doesn’t factor on your radar, this beautiful monochrome collection of ingredients delivers a whole new elegance to the salad and side department. Admittedly, it takes a little more effort than opening a bag of leaves or steaming a few veg, but none of the components here are complicated. And let’s face it, during these prolonged days of Lockdown 2.0 and work-from-home, we may even find ourselves with a little extra time for a spare mindful moment or two in the kitchen. 

Celebrations around the table are not the only thing remiss these days….decision making also seems to be a thing of the past. So, this Radicchio Salad is brought to you today with a range of ingredient options and dressing solutions, each balancing the flavours of the slightly bitter leaves and their tender, sweet companions – the choice is yours. Mainly because I could not decide for you…….

These balsamic glazed onions are a secret weapon in this salad and are basically the perfect accessory to everything. They can be made a day or two in advance and something I often make alongside another dish while the oven is on and hot.  

Likewise for the roasted beets I like to add here. These also will happily live in the fridge for the best part of a week and can be made ready to use at any time.  I am aware that unlike many of the other recipes on these pages this salad calls for a number of stages, but the combination of flavours and textures are truly worth the effort.

There are 3 dressing options also listed below that all work equally deliciously. I wasn’t kidding when I said you would have choices here………

I would love to know what you add to your salad. Please do let me know.

For the Salad

  • 2 small radicchio (or 1 larger head)
  • 2 red endive
  • 2 roasted beets
  • 1 portion balsamic glazed onions
  • 4 radishes (purple ones if you can find them look fantastic or a medium sized watermelon radish is also great)

For the Roasted Beets

  • 250g beetroot (about 2 in total depending on size)
  • 1 tbs olive oil, divided
  • malden salt

Optional Extras that I Love

Start by roasting the beets (& make your onions if you haven’t already):

Preheat oven to 190C.

If the beetroot still have their leaves attached, cut them off at the bottom and keep to one side to use another time (they are delicious balanced, sautéed with garlic as a side dish or added to grains and pasta).

Wash the beets, gently rubbing off any remnants of soil, keeping the skin in tact.

Individually wrap each beetroot lightly in a double layer of foil.  Before sealing,  drizzle with olive oil and a good 3 finger pinch of malden salt to cover.  

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes.  They need to be cooked but still firm, so the cooking time will depend a little on their size.  

Allow to cool just until you can handle them, and while they are still warm, remove from foil and gently rub off their skins (this is one of the rare occasions we use gloves).  Allow to cool completely before slicing.  

Balsamic Glazed Red Onions

To assemble the salad:

First grill the radicchio.  I like half grilled radicchio and half raw here, so if you have two smaller heads, grill one of them, and if you have one larger head, grill half only.

Place a heavy bottomed frying pan on a high heat.

Cut the radicchio  in half and then in half again lengthways through the root.

Drizzle each cut side very lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper

Place all the pieces cut side down in the hot, dry frying pan and sear for a minute on each side. Do not crowd them in the pan or they will steam, so if your pan is not big enough (or your lettuces are on the larger side) you may need to do this in a few batches.

Remove the charred and delicious leaves and place on a serving plate and continue to build the salad.

Tear the raw radicchio and endive leaves into largish sized pieces and place them in the bottom of a shallow bowl.  You can also cut them into wedges through the base if you prefer that look before separating the bigger leaves. 

Cut the cooked and peeled beets into half and then each half into 4 wedges.    

Thinly slice the radishes.  Scatter the beets, radishes and cooled balsamic onions over the leaves.

Just before serving, drizzle your dressing of choice from the selection below over the leaves (you won’t need all of it) and toss together.  Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before digging in, adding more dressing if necessary.   


Have you made this dish?

Let me know what you think, share your efforts and any tweaks you made to the recipe on Instagram, don’t forget to tag #BuildingFeasts or email me on info@buildingfeasts.com