Celebrate the taste of summer this week and enjoy our Italian Chopped Salad. Crisp Romaine lettuce, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and radicchio are drizzled with a simple, classic, homemade Italian dressing.
I must admit, after 17 years of writing this column I don’t think I’ve created a recipe that called for radicchio. My apologies to this striking, leafy vegetable.
Pronounced rah-DEE-kee-oh, this red-leafed lettuce is most often used as a salad green. Two common varieties of radicchio that you’ll likely find in the grocery store are Verona and Treviso.
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Radicchio di Verona has burgundy-colored leaves with bright white ribs or veins and grows in a small, round, loose head of lettuce. Treviso radicchio is narrow and elongated with more tightly compacted leaves, similar to endive. The leaves range in color from pink to dark red.
No matter the shape, all radicchios have firm yet tender, almost velvety leaves with a bitter flavor. Combining radicchio with sweeter, more delicate lettuces helps to balance the bitterness. This bitter lettuce also mellows a bit when grilled, roasted or sauteed in olive oil.
Radicchio provides a nice dose of vitamin K. Aside from playing a crucial role in blood clotting, studies suggest food sources of vitamin K promotes bone health. Radicchio also supplies lutein and zeaxanthin, two beneficial phytonutrients that may protect eyes from age-related macular degeneration.
When selecting radicchio, look for heads with crisp, brightly-colored leaves free of bruises and brown spots. Avoid very large heads as they can be tough and extremely bitter. Refrigerate in a plastic bag and use within a week.
Darlene Zimmerman is a registered dietitian in Henry Ford Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute. For questions about today’s recipe, call 313-972-1920.
6 (1 ½ cups per serving) / Prep time: 10 minutes
/ Total time:
3 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
7 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
2 cups chopped radicchio
1 can (14.5 ounces) chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
1 cup diced cucumber
⅓ cup thinly sliced red onion
In a container with a tight-fitting lid, combine vinegar, oil, sugar, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Shake well and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine lettuce, radicchio, chick peas, tomatoes, cucumber and red onion. Pour dressing over salad, toss to combine and serve immediately.
Created and tested by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD, for Heart Smart®.