This radicchio salad is filled with nourishing yet flavorful ingredients that will make you excited to eat a bowl full of goodness. Buttery green olives balance out the tanginess of a balsamic dressing. This slightly bitter with a touch of sweetness salad will delight.
While radicchio is a little pricier than your average salad lettuce, it is well worth the spend. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to salad. Pre-mixed packages of herbs and spinach can be so tempting to buy due to the lack of effort required. But buying a more complex leaf such as radicchio pays off. This vegan and gluten-free salad is especially great to serve to guests as its flavors won’t be glossed over like ordinary salads.
Radicchio Salad Nutrition
Radicchio is a member of the chicory family and has a bold and somewhat bitter flavor perfect in sophisticated salads. It also is a great source of nutrients including potassium, folate, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
Also starring in this salad are chickpeas. Chickpeas are great additions to salads since they perk them up with protein and fiber. So instead of only tiding you over for a few minutes, it’ll fill you up for a couple of hours. Besides their protein and fiber-filled benefits, chickpeas are also rich in manganese, folate, copper, phosphorus, iron, and zinc.
A skin-boosting boost of vitamin E comes in the form of green olives in this radicchio salad. Green olives add the salty touch that every salad needs while contrasting the color of the radicchio which makes for an aesthetic dish. Olives are also rich in antioxidants from the phytonutrients they contain.
To obtain the health benefits from green olives, stick to the jarred variety. I used jarred Castelvetrano olives which have a buttery flavor which balances the salad. Canned olives contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals like BPA and BPS, depending on the can variety used. Plus, they often contain high levels of sodium which can cause bloating, dehydration, and potentially have negative cardiovascular effects.
This recipe calls for Chioggia radicchio but Treviso radicchio can also be used. To distinguish between them, look at their shape. Chioggia radicchio is round and looks like cabbage while Treviso radicchio is narrow and long, resembling endive. If using Treviso radicchio, use two heads instead of one.
If you want to make this salad more filling to serve as an entree, try adding a grain such as quinoa. Cook the quinoa in advance and chill for at least an hour in the refrigerator. Quinoa’s nutty flavor will pair well with the radicchio and green olives.
This radicchio salad can serve wonderfully as a side or main. If served as a side, it’ll feed four but as an entree, it’ll serve two. Either way, it’s bound to be loved by all those enjoying it!
Radicchio Salad with Green Olives and Chickpeas
- 1 head of Chioggia radicchio
- ¼ cup green olives, pitted and halved
- ¼ cup cooked chickpeas
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon agave
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Remove the cores from the radicchio and slice into thin strips. Transfer to a large bowl filled with ice water. Soak for ten minutes and then drain. Dry in a salad spinner or between tea towels.
- Meanwhile, add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, agave, and sea salt to a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined.
- Add radicchio, green olives, chickpeas, and sunflower seeds to a large bowl. Toss until well combined. Drizzle lightly with dressing and season to taste. Serve immediately and enjoy!
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