Sophisticate Your Salad With Radicchio

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You would think the Salad in a Jar lady would be a salad -meister. Unfortunately, she is not.

When it comes to salads, I am a simpleton.  Too many elements or unusual ingredients and I'm turning the page or clicking the mouse. Guess I would rather be baking bread or making pies. But salad is a key player in my daily diet, so I have devised ways to make it happen without much trouble.
 
My number one strategy for getting more salads into my diet is vacuum-packing chopped, ready-to-eat lettuce into glass canning jars. I make 6-7 jars at a time, and they last for over a week in my fridge.Until now, I stuffed only romaine into those jars because it is the only lettuce I found to hold up for a week to 10 days. Then one of my readers suggested I add chopped radicchio to the romaine. She claimed it would last as long as the romaine and add color, flavor and excitement to the salad.  And guess what?  She was right!
Radicchio Salad


But you don't have to vacuum-pack your lettuce to enjoy radicchio. Try it in any salad that needs a touch of sophistication and interest. You can also eat it sauteed, grilled, roasted, or baked, but that's a subject for another meal.
 
Radicchio Lettuce Mix


You may be thinking radicchio looks a lot like red cabbage, but don't confuse them. The color of radicchio is not as purple as red cabbage, and the flavor is worlds apart. As a member of the chicory family, radicchio has a slightly bitter but not unpleasant taste. The bitterness can be tempered by soaking in water for an hour, but I don't bother.
 
Radicchio


At first glance, radicchio seems expensive at $4.99 to $6.99 a pound.  But that beautiful red and white ball (some varieties are elongated similar to endive) is lightweight and usually costs between $1.50 to $3.00 a head, depending on the size and the store. You don't need much. One head of sliced Radicchio to 6 hearts of romaine or a quarter of a head of radicchio to 4 cups lettuce is about the perfect ratio for my tastes.
 
You've probably already tried radicchio in prepared salad mix. It's a common ingredient. But if you've never purchased  and cooked with it yourself the recipe below is a great place to start.
 
Radicchio Salad With Dressing


Romaine, Radicchio, and Avocado Salad

 
Serves: 3/4 cup

 

Ingredients

Salad:

4 cups romaine lettuce, sliced (or 1 qt jar of vacuum-packed lettuce)

1/4 head of radicchio, cored and thinly sliced

1 orange, peeled and sliced (canned Mandarin oranges could be subbed)

1 avocado, peeled and diced or sliced 1/4 cup roasted cashews or almonds (I like the smoked ones), broken

Dressing:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons lite soy sauce

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Scant 1/4 cup non-fat, unflavored Greek yogurt

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons water

Directions

Salad: Toss all ingredients together in salad bowl or layer in a picturesque manner if the President is coming to dinner.

Dressing: Combine all ingredients in a small glass jar (pint-size) or bowl. Cover jar and shake or whisk well in bowl.

Notes Make the dressing lower in calories by reducing the oil to 1 teaspoon. The texture will not be as luxurious but you may feel less guilty.

Dressing may be made ahead. If it becomes too thick after refrigeration, add water until consistency is what you prefer.

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