This radicchio salad is wonderful for summertime barbecues and compliments a variety of dishes. The salty and sweet vinaigrette is perfect for the natural bitterness of radicchio. But, you'll want to make this dressing for any salad because it's real easy, fresh and so flavorful.
You will need radicchio, pignoli (pine) nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano, parsley, oranges, extra virgin olive oil, and red wine vinegar for this salad. Super simple ingredients! If you can't find radicchio, substitute your lettuce of choice.
How to make Italian radicchio salad
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Start by removing the core of the radicchio.
- Separate the leaves into large pieces and wash with a salad spinner.
- Zest one orange and give the strands a rough chop. We prefer the type of zester that removes large strands but a micro-plane would work equally well.
- Into a bowl mix a ½ cup of good extra virgin olive oil. Also, mix a ¼ cup each of fresh-squeezed orange juice and red wine vinegar.
- Add in a half cup of chopped fresh parsley, 1 tsp kosher salt, and a ¼ tsp of black pepper. Set aside for a few minutes while toasting the pignoli nuts.
- Give a ¼ cup of pignoli nuts a light toasting. Medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes in a nonstick pan is all it takes, but pay attention and move them around so they don't burn.
- On a large platter arrange all the radicchio leaves. Whisk the dressing and spoon it over the leaves. Don't use too much, there's no need to overdress the salad. The extra dressing can be served on the side. Shave the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese over the top with a vegetable peeler.
- Sprinkle the toasted pignoli nuts and the zest over the top and serve.
This is a great summertime salad. As I said in the instructions, go easy on the dressing and save it for anyone who desires more. Some people just love a ton of dressing.
Substitutions and additions
- Radicchio - Though radicchio has that uniquely bitter taste, many other lettuces can be used successfully in this recipe. Try romaine or Boston lettuce. Keep the pieces large so that they catch the orange pine nut vinaigrette.
- Oranges - Instead of just using the juice and zest, consider peeling, slicing, and adding the orange segments to serve on the salad.
- Cheese - Just omit the Parmigiano Reggiano for a completely vegan salad.
- Radicchio needs a lot of salt to cut the bitterness. Don't be shy with the salt on this salad.
- It's essential to use fresh-squeezed orange juice and zest for this recipe.
- Spread the leaves on a large platter. Doing this allows the vinaigrette to pool into each leaf making the salad even better.
More Italian salads
- Sicilian orange fennel salad
- Potato green bean salad
- Cauliflower salad
- Via Carota style green salad
- Italian chopped salad
- Tomato mozzarella salad
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For the salad
- 1 head radicchio
- ¼ cup pignoli (pine) nuts
- ¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 Tbsp orange zest
For the dressing
- ½ cup fresh parsley minced
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Remove core of radicchio, wash and arrange leaves on large platter.
- Toast ¼ cup pignoli nuts over medium-low heat being careful not to burn. Zest one orange and rough chop the strands.
- Thoroughly mix ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, ¼ fresh squeezed orange juice, ½ cup minced parsley, 1 tsp kosher salt and a ¼ tsp black pepper.
- Spoon some of the dressing over the radicchio leaves. Sprinkle the toasted pignoli nuts and orange zest all over the salad. Finally with a vegetable peeler shave the Parmigiano Reggiano on top. Enjoy!
- Do not overdress the salad. This recipe makes one cup of the vinaigrette which can be served on the side or stored for up to 3 days.
- Pine nuts tend to burn fast. Keep an eye on them at all times when toasting.
- Radicchio needs a lot of salt to cut the bitterness, but adjust according to personal preferences.