We're officially in love with radicchio. This intensely flavored member of the chicory family grows in heads of wine-red leaves with bright white veins and can brighten up anything from salads to pasta.

Lisa Kingsley
February 26, 2020
Akepong Srichaichana / EyeEm / Getty

What is radicchio?

Radicchio is part of the chicory family. "Chioggia," the most common variety of this intensely flavored vegetable, grows in heads of wine-red leaves with bright white veins. Treviso is a type of radicchio that grows in elongated, rather than round, heads. Like all chicories, radicchio has a structural sturdiness and a distinct bitterness that balances the sweeter, more delicate lettuces with which it is often combined. While crisp, fiercely bitter radicchio is most often a salad ingredient, it mellows considerably when roasted, grilled or sautéed in olive oil and tossed with pasta.

Pictured Recipe: Penne with Roasted Chicken & Radicchio

How to buy radicchio

Radicchio browns slightly when its cut away from the root, but there should be no browning anywhere else. Heads should be compact and leaves should look crisp and fresh, with no blemishes or bruising. Avoid heads that are very large; they can be tough and very bitter.

How to prep and store radicchio

Store radicchio in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (Perforated bags allow ethylene to escape, which helps keep produce fresher longer.) When using radicchio whole or in wedges, trim the base but do not remove the core. For slicing, remove the core and break off leaves as needed. Wash in cool water and pat dry.

Pictured Recipe: Cider & Honey Kohlrabi Slaw with Radicchio

How to cook radicchio

Grill

Trim and quarter 2 heads of radicchio, leaving the cores intact. Brush the cut sides generously with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Season to taste with salt and ground pepper. Grill over medium heat, turning frequently, until lightly charred and tender when pierced with a fork, 8 to 12 minutes. Drizzle each piece with 1/2 teaspoon each extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Adjust seasoning, if desired.

Pictured Recipe: Grilled Radicchio Pesto

Roast

Trim and quarter 2 heads of radicchio, leaving the cores intact. Arrange the radicchio on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, tossing gently to coat. Place each piece cut-side down on the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast in a 400°F oven, turning once, until the leaves are wilted and lightly charred, 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese and 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives.

Radicchio nutrition

Chicories are rich in cichoric acid, a compound that helps your cells soak up glucose from your bloodstream. When your body uses glucose more efficiently, you're less likely to develop insulin resistance, which, if left unchecked, can lead to diabetes.

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