Do you know those ridiculous commercials with women smiling at salads?
As cliche as that is, I could easily be one of those women, because I love salads. I love everything from basic lettuce with an oil and vinegar dressing, to complex loaded salad plates that rack up more calories than a fast food meal. So, it had been brought to my attention that I currently have only one salad recipe even though salads are amongst my most often eaten dishes, while I already have several for desserts and sweets, even though I seldom bother to make them.
Well, that had to be fixed immediately! Here is a very proper, vegetable loaded radicchio salad recipe. To most Slovenians it will probably seem a bit basic, because we eat radicchio with beans all the time, but I am hoping that it will be a bit of a fresh take and more interesting for those of you from farther out there. And, in case you are wondering what is radicchio, it is that red and white lettuce-looking thing you’ve probably seen in movies featuring Italian food. It is actually not a lettuce or a cabbage, but a chicory, and it has a distinct bitter flavour that you’ll either love or hate. If you love it, make this radicchio salad, but if you don’t, you can try to grill or cook it, because the bitterness mellows a bit when it’s cooked. My grandfather makes an amazing sauteed radicchio with soy sauce, for example.
Radicchio salad with beans and zucchini recipe
- 200 g (half a head or about 6 cups) radicchio
- 200 g (1 cup) canned or cooked kidney beans
- 1 medium-sized zucchini
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
- 20 g (1/4 cup) chopped leek (green parts, raw)
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon dill
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil
- 1-2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Optional: add a boiled egg for more protein
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Makes 1 serving as a main course salad
Set a pot with water and a bit of salt on the stove to boil. Chop the zucchini into cubes and put it in the water once it’s boiling. Boil until tender, then drain and douse in cold water to cool down.
Meanwhile, wash and chop the radicchio into bite-sized pieces, dice the leek into ribbons and drain and wash the canned beans. If you are using cooked beans, you will need to soak and cook them beforehand.
Put the radicchio, beans, leek and zucchini into a bowl and dress with the cumin, dill, salt, pumpkin seed oil and apple cider vinegar. Toss until it’s all well mixed, then garnish with pumpkin seeds and sour cream on top. Add a slice of bread or a boiled egg or two if you feel like the salad won’t be enough for your meal and enjoy!
The radicchio and beans allure heavily depends on the pumpkin seed oil dressing, so if you don’t have it, it won’t be quite the same, because it has a very unique flavour. You could substitute it with another type of nutty-flavoured oil, such as sesame or walnut oil perhaps, and in that case it would be best to replace the pumpkin seeds for sesame seeds or walnuts as well and perhaps remove the dill. Experiment a bit and let me know how it worked out in the comments!