Celebrating the Art of Good Food
Roberta Jackson, RD
What better way to celebrate the turning of seasons than by embracing the deep rich colours that accompany this time of year. We know eating colour is good for our health and radicchio offers plenty of flavonoids and anthocyanin found in red and purple vegetables—both known for their powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant affect (1). However, that is not all radicchio offers as it's very high in vitamin K, high in copper, and a good source of fibre, zinc, manganese, magnesium and potassium. Superfood… you betcha!
Radicchio is a relative of chicory and endive, with each varietal named after its respective region of origin in Italy. Exposure to light plays an important role in the stark and beautiful contrast in the red leaves and white ribs: less light equals greater intensity of colour (2) making winter the best season for eating. Perhaps more notable is its distinctly bitter flavour, described as sweet-bitter, or pleasantly bitter (3). The fresh leaves are suitable for salads, and have no doubt been partly responsible for the inspired food trend ‘pink salads’ (4) but radicchio can also be stir-fried (why not), grilled, and braised (3).
Colour, flavour, vitamins… Let's leap into fall!
Suggested flavour pairings are blue cheese, nuts, garlic, and olive oil. The recipes selected below include a few others like miso, honey, caramelized onion and citrus.
Pink Salad is Even Better When it’s Burgundy
Sometimes a recipe is just a starting place or springboard for your own ideas! This salad was just that, where extra deep reds and purples were added to play up the colour factor: dates, red grapes, and match stick beets. And yes, don’t forget the blue cheese.
This dressing is a powerhouse of flavours: orange zest, lemon citrus, and honey making it an especially good dose of Vitamin C for the transition to colder weather.
Miso-Roasted Squash with Radicchio
However you choose to cut, roast, and assemble these ingredients is perfect. I chose cashews (instead of pine nuts) for mine, acorn squash, and tart apple to represent all the goodness this season has to offer on one plate. The ingredients come together nicely with a punchy dressing that includes miso and dijon.
Farro, (5) an ancient grain increases the nutty flavours and adds one more texture to this already complex warm salad.
Radicchio, Olive Oil, and Pasta, Please!
If you are looking for a light, quick vegetarian pasta option for dinner, look no further. This recipe includes all the standard ingredients of a great pasta with a twist: parmesan, a little white wine, garlic, very well caramelized onions, and radicchio.
Once the radicchio is added and warmed at the end of the assembly process, the bitterness softened, the flavours harmonized, and it was delicious!
Barber, K et al. (2013). The Illustrated Cook Book of Ingredients. New York, NY: DK Publishing.
We are grateful to have Roberta working with us to craft some resources to help you create healthy, delicious dishes with FarmHub produce. Roberta brings years of experience as a chef and registered dietitian to provide insights on food that tastes good and is good for you. Her blog posts feature recipes made with as much FarmHub produce as possible, at three levels of difficulty. You can connect with Roberta on Instagram @robertaleighjackson!