This vibrant Radicchio Salad Recipe is layered with fresh fruit and cheese, then dressed in a blood orange vinaigrette. It’s easy to make, beautifully bright, and an impressive appetizer!Jump to Recipe
A simple radicchio salad with blood orange vinaigrette
This pear and Radicchio Salad Recipe is simple to make and a real show-stopper! Bright red radicchio leaves are layered with sliced pears, blackberries, and shaved manchego cheese. To finish, it’s dressed in a vibrant blood orange vinaigrette, leaving you with an ultra-refreshing, slightly bitter, and eye-catching salad!
Radicchio is a naturally bitter and gorgeous alternative to your typical salad greens, like kale, spinach, or romaine. It’s one of my go-to’s when I want to make an impressive and better-than-average appetizer or side dish. It’s what helps my Mediterranean Radicchio Salad and Radicchio Caesar Salad stand out!
You’ll find a little bit of everything in this easy radicchio salad: rich and creamy cheese, juicy berries, tart pears, and bitter radicchio leaves. The abundance of complex flavors is complemented by the acidic and subtly savory salad dressing, automatically making this recipe a hit!
What is radicchio?
Radicchio looks just like red cabbage, but it’s actually a type of chicory (the same family as artichokes, endive, and escarole). It has large red leaves and white veins, and is crunchy and naturally bitter in flavor. Use it to compliment other bitter flavors or to cut through richness in salads and grain dishes.
- Radicchio – This bitter vegetable should be available in most well-stocked grocery stores year-round. The red leaves give this unique salad its beautiful color and subtle bitter flavor. Make sure to prepare the leaves using the tips below and in the recipe card so the bitter flavors aren’t overwhelming. If you can’t find radicchio, use kale or romaine lettuce as a substitute.
- Pear – Thinly sliced pear is a fresh and complimentary topping on this simple salad. Green Bartlett pears, in particular, add a nice contrast against the red radicchio leaves.
- Blackberries – Fresh blackberries are tart and juicy, pairing well with the bitter radicchio and blood orange salad dressing. If fresh blackberries aren’t in season, use another berry or pomegranate seeds instead.
- Manchego cheese – Shaved thinly and sprinkled over the salad.
- Blood orange – Juice the orange yourself for the freshest flavor or use store-bought orange juice.
- Olive oil
- Stone ground mustard – This adds a nice savory flavor to the salad dressing. Take it over the top with my homemade Whole30 mustard!
- Honey – For a subtle sweetness in the dressing.
- Kosher salt
How to prepare radicchio for salad
Start by cutting the radicchio into quarters, then cut out the core. Place the quarters into a large bowl with ice water and leave them for at least 15 minutes.
Squeeze out the excess water from the leaves, then dry them well with a salad spinner or a clean kitchen towel.
Want to save on prep time? You can store the soaked and dry leaves for 4 or 5 days ahead of time. Just keep them in a sealed bag in the fridge.
How to make radicchio salad with blood orange vinaigrette
First, make the blood orange salad dressing by adding all of the ingredients to a jar. Close the lid and shake it well to combine.
Add the prepared radicchio leaves to a large bowl and pour the dressing over top. Use clean hands to massage the dressing into the leaves.
Layer the sliced pears, blackberries, and shaved cheese over the dressed leaves. Toss to combine, then plate and serve.
This refreshing, bright, and slightly bitter salad pairs well with rich main dishes. Serve it next to a puff pastry quiche for brunch, with lemon risotto, creamy polenta, and braised beef roast during dinner, or with prosciutto and mozzarella sandwiches for lunch.
Frequently asked questions
Raw radicchio has a sharp, bitter flavor. While you can eat it raw, I recommend soaking the leaves in ice-cold water for 15 minutes to tone down the bitterness.
Soak the radicchio leaves in cold water for 15 minutes, then squeeze out the excess water/bitterness before drying. You can do this ahead of time when you want to get this salad on the table faster.
Rather than assembling the salad and storing it for later (potentially causing the leaves to wilt and pears to brown), only prepare certain elements in advance. Both the radicchio leaves and vinaigrette can be prepared and stored in the fridge for about 5 days ahead.
Wait to slice the pears, shave the cheese, and assemble the salad until a few minutes before serving.
Looking for more salad recipes?
- Tomato and Onion Salad
- Chopped Greek Salad
- Watermelon Salad Recipe
- Lemon Basil Pasta Salad
- Citrus Grilled Shrimp and Avocado Salad
If you try this Radicchio Salad Recipe let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Radicchio Salad Recipe
- ¾ pound radicchio 2 heads, soaked
- 1 pear quartered and thinly sliced
- 1 cup blackberries
- 2 ½ ounces manchego cheese shaved
- In a large bowl add cold water and ice. Cut the radicchio into quarters and then cut off the core. Then cut into halves again.
- Add the radicchio to the ice water, with your hands separate the leaves and then squeeze them a bit to help release the bitterness. Let it sit in the ice cold water that covers the lettuce all the way for at least 15 minutes.
- Use either a salad spinner or a kitchen towel to dry the leaves fully. (Can be done ahead of time and stored after drying for up to 4-5 days in a ziplock bag.)
Blood Orange Vinaigrette
- Add blood orange juice (or use orange juice) mustard, salt, honey and olive oil to a jar. Close the lid and shake well until combined.
- Toss the salad with dressing, taste for seasoning, add any additional salt to taste. I like to massage the dressing into the leaves. Add the pears, blackberries, shaved manchego cheese, and lightly toss the salad, then add to a platter and serve.