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Radicchio Salad

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Radicchio frisee salad is boldly flavored with minimal ingredients! The bitter and assertive flavors of radicchio and frisée lettuce are complimented with the natural sweetness of crisp apple slices and candied pecans. A sweet and tangy lemon honey vinaigrette brings it all together!

A large salad bowl of radicchio frisée Salad. Serving utensils in the background.

This simple side salad could easily become one of your favorites, especially during the holidays!

It’s a no-fuss recipe that creates a gorgeous interplay of colors and flavors, with the purple-red slices of radicchio, the pale-green frisée lettuce and sweet red apple slices that create textural contrast too. 

Serve it at any celebratory table or bring it to a special gathering. It looks and tastes like it’s straight off the menu of a fabulous restaurant!

Why This Radicchio Salad Works

Radicchio and frisee lettuce are often overlooked, but this simple salad recipe brings them center-stage for a unique and festive dish that boasts incredible flavor. 

Here’s why you’ll love it:

  • Our frisee radicchio salad recipe is as delicious as it is beautiful, and creates an easy side for your dinner table. 
  • The contrast of frisée’s curly leaves and the vibrant radicchio lettuce combines for a fresh yet seasonal dish of red and green. 
  • This is one of the easiest recipes to make and the ingredient list is short and sweet. 
  • The unique bitterness of radicchio enhances dishes with a complex flavor profile, making it a versatile ingredient that pairs well with sweet or mild flavors.
A salad serving of radicchio frisée salad and a small pitcher of lemon-honey vinaigrette in the background.

Salad Ingredients

To make our simple radicchio frisée salad, you will need the following ingredients: 

  • Radicchio lettuce. Choose a large head of radicchio as you’ll need approximately 10 ounces. 
  • Frisée lettuce. You will need about 12 ounces frisée (did you know it’s sometimes called curly endive?).
  • Red apples. Choose red apples that are extra sweet, like Cosmic Crisp or Honeycrisp.
  • Lemon. Fresh lemon is used to drizzle the apples and help prevent them from browning. 
  • Candied pecans. Crunchy, sweet, candied pecans are always delicious with crisp mixed greens!
  • Lemon honey vinaigrette. We have an entire separate post on our lemon honey vinaigrette but we’re also including the instructions in the recipe card below! You will need fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, black pepper and olive oil ​to make it. 
Ingredients: Frisée lettuce, radicchio lettuce, candied pecans, lemon, two apples and a pitcher of lemon-honey vinaigrette.

Balancing Bitter and Sweet

Radicchio is known for its hallmark bitterness and frisée lettuce (also called curly endive) for its slight peppery flavor and crunch. They’re usually tossed in with other greens which helps to balance out their bold taste. 

But our radicchio salad recipe strikes that perfect balance in other ways.

The sweet apple and candied pecans cut through the bitterness and compliments it, in fact. And a generous serving of our honey lemon vinaigrette is perfectly tart and sweet and savory.

We’ve shared similar salads, like our Tossed Green Salad as well as our Cranberry Pecan Salad with Mixed Greens, but none with radicchio and frisée as the main ingredients.

Together, this garden green delight is not overly sweet, not overly bitter, but fresh and crunchy and a yummy fusion of flavors. 

A pitcher of lemon-honey vinaigrette being poured over a bowl of radicchio frisée salad.

Tips for the Best Results

  • For the vinaigrette, we recommend using a light olive oil instead of extra virgin olive oil. A lighter oil will carry a more neutral flavor while extra virgin oil can sometimes overpower a dressing. 
  • A melon ball scoop is a handy tool for removing the apple core. 
  • Drizzling the fresh apple slices with the lemon juice helps to keep them from discoloring. Your apple slices will look fresh for much longer, which is especially important if you’re preparing this salad a little bit ahead of time and need it to chill in the fridge for a while before serving. 
  • If you prefer, you can make the vinaigrette by adding all of the ingredients to a small jar. Cover it with a lid, then shake to combine.

Variations

The great thing about this radicchio salad recipe is you can easily create different flavor variations!

  • For a touch of creaminess and extra bold flavor, crumble some blue cheese, feta, or goat cheese on top.
  • You can also add a little bit of sliced red onion, toasted pine nuts or thin semicircles of crisp fennel for an extra savory flavor. 
  • The sweet and bitter flavors also go well with a generous handful of mint leaves or chicory tossed into the salad. 
  • Toss in a handful of lacinato kale, arugula, or watercress.
  • Change up the dressing: try a honey mustard Vinaigrette or poppy seed dressing.
  • Add garbanzo beans or leftover turkey for a protein boost.
A salad serving of radicchio frisée salad and a small pitcher of lemon-honey vinaigrette in the background.

Storing Radicchio Frisée Salad

Storing the salad is simple as long as you keep the prepared dressing separate from the rest of the ingredients.

Store the radicchio and frisée lettuce in the refrigerator along with the sliced apples. Store the dressing in an airtight container in the fridge as well. Keep the candied pecans at room temperature until it’s time to serve. 

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A bowl of radicchio frisée salad with apple slices and candied pecans.

Radicchio Frisée Salad

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

The bold flavors of this Radicchio Frisée Salad are complimented with with the sweetness of crisp apple slices, crunchy candied pecans and a tangy lemon-honey vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of radicchio lettuce, about 10 oz.
  • 1 large head of frisée lettuce, about 12 oz.
  • 2 sweet red apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup whole candied pecans

Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated or minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup light olive oil

Instructions

For the Radicchio Frisée Salad:

  1. Pull the leaves off the radicchio and tear into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl.  Trim the frisée and tear into pieces and add to the bowl.
  2. Add the apple slices to a dish and drizzle with lemon juice, toss to coat then remove, pat dry with paper towels and add to the salad bowl.

For the Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette:

  1. In a small dish, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. While whisking continuously, slow pour in the oil whisking until the mixture becomes creamy.  
  2. When ready to serve, drizzle and toss the salad with about 4-6 tablespoons of the vinaigrette.  Add additional vinaigrette according to your taste.  

Notes

  • A melon ball scoop it a useful tool to remove the apple core.
  • Drizzle the apple slices with lemon juice will keep the apples from discoloring.
  • The vinaigrette can also be prepared by adding the ingredients to a small jar with a lid then shake to combine.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 224Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 158mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 3gSugar: 13gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is a guideline only. It is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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