In winter, salad is usually far from our minds, but we know we need veggies to keep our bodies strong and vibrant. Roasted radicchio gives you the ability to have the best of both- a warm, savoury meal with tons of fiber and plant nutrients. It is a somewhat exotic in North America, but the leaves of this chicory plant are often used in Italy for it’s bold, bitter flavour. Try it as an addition to your next weeknight dinner.
Prep Time: 35 mins
Cook Time: 20
1 large head of radicchio, quartered through core end with some core still attached
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons coconut vinegar
1 Tablespoon coconut aminos
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp dried thyme (optional)
Black pepper to taste
½ cup sunflower seeds soaked (2 hrs) & rinsed
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tablespoon of maple syrup
a pinch of salt
If making the dressing, set the seeds in a small bowl and cover with spring water. Allow to soften for at least 2 hours or overnight. If you are not taking this additional step and using your own dressing, make sure that it is a creamy, rich one that is slightly sweet. This is because the radicchio is bitter and slightly sour in taste, and so if left unpaired with a mild flavour to balance it can be overwhelming.
Next, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and coconut vinegar, aminos, maple syrup, thyme and pepper. Set aside so that the flavours can blend together. If you are in WildFit Spring, you do not need to add the maple syrup, but it is in the marinade to help the leaves caramelize slightly. Some vegetables contain more natural sugars to do this task, but this particular one does not. It will still roast fine without.
Remove any older leaves and cut radicchio lengthwise into quarters, leaving the core attached to each wedge to hold the leaves together. Rinse wedges in cold water and gently shake off excess water. Do not dry completely, as some water remaining will steam the leaves, softening them as they roast.
Once marinade has set for 10 minutes, place radicchio in large bowl and drizzle the marinade over the quarters to coat. Leave to marinade for 30 minutes so the vinegar can go to work softening the fibers in the leaves of the radicchio.
While that is happening, prepare the dressing in your blender by combining the soaked, rinsed seeds with the lemon juice, maple syrup, and salt. Again, the maple syrup is not necessary but balances the flavours. If not using, add 1 Tablespoon of nut butter in its place. Once blended add water 1 Tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired thickness. I like it quite thick but pourable. Set aside for flavours to combine.
While marinade is happening, preheat your oven to 450°F. Set to roast, not broil, so leaves can cook through.
Arrange the wedges, cut side up, on rimmed baking sheet. As the dressing will caramelize, I like to use a sheet of silicone (or reusable parchment) over the sheet first. Place wedges in the oven at the back and roast until wilted, about 12 minutes. Turn over with tongs and roast until tender, about 8 minutes longer. Each oven is different, so keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
Once roasted, arrange on a platter to serve with the dressing on the side. You can also add the quarters to a bed of greens or winter salad, core chopped off so leaves fan out.
This is best served fresh and warm, however can add depth of flavour to the next day’s meal prep salad if used sparingly.