Food, Side Dishes

Radicchio and Wild Greens Salad with Asiago, Macadamia Nuts and Cranberries

Nicoletta February 4, 2016

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The flavors of this radicchio salad blend beautifully between sweet, tangy, bitter, crunchy and chewy. The well balanced flavors of the vinaigrette give this complex dressing an unbelievable subtleness.

Radicchio and wild greens salad with Asiago, macadamia nuts and cranberries

Now that I’m back working, an easy, fast, and conscious-eating salad is my go-to for most of my lunches. It is practical, nutritious and tasty at the same time. And you can make endless variations so you’ll  never be tired of it. Just exchange types of greens; get the crunch from nuts and fruits (fresh or dried); add some protein of your choice (mine is usually among: legumes, tofu, dairy, sometimes a boiled egg or canned tuna); include grains, olives, tomatoes, boiled potatoes, fennel, radishes; mix, match and concoct different dressings and the problem is solved.

 

 

Radicchio and wild greens salad

To make this salad I used a crisp lettuce, few aromatic wild greens, some colorful and bitter radicchio leaves, a handful of cranberries, scattered macadamia nuts, and a generous dose of grated Asiago.  The idea of the grated Asiago, instead of the chunks or slices, came from a delicious kale salad with grated Pecorino on top that we had in a restaurant in Calgary. I liked that the cheese just mingled harmoniously with the other ingredients without being predominant.

Generally, I only dress my salad with cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Boring, I know, but I like it like that. No pepper, no vinegar, not even a squeeze of lemon. And never -unless for reasons beyond my control- a bottled dressing. Here, in this Radicchio and Wild Greens Salad with Asiago, Macadamia Nuts and Cranberries, I asked for Loreto’s help to create a vinaigrette that complimented the salad but that was also appealing to my tastebuds. It didn’t have to be strong and acidic, for once, but it needed add an interest and build a dimension to a simple mixed salad. Loreto is pretty amazing in everything he does in the kitchen, but sauces, dips and dressings are his “forte”. Not mine in the least .

The flavors of the salad blend beautifully between sweet, tangy, bitter, crunchy and chewy. The vinaigrette is not overpowering, I can actually enjoy it 😉 . Layers of flavor ranging from the earthiness of the olive oil, blended with the sweetness of the tropical juice and sugar, a bit of bite from the sriracha, added nuttiness from the peanut sauce, and mayo to balance all the flavors equally, giving this complex dressing an unbelievable subtleness.

I packed the greens in a big Tupperware that has on the lid little pockets for the toppings and a little bottle for the dressing. I am set. Having lunch on my desk at work, is not that bad, after all.

Radicchio and wild greens salad with Asiago, macadamia nuts and cranberries

Radicchio and wild greens salad with Asiago, macadamia nuts and cranberries

[Some notes on radicchio, since I’m italian and mostly because I love it, every variety of it. My favorite is Radicchio di Treviso IGP in the tardivo type, with its lancelike leaves, tightly packed heads that come to a point at the top, deep red in color with a white rib, distinctive bitter flavor and crunchy texture, and high prize. Perfect either raw or cooked, often seen in risotto or grilled. I’ve never seen it in Canada, unfortunately. Radicchio di Verona IGP, long oval shape, compact leaves of intense dark red decorated with a white midrib. Again, perfect either raw or cooked, from appetizers to dessert. Radicchio di Chioggia, with its cabbage-shaped head is the most commonly found in supermarkets in Italy and abroad and it is the variety I used for this salad. Mostly used in salads, but it’s good also cooked (if you don’t find the other varieties you can still make a pretty good risotto with it). Radicchio di Castelfranco, less known and widespread, with its yellowish cream leaf and red speckles, it is a tender, beautiful, rose-shaped lettuce, used in salads.]

Enjoy your weekday, and don’t forget to smile 🙂 .

Song of the day: Sam Hunt, “Take your Time”.

Print

Radicchio and Wild Greens Salad with Asiago, Macadamia Nuts and Cranberries

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 2 cups lettuce, shredded
  • 4 radicchio leaves, shredded
  • 1/2 cup wild greens
  • cranberries, a handful
  • macadamia nuts, a handful
  • 1/4 cup Asiago, grated

For the dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon mayo
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill
  • Salt and pepper
  • Drop of sriracha sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of tropical juice of your choice
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of peanut sauce
  • Couple drops of balsamic vinegar

Instructions

Salad:

  1. In a bowl mix in all the greens and radicchio.
  2. Top with dried cranberries, macadamia nuts and grated Asiago cheese.

Dressing:

  1. In a large ramekin pour in oil, juice, balsamic vinegar.
  2. Whisk vigorously and sprinkle dried dill, sriracha, sugar, peanut sauce, salt and pepper, while mixing.
  3. Add mayo and whisk again till dressing becomes smooth.
  4. Pour dressing a little at a time on top of salad till desired flavor is achieved.
  5. Ready to serve.

Notes

You do not have to use all the dressing, just taste as you mix till the flavor meets your taste. You can store the rest of the dressing in the fridge for a couple days.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 servings
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Radicchio and wild greens salad with Asiago, macadamia nuts and cranberries

More salad ideas? We’ve got you covered:

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10 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply karrie @ Tasty Ever After February 4, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    How can you make a salad look so elegant and beautiful? I love radicchio too, especially grilled or sauteed, but it’s always finding it’s way into my salads. I have some macadamia nuts and cranberries on hand so trying this recipe tomorrow for lunch 🙂

  • Nicoletta
    Reply Nicoletta February 5, 2016 at 2:59 am

    Hi Karrie! Thank you so much for your comment. I love grilled radicchio too! I don’t know if it’s easier where you live to find the different varieties, but if you can, try them. These days I’m in Rome, and we already hit some pretty good temperatures for jan/feb (even 18°C!) so having a salad for lunch it’s almost automatic 🙂 . By the way, I’ll be here until april, so if you ever want to come, I’ll be more than happy!!

  • Avatar
    Reply OutinVancouver February 5, 2016 at 9:54 am

    That looks yummy! I am currently trying to get some salad recipe inspiration, time to live healthy again and get in shape for summer 😉

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 6, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Never too early to start getting in shape for summer 🙂 . This is an easy but very tasty salad, great lunch idea. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Avatar
    Reply Louisa [Living Lou] February 5, 2016 at 11:09 am

    This is a beautiful salad! I’m always looking for healthy lunch ideas and this sounds perfect. I’m the complete opposite from you when it comes to dressings, the more vinegar the better! If I’m making a salad just for myself, I tend to make a dressing with a 2:1 ratio of vinegar to olive oil!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 6, 2016 at 11:52 am

      Thank you Louisa! I know, I am a “no vinegar” person, but I could bathe in olive oil 😉 . I find salads to be such a great and versatile lunch idea, so many possibilities.

  • Avatar
    Reply Angela Chu February 5, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Your description of the food always makes my mouth water!! Pinned this recipe 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 6, 2016 at 11:54 am

      Thanks Angela, you’re so sweet!

  • Avatar
    Reply Marie February 7, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    I love salads that with lots of textures and bright flavors. Yours ticks all the boxes! I very rarely use macademia nuts, and you’ve just given me the inspiration to experiment with them more. Sprinkling nuts over salads is a habit of mine, so I’ll sure try assembling your flavors next time I whip up a bowl of greens 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 7, 2016 at 11:47 pm

      In my salads (and I eat them very often) I like playing with textures, flavors, and also colors 😉 . Macadamia nuts have a wonderful mild, buttery flavor that were the right compliment to this salad. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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