Strawberry-Balsamic Radicchio Salad

Clearly, someone had a little too much fun with the radicchio...

But seriously, I think radicchio is way under-appreciated and deserves to be celebrated. It's quite bitter, which can be a turn-off if it's not treated properly. But if you give it the love it deserves, radicchio can be such a delightful, interesting, and beautiful (look at that color!) salad ingredient.

Because of its bitterness, I especially love radicchio when paired with some sweeter ingredients. Fruit is especially delicious with it, as is balsamic.

Here, I make use of the much-loved combination of strawberry and balsamic for a twist on radicchio that is familiar and yet surprising. The radicchio's subtle bitterness is such a perfect partner for the fresh, sweet strawberries. Pistachios add a satisfying crunch. Something creamy and fresh like goat cheese could be a great addition too.

The dressing is to die for, it's my absolute favorite way to treat radicchio. Strawberry-infused balsamic makes it sweet and bold, black pepper give it subtle kick, and a little splash of bourbon makes it so unique.

This salad would be such a perfect addition to a brunch spread. I always like to have something raw and fresh with brunch, to complement the heavier dishes. The fruit in the salad makes it feel brunch-appropriate.

It would also feel at home alongside any spring or summer dinner, and especially at a BBQ. Summer is the time for all things fruit, right?? Grilled fruit, fruit salsas, fruit salads... think of this as a fruit salad with a major twist.

Of course, you don't need to cut the radicchio into a flower like I did here. It would be very quick to just chop it into ribbons and toss it with the dressing. But if you want to go big with the radicchio flower, you just need a very sharp knife (I used a serrated tomato knife) and some patience. Instant table centerpiece!

To do it, stand the radicchio up on its stem and make four even vertical cuts, cutting the radicchio into eights (like cutting a pie, but be really gentle and work from the top downward). Cut down to, but not into, the stem, since you need the stem to hold your flower together. Then, again very gently, fan out the eight sections.

Cutest brunch salad ever!

Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram.

Looking for another veggie-forward dish perfect for a brunch or party? Check out these adorable little Brussel Sprout "Toasts" with Ricotta Salata and Asparagus. Or, for another brunch-appropriate salad, take a look at my go-to Breakfast Salad.

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are all just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)
For the Salad
  • Large head of radicchio
  • Strawberries
  • Pistachios. I prefer roasted and salted. You can roast them yourself if you prefer to buy raw.
  • Goat cheese. Optional, I've shown a fully plant-based version here, but it would be a tasty addition. 
For the Dressing
  • Strawberry balsamic (start with 2-3 tbsp). Any artisan oil/vinegar store will have this. I love having it on-hand for summer salads.
  • Regular balsamic (start with 1 tbsp)
  • Subtly-flavored olive oil (start with 1-3 tbsp). I prefer really low-oil salad dressings because I love the bite of the vinegar, but use whatever your preferences dictate. I like a really subtle flavor for this application, like extra virgin, so as not to over-complicate the flavors.
  • Little splash of bourbon. Optional, but it makes this salad so unique.
  • Little splash of maple syrup. Optional, but add it if you want to subdue the vinegar a bit.
  • Generous black pepper
  • Salt
Thoughts About Method
(These are all just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. Prep the radicchio however you wish- either like the flower shown above, or cut into ribbons.
  2. Prep the strawberries, again however you wish.
  3. Mix together your dressing. This one is a bit out of the box, so taste and adjust as you go. If it's too bold or too thin for your preference, add more olive oil and/or maple syrup.
  4. Assemble the salad. Be as artistic as you want. Toppings like pistachios (or other nuts) and cheese are best saved for the end so that they don't get soggy or clumpy.
  5. Dress the salad based on how you plan to serve it. My preference is to drizzle a bit over the top, then keep some on the side for individual servings. Radicchio won't get soggy like lettuce does, but the balsamic will discolor the whiter leaves, so toss at your own discretion.
  6. Have fun with this one! It's meant to be pretty but also sort of silly and whimsical, so make an absurd radicchio flower and love however it turns out.


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