Radicchio Salad With Creamy Castelvetrano Olive Dressing

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radicchio salad with Castelvetrano olives
Photo: Erin Scott

Radicchio. Cichorium intybus. Its red color makes it the flamboyant, nonconformist member of the chicory clan, while its bittersweet flavor, wide availability, and versatility—it can be served raw, grilled, sautéed, or roasted—make it one of the more common types to find on the plate. —Jenn Louis, The Book of Greens: A Cook’s Compendium

There are several ways to tame the bitterness of chicories, one obvious way is to match it head-to-head with some level of creaminess. Here, ripe green olives and the salty parmesan cheese team up in a one-two punch of creamy texture and salty essence that turns the bitter nature of raw radicchio into a bright and crunchy salad.


Radicchio Salad With Creamy Casteltravano Olive Dressing

Because radicchio has more backbone than most salad greens and won’t wilt sadly within minutes, this salad is a fabulous option for occasions when the food may sit around a bit—potlucks, buffets, holiday tables.
  • Author: Molly Watson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: toss
  • Cuisine: American


  • 6 large green olives Castelvetranos are a perfect choice
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium head radicchio


  1. Pit the olives: set them on a cutting board, smash each one with a knife handle, flat meat pounder, or the bottom of a small frying pan or saucepan. Remove and discard the pits. Mince the olives. You want them truly minced—almost to the point of being a paste. Go ahead and use the side of the knife to mash the olives a bit as you go. Put the minced olive/puree in the bottom of a large salad bowl.
  2. Peel and mince the garlic; add it to the olives. Whisk in the vinegar. Whisk in the olive oil. Whisk in half of the cheese. Whisk in the salt and pepper.
  3. Cut out and discard the core of the radicchio. Chop the head into salad-size pieces. Add them to the bowl. Toss them with the dressing on the bottom of the bowl. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese for a snowy effect. Serve as soon as you like.


You can make the dressing in a blender or food processor for faster prep but more clean-up but it only takes a few moments with a sharp knife to get the olives and garlic into a suitable mince.


  • Serving Size: 4

Keywords: radicchio, salad, casteltravano olives, bitter greens