Fresh leafy veggies are a staple in healthy home cooking. Whether you are preparing a salad or whipping up a complex dish, leafy vegetables provide not only freshness, but a delectable flavor as well.
You can eat radicchio raw with oil and salt, or you can mix it with other ingredients. It gives off some spiciness when you roast or grills it. If you need it for your salad or dish but it is unfortunately unavailable, don’t fret. There are many substitutes that you can use in its stead, depending on what you need.
- Romaine Lettuce
- Curly Endive
- Mustard Greens
- Red Cabbage
Read on if you are keen to know why the Italians love to add this veggie to their pasta or use it for stuffing.
14 Best Substitute For Radicchio
Radicchio has a slightly bitter taste, and comes with predominantly red color with distinct white veins that add a special touch to dishes.
It is popular in many cuisines, particularly Italian. It has a slightly bitter taste, and comes with a predominantly red color with distinct white veins that add a special touch to dishes.
Whatever your reason for looking for a radicchio substitute, there is a wide array of choices available for you, depending on what particular aspect of your dish you want to fill.
Let’s discuss each alternative in more detail to help you decide which one will be suitable for your needs.
Endive is a delicate vegetable with a bitter taste and unique appearance. It is popular in European cooking. It should be the first on the list of radicchio alternatives because of its many uses. Also known as Belgian endive, the veggie is also very common in Belgium.
You can eat it raw, baked or grilled, and you can add it to any recipe that requires radicchio. It is perfect for salad recipes with its light color and bitter taste. If preferred, you can add it to chicken or fish.
Endive has a sharp flavor and crisp texture. However, when you cook it, its flavors turn mellow, and its texture softens.
With its green color and curly leaves, this vegetable is often added to salads to provide a pleasant bitter taste. The taste and texture, however, turn mellow when cooked.
The leaves of curly endives are fresh green in color, with some yellow parts. It provides a good replacement for radicchio in various recipes.
The signature bitter taste with subtle peppery hints of mustard greens makes the veggie an ideal replacement for recipes that call for radicchio. The veggie is also a popular ingredient and thickening agent in Asian cuisines.
It has a strong bitter taste, although not as strong as that of radicchio. Aside from the prominent bitter taste, mustard greens also offer a mild peppery undertone.
Mustard greens also complement various dishes that require sautéing, boiling, or steaming by providing a subtle layer of aroma. As a substitute for radicchio, it is best used as thickening agent in Asian dishes.
You can consume mustard greens raw with vinegar and oil, or mix them in soups with other greens. With its similar bitter flavor, you can use the 1:1 substitution ratio when using mustard greens as a replacement for radicchio in recipes.
When looking for a nutritious substitute for radicchio in various recipes, arugula should be among the first on the list. Arugula bears a leafy appearance with a fresh, tart, bitter, and peppery taste.
Arugula is popular as a pizza topping because of the extra flavor it provides. When baked, however, its taste may vary, and it can actually be used as a seasoning.
You can serve arugula with salads or different types of fish. As a radicchio substitute, you can use it in practically any recipe that requires radicchio.
Watercress is an aquatic flowering plant found mostly in Europe and Asia. It is another leafy vegetable that you can use as a cooking ingredient in lieu of radicchio.
You can cook and consume it in the same ways as you would use radicchio. You can even eat it raw and enjoy its bitter taste. To substitute for radicchio, you can use the 1:1 replacement ratio.
If you are looking for a substitute for radicchio in your grilled or roasted recipes, red cabbage would be a good choice. While red cabbage may not be an exact match to radicchio’s bitter taste, it will provide the same vibrant red color to dishes that radicchio brings.
Because the two veggies share a somewhat similar appearance, they are often mistaken for each other in grocery stores.
Radicchio has less waxy and thinner leaves, while red cabbage has crunchier and thicker leaves that come in a uniform purple color.
As mentioned, the flavor that red cabbage provides is a little milder compared to that of radicchio. This will result to a bit of difference in the taste of your dish.
However, the difference is minimal and should not be a big factor, unless you are a picky eater.
To substitute for radicchio, use the 1:1 substitution ratio. This will ensure a close match to radicchio’s bitter flavor.
Another leafy veggie that you can use as a radicchio substitute in recipes is Romaine lettuce. It is often used in salads where it provides a unique taste that is distinct from other vegetables, including radicchio.
However, Romaine lettuce shares the same texture with radicchio when used in salads and sandwiches. The taste is also comparable to radicchio.
Next on the list of suitable radicchio substitutes is chicory. Like celery, you can eat the leaves raw, while you need to boil the roots first to make them edible.
The vegetable is used for cooking as a spice because of the aroma and extra flavor it provides to dishes. Though the leaves are a little tough, it can be used in salads just the same.
Dandelion greens are easy to find in most local grocery stores. Some people even have them in their own backyard garden.
Children are known to make wishes by blowing dandelion’s fluffy white tufts off. Adults, on the other hand, use dandelions for more practical reasons – for food, especially before they bloom, when the leaves are pleasantly delicate.
While dandelion greens don’t have radicchio’s crunchy texture, they share the same peppery, bitter, and nutty flavor with hints of earthy tones of radicchio.
The bitterness of dandelion greens, while not very pleasant for some, makes them healthy. Harvest them early to lessen the bitter taste.
To offset the unnecessary bitterness, chefs typically mix dairy products like cheese or milk with dandelion greens, especially when used as a substitute for radicchio. You can also highlight dandelion greens’ earthy flavor by adding protein sources like bacon and pork meat.
When using dandelion greens as a radicchio substitute, use a substitution ratio of 1:1. This means that if the recipe requires 1 cup of radicchio, you can replace it with a cup of dandelion greens. This is because dandelion greens, like radicchio, have a similar flavor profile.
Free has curly short leaves and offers a bitter taste. It is a good option when looking for a radicchio substitute. Depending on what you need, you can cook the veggie in various ways.
It is often eaten raw, but is also added to salads or used as sandwich toppings. Its light green leaves that are yellow at the end are quite crunchy and versatile. You can use it as a radicchio substitute in numerous recipes.
Radish earns a spot on this suitable radicchio substitute list because of the similarities it shares with radicchio. You can use it as a replacement ingredient in all recipes that require radicchio.
Radish is packed with nutrients, and can be eaten raw. Its leaves can also be used as an ingredient in various salad recipes where they provide a crispy, zesty, and a bit spicy taste.
Another leafy vegetable with a texture that is similar to radicchio, and one that can make a good substitute is Treviso. The harvest time for Treviso will depend on how you intend to use it – harvesting early will give you tightly closed leaves, while harvesting late will give you leaves that are unfolded and open.
When used as an ingredient in dishes, Treviso provides a crunchy texture that comes with a mild flavor and hints of sweetness. Depending on what dish you are preparing, you can cook the veggie or use it raw.
Many cooks love to toss escarole into minestrones and winter soups, but not because the veggie is available only during winter. Truth is, escarole is widely available throughout the year.
As a stand in for radicchio, the curled, robust, and rugged vegetable provides a similar slightly bitter flavor and chewy texture. If you closely examine escarole’s thick leaves, you will notice the white color along the ribs, and the dark green color along the margins that are frilled gently.
Compared to radicchio, escarole is cheaper. The best part is its wide availability all year round, making it a very convenient replacement for radicchio.
Despite being available anytime of the year, however, many people still prefer to use it during winter for their minestrone and winter soup recipes, although it can also be a suitable ingredient for pasta recipes. You can simply sauté it, and it works well with dishes that have a less bitter taste.
When cooked properly, the vegetable retains its crispy texture. All the leafy portions become chewier and thicker, similar to the texture of spinach.
When used as a replacement for radicchio, apply the 1:1 ratio. This will help you achieve the closest match to radicchio’s flavor. You cannot find many other better alternatives to radicchio than escarole.
Also known as French endive, frisee is another suitable replacement for radicchio in various recipes.
This type of endive’s short, curly leaves have a bitter flavor, and you can cook them in various ways. You can eat frisee raw, and you can use it as a salad ingredient or toppings for sandwiches.
Frisee’s light green-colored leaves with yellow ends are quite crunchy that will remind you of radicchio. Thus, you can use it as a replacement for radicchio in various dishes.