Ever tried radicchio? Italian leaf chicory

Fresh radicchio from the field

Welcome to my dad’ s vegetable patch! For those who don’t know what those green and red leaves are, this is radicchio. A chicory leaf which grows in the colder climate of the north of Italy.

Polenta, fresh cheese and radicchio are a match made in heaven. Ever tried it?


The simple rustic taste of wholesome food gradually gets your taste buds accustomed to proper food so that you will find processed food completely tasteless.

Radicchio has always been staple food in my family. It is similar to salad but it is not salad as such. It has white-veined red leaves with a bitter taste which mellows when cooked. Also its texture is different: it is more of a tough salad with “character” 🙂

To grow well it needs a cold and dry climate like the one in Northern Italy. Last year I had a go at growing it in England but due to the heavy rain most of it went rotten. I will try again but I will cover it up next time so the soil won’t get too soaked.

In Northern Italy it is a really popular crop and many people mostly have it instead of salad. It is also used in cooking and can be enjoyed chargrilled, on top of pizza or to make lasagne like my mum did last time I went to see her.

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13 Responses to Ever tried radicchio? Italian leaf chicory

  1. Mich - Piece of Cake

    What a beautiful vegetable patch and I love the colour of the radicchio!

  2. Zoe

    I have not tried eating and cooking radicchio. Your dad’s radicchio looks wonderful.

  3. Günther (@Gunther64)

    eh si c’è radicchio e radicchio, non tutti conoscono varietà e differenze

  4. Catherine

    I am a HUGE radicchio fan and love it when it comes into season. I am far too lazy to grow it – and it costs zero at the Sunday markets. I also love it every way possible – salads, grilled, even stir-fried with chilli. I go rather crazy!

  5. Recetario Spanglish para mis hijos

    Hi Alida, these leaves look great. In USA radicchio is a kind of cabbage, and it has a ball shape and Chicory (here), has leaves like the lettuce. I think you´ve seen my post, I also cooked radicchio in the oven. I´ve never seen leaves like you are showing in the last picture. Un beso,

  6. soulofspice

    I’ve never tried radiocchio but always wanted to. look forward to you recipes. btw your last pix is so pretty!!

  7. lazylauramaisey

    I have a great recipe which uses pickled radicchio but I don’t find it that easy to get hold of so I use chicory instead. I like radicchio when I can find it though.

    • My Little Italian Kitchen

      Yes, you don’t find it everywhere. Usually they sell it in small greengrocers on the high streets. Chicory is a good substitute though.

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