Salad isn’t served before a meal in Italy, but rather after the meal as a digestive. You won’t find it soaked in dressing either. If you want dressing you can sprinkle a little extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, and salt on it but there’s not really such a thing as “Italian dressing.” We found some gorgeous salad greens at the Market we visited in the image below.
Italians eat seasonal fruits and vegetables, but due to their temperate climate, many items such as ripe tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini were still available even in November and December. The weather is somewhat similar to Southern California, where I live, except that Italy is a little cooler and has more rain. We were very comfortable while we were there.
Fresh salad leaves, other than Iceberg lettuce may be difficult to find if you live in certain parts of the country but many stores import bagged greens from California, Chile and other warm parts of the world at your neighborhood store.
I used radicchio and arugula in this salad. Both are popular in Italy and it’s often baked or sautéed. Radicchio has a sharp flavor and arugula is slightly peppery.
Arugula, also known as Rocket, is heart healthy because it raises your level of nitric oxide. It’s also rich in chlorophyll and will help prevent liver and DNA damage caused by toxins in your body. It’s better to eat it raw rather than cooked, for this reason, because more chlorophyll is retained. It’s a cleansing salad green that will keep your colon happy and healthy.
Radicchio is a member of the chicory family and contains a high level of plant compounds high in anti-oxidants. An ancient Roman philosopher, Pliny the Elder praised radicchio for its medicinal properties. He claimed it was a blood purifier and a natural sedative for people with insomnia. One cup of radicchio will give you 100% of your vitamin K needs, support bone health and resistance to insulin.
This radicchio and arugula salad is attractive, cleansing, high in anti-aging nutrition and tasty. I hope you’ll give it a try.
- 2 cups of fresh baby arugula
- 1 small head of radicchio (washed, patted dry and torn into 2" pieces)
- ¼ cup of pine nuts (roasted)
- ½ cup of Gorgonzola cheese crumbled
- ½ of a small stalk of fennel - Cut the fennel lengthwise and cut out the core. Slice the fennel into very thin slices crosswise.
- ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- Arrange the arugula and radicchio in a salad bowl
- Top with pine nuts, fennel slices, and Gorgonzola cheese.
- Put the dressing ingredients in a covered jar and shake.
- Toss dressing with the salad or serve on the side.