A quick and delicious salad to try this weekend, featuring the mother of bitter veg – radicchio. Bitter vegetables work their magic by triggering sensory receptors in your mouth. This then sends a message through your central nervous system to your digestive organs, initiating responses such as appetite stimulation and increased bile flow from your liver, pancreas and gallbladder, which has a flow-on effect for blood sugar stabilisation.
Sadly, we don’t eat enough bitter vegetables as we used to, so if you feel you are lacking in them, this is a good place to start.
Radicchio, Brussel Spout and Walnut Salad
1 small head of radicchio
2 handfuls of brussells sprouts (halved)
1 handful of walnuts
1 small red chilli
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon (zest and juice)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
olive oil and salt
1 fried egg (vegans/non egg eaters might substitute with green lentils)
Sprinkle of parsley
To note: if you are vegan, omit the anchovies and try adding some lentils or chickpeas for a source of protein.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Cut your brussels sprouts in half (there’s no need to cut the ends off, once they’re roasted everything will be soft and delicious).
Place the sprouts on a baking tray and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and salt. Use your hands to toss so everything is nicely coated. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes, or until they are soft and lightly golden.
While the brussels sprouts are cooking, add the anchovies and garlic to a mortar and pestle and pound into a paste. Add finely chopped red chilli to the paste and put aside.
Turn your radicchio upside down and make four incisions in a square around the core. Chop the radicchio in half and remove each core – you can use these extra leaves in the core or pop into your compost. Take your two halves of radicchio and pull the individual leaves apart. You want the leaves to act almost as a bowl that will hold our delicious dressing.
Arrange the leaves in a big salad bowl (or individual bowls).
Add some olive oil to a fry pan on medium heat, and when heated add in your anchovy paste. This only needs to be cooked for about one minute to develop some flavour, then kill the heat and add in your lemon juice, zest and red wine vinegar. Stir to combine.
Add the dressing to the salad and toss the leaves making sure everything is nice and coated. Add in your roasted brussels sprouts, chopped walnuts and any other desired toppings. I also love adding nigella seeds, a fried egg and whatever greenery I have handy in the fridge.
For a step by step video, see here.