With its slightly astringent bite, radicchio isn’t a vegetable I cook with frequently—truth be told, I’ve used it only a handful of times. Recently, though, I stumbled across a method for cooking it that promised to transform it into something much more palatable: roasting! I’m surprised I didn’t think of it myself. What vegetable doesn’t benefit from a little olive oil and some time in the oven at high heat? Roasting radicchio brings out its sweetness, especially in the tender inner leaves. The outer leaves retain some of their bite, but those inner leaves practically melt in your mouth.
I served my roasted radicchio alongside a warm lentil dish that features one of my absolute favorite veggies: Brussels sprouts. I also added pomegranates for a textural contrast and a bite of sweet juiciness that plays well with the strongly flavored sprouts, and a sprinkle of pine nuts adds the finishing touch! I flavored my lentil dish with Trader Joe’s orange muscat champagne vinegar, a lovely mild vinegar that even I—a noted vinegar-hater—can’t totally dislike. If you don’t have it, though, feel free to use another light vinegar and a bit of freshly squeezed orange juice.
Warm Lentil & Brussels Sprout Salad with Roasted Radicchio Wedges
For the radicchio:
- One head radicchio
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 clove garlic, minced as finely as you can get it (or pressed)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Dash freshly ground black pepper
For the Brussels sprouts:
- 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
For the lentils:
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup brown lentils
For the dressing/salad:
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon orange muscat champagne vinegar (or 1/2 tablespoon your favorite vinegar + 1/2 tablespoon orange juice)
- 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup or agave nectar
- 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Pine nuts for topping (optional but highly recommended)
Add the water to a medium sauce pot and heat on high. Preheat oven to 425˚. Prepare a short-rimmed baking pan by spraying it with oil or lining it with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the radicchio marinade: olive oil, maple syrup, garlic, and salt. Set aside.
Quarter the radicchio by trimming the woody bottom off and cutting the radicchio into four wedges. Using a pastry brush, coat all of the exposed surfaces of each wedge with the olive oil marinade. Place cut-side down on the baking pan and place in the oven while you prep the Brussels sprouts.
If the water’s boiling at this point, add the lentils, cover the pot, and turn the heat down to a simmer.
Roughly quarter each Brussels sprout (or halve them if they’re particularly small). You don’t have to use uniform precision; just make sure each piece is roughly the same size. Add to a bowl and toss with the olive oil, garlic, salt, and paprika until well coated. Remove the baking pan with the radicchio from the oven and add the Brussels sprouts to the pan. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then flip the radicchio quarters so the other cut side is down and give the Brussels sprouts a good stir. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the Brussels sprouts start to crisp up.
While the veggies are roasting, keep an eye on the lentils. When all the water is absorbed, turn off the stove and remove the pot from the heat. Uncover it and let it sit, stirring the lentils frequently to cool them a bit.
After the lentils have cooled for about five minutes, drizzle in the dressing ingredients and stir until the lentils are well coated. Allow the mixture to sit while the veggies finish roasting.
Once the Brussels sprouts are crispy and the radicchio has wilted and darkened, remove them from the oven. Toss the Brussels sprouts with the lentils, top with pine nuts, and serve immediately with the radicchio wedges on the side.
What’s your favorite way to serve radicchio? Brussels sprouts?