Radicchio is a red leafy vegetable, that is said to be native to Italy. It is slightly bitter and spicy in taste, and is mainly used in salads. It can also be grilled, sauteed, or roasted, to reduce the bitterness. Radicchio is a leaf chicory, which has red leaves with white veins. While some types of chicory plants are cultivated for their leaves that are used as a vegetable; some others are grown for their roots, that are baked and ground, and used as a coffee substitute. There are around 19 varieties of radicchio, and most of them are named after different regions in Italy, from where they originated. The most commonly available type is radicchio di Chioggia. Others include radicchio di Treviso, radicchio di Castelfranco, Tardivo, and Gorizia. It was during the 1980s, that this vegetable became popular in the U.S. Apart from adding color and flavor to dishes, radicchio is also highly nutritious.

Nutritional Value

Radicchio is a rich source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It has high levels of antioxidants, and studies show that the antioxidant content in radicchio is higher than that of spinach and blueberries. This vegetable is low in calories, and is free of fats and cholesterol. 100 grams of raw radicchio contains 4.5 grams of carbohydrates, one gram sugar, one gram dietary fiber, 1.5 grams protein, and 93 grams of water. The calorific value is 23 calories. Go through the following table for information about other nutrients in 100 grams of raw radicchio.

Vitamin A27 IU
Vitamin C8 mg
Vitamin B10.016 mg
Vitamin B20.028 mg
Vitamin B30.255 mg
Vitamin E2.26 mg
Vitamin K255.2 mcg
Folate60 mcg
Calcium19 mg
Magnesium13 mg
Potassium302 mg
Phosphorus40 mg
Iron0.57 mg
Zinc0.62 mg

* Source: USDA National Nutrient Database

You may include radicchio in your diet, and reap the benefits offered by this leafy vegetable. You can either buy fresh radicchio from the market or else, grow them in your garden during the spring or fall. Avoid using bruised or wilted radicchio. This vegetable tastes great with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, lemon, bacon, garlic, anchovies, butter, and cheese. If you are averse to the flavor of this vegetable, you may use Belgian endive as a radicchio substitute in recipes that call for radicchio.