Foundation Diet and Health
Diet and Health
QR Code
The best perspective for your health
This page was translated through Google Translator

Radicchio, raw (organic?)

Radicchio (also known as red chicory) is usually wine-red in color and has a bitter, spicy taste. It is good to eat raw - preferably organic.
Macronutrient carbohydrates 72.73%
Macronutrient proteins 23.21%
Macronutrient fats 4.06%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, 0.1g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, <0.1g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = 0:0

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Values are too small to be relevant.

Radicchio , raw ( Cichorium intybus var. foliosum ), is a cultivated form of the common chicory (chicory). 10 This leafy vegetable belongs to the chicory family, like chicory , endive , frisée (curly endive) and sugarloaf. Raw radicchio leaves ( organic? ) usually have an intense wine-red to violet color, which only develops at cooler temperatures. 13,16 There are also colorful or green radicchio varieties. 11,12,16

Use in the kitchen

Radicchio has many names and exists in numerous varieties. However, radicchio mainly refers to the red, slightly bitter leafy vegetable (red radicchio), 20 which is also known in the local dialect and trade by the following names: Cicorino Rosso, Cicoria Rossa, red chicory or red endive (for the variety of names and varieties, see "Possible confusion" and the ingredient chicory ).

Can you eat radicchio raw? Yes, the salad is good to eat raw and tastes particularly delicious with quinoa and fennel , together with various types of lettuce in a mixed salad or in a wrap, in Mediterranean salad dishes or in a pasta salad. It also goes very well with sweet vegetables and fruit, as it creates a sweet-tart contrast. The raw radicchio leaves can also be served filled with fruit, yogurt dips or cherry tomatoes and vegan mozzarella .

Lightly steamed, Cicorino Rosso can be eaten like spinach . Chopped up, it can be used in risotto, vegan lasagne, pasta sauces, soups and on pizza. Radicchio also tastes excellent grilled or skewered.

Is red lettuce bitter? Many red lettuce varieties are somewhat bitter, but there are also green and yellow bitter lettuces. Red radicchio (raw) typically has a strong, bitter and tart flavor. The light, red-speckled gourmet salad Radicchio Variegato di Castelfranco , on the other hand, tastes milder and sweeter; 12 the Rosso di Treviso also has a rather subtle bitter note. 13

To prepare it, first sort out the wilted leaves, as they have lost a lot of their aroma. If the bitter taste of the Cicorino Rosso is too strong for you, use a kitchen knife to remove the stalk, which contains a lot of bitter substances. You can then separate the leaves one by one, remove the bitter, white leaf veins if necessary and wash them thoroughly. If the leaves are still too bitter, you can soak them in lukewarm water for a few minutes. This will dissolve the water-soluble bitter substances.

The thick stalk can also be finely chopped and used in dishes, as it is more bitter than the leaves. In Italy, not only the head is used, but also the root of the plant (taproot). This tastes even more bitter than the stalk and leaves. Cut into thin slices, the root can be mixed into salads or used in pasta sauces or risotto. Roasted, it is a traditional substitute or addition to coffee beans. 3,14 The substitute coffee is called chicory coffee, country coffee or, in a non-specific way, muckefuck.

Vegan recipe for stuffed red radicchio leaves

Ingredients (for 1 person): 2 large, raw leaves of a Radicchio Rosso (organic), 1 sour apple , 1 small tangerine , 1 tbsp soy yoghurt , ½ lime , 1 tsp sunflower seeds , ¼ bunch of fresh chives , 1 pinch of salt , 1 pinchof pepper .

Preparation: Peel the mandarin, remove the fruit fillets and chop into small pieces. Peel the apple, core it and cut it into small cubes. Mix the apple and mandarin pieces together with the soy yoghurt in a bowl. Squeeze half the lime and add the juice to the yoghurt-fruit mixture. Season this mixture with salt and pepper. Then wash the chives and cut them into fine rings. Wash the radicchio leaves and fill them with the yoghurt mixture. Serve the vegan stuffed radicchio leaves sprinkled with sunflower seeds and chives.

Vegan recipes with raw radicchio can be found under the note: " Recipes that have the most of this ingredient ".

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes

Purchasing - Storage

Red radicchio (raw) is available all year round in supermarkets such as Migros , Coop , Rewe , Edeka , Spar . Some large retailers such as Denner , Volg , Aldi , Lidl and Hofer rarely stock radicchio salad, but instead offer its close relative, chicory . You can buy organic Cicorino Rosso in health food stores, organic shops and organic supermarkets (e.g. Denn's Biomarkt , Alnatura ).

When buying, look for a rich red color, closed heads without cracks or soft spots. Fresh, crisp leaves, a bright white stalk and white leaf veins also indicate the freshness of the red radicchio salad.

The most common variety found in stores is the Rosso di Chioggia (Palla Rossa); less common is the Rosso di Verona and the radicchio varieties Rosso di Treviso (Trevisano) and Variegato di Castelfranco, which are considered specialties. 12,13,15 The Radicchio Variegato di Castelfranco (also Castelfranco salad or Variegata di Castelfranco, Variegato del Castelfranco) looks like a rose and has white-greenish leaves with red spots. It tastes milder and sweeter than the Rosso di Chioggia. It is harvested after the first frost. The early Rosso di Treviso (Precoce) is longer, also tastes sweeter and has a loose rosette of leaves. 1,13

Both the Castelfranco lettuce and the late Rosso di Treviso (Tardivo) are allowed to grow in running water (approx. 11 °C) and without light so that they acquire their characteristic shape and colour 12,13 (see "Cultivation - Harvest" and "Possibility of confusion").

Especially in the seed trade, a distinction is often made between root chicory and salad chicory. Salad chicory is further divided into head chicory (e.g. Rosso di Chioggia, Variegato di Castelfranco) and cut chicory or leaf chicory (e.g. the yellow one from Trieste = Cicoria Zuccherina or Biondissima di Trieste); sometimes it is also referred to as rosette chicory (e.g. Grumolo Verde).

The availability of radicchio (raw) varies depending on the size of the store, catchment area, etc. Our recorded food prices for the DA-CH countries can be found above under the ingredient image - and by clicking on them you can see their development at various suppliers.

Storage tips

Wrap red radicchio salad in a damp cloth after purchase and it will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Make sure the head is fresh and intact to avoid premature rotting. If you grow radicchio varieties in your own garden, you can alternatively harvest only individual leaves and leave the rest of the salad in the bed so that it lasts longer and stays fresh.

Ingredients - Nutritional values - Calories

Radicchio (also called red chicory) contains 23 kcal/100g raw and consists mainly of water. With 1.4 g protein per 100 g, the protein content in this leafy vegetable is very low. Fat is also barely present at 0.25 g/100g. 2

The amount of vitamin K in 100 g of red radicchio salad accounts for around 340% of the daily requirement. The content of 255 µg/100g can be compared with that of watercress (250 µg/100g) and endive (231 µg/100g). Swiss chard has even more vitamin K (830 µg/100g). 2

The 60 µg of folate (folic acid) contained in 100 g cover 30% of the daily requirement. White cabbage (57 µg/100g) and Brussels sprouts (61 µg/100g) achieve comparable values. Mung beans contain more than ten times as much folic acid (625 µg/100g). 2 Folate is a heat-sensitive vitamin. Therefore, slight heating can lead to significant losses, so that the actual amount of folate (folic acid) after preparation is lower than when raw.

Vitamin E is contained at 2.3 mg/100g, which makes up 19% of the daily requirement. This value is comparable to that of spinach (2 mg/100g) and chard (1.9 mg/100g). Sunflower seeds (35 mg/100g) contain a lot of vitamin E. 2

The complete ingredients of raw radicchio, the coverage of the daily requirement and comparison values with other ingredients can be found in our nutrient tables. In the article Nutrients explained you will get a detailed insight into the topic.

Health effects

Cicoria Rossa contains the bitter substance Lactucopikrin (formerly: Intybin). This stimulates the appetite and the production of gastric juice, bile and pancreatic secretion. It is diuretic and has a positive effect on digestion. Lactucopikrin also stimulates blood circulation and strengthens the cardiovascular system. 10

The antioxidants contained in it, such as the anthocyanins responsible for the red color, neutralize free radicals in the body and prevent oxidative stress. 4 This can reduce the risk of diseases such as arteriosclerosis, cardiovascular problems, arthritis and cancer and prevent premature skin aging.

The vitamin K contained in radicchio salad is primarily used for blood clotting, as the body needs it to produce clotting factors. In addition, vitamin K prevents calcium deposits in soft tissues such as blood vessels and cartilage, supports the regulation of cell processes (such as cell division) and repair processes in the eyes, kidneys, liver, blood vessels and nerve cells. It can counteract bone loss in women after the menopause. 5

Dangers - Intolerances - Side effects

As with other types of vegetables, Cicorino Rosso can accumulate nitrate. It absorbs nitrate from the soil as it grows and stores it in its leaves. The nitrate content depends heavily on the variety, the time of harvest (early or late variety) and the cultivation method. According to a study, the harvest from biodynamic farming demonstrably stored less nitrate. 21

When nitrate forms nitrite, it poses a danger to humans, as nitrite is considered carcinogenic. Nitrite can form when radicchio salad is packed in an airtight container. Some enzymes in saliva and the intestines also promote the formation of nitrite. 6

Conventionally grown "red chicory" can also be contaminated with other pesticides, so it is worth choosing organic radicchio .

Folk medicine - naturopathy

Unlike the common chicory 3, the cultivated form of chicory is not a recognized medicinal plant with medical applications. 10 However, its positive effects on health are valued in folk medicine and naturopathy.

The bitter substance lactucopicrin is considered a tonic for the gastrointestinal tract. Bitter substances generally help with flatulence, loss of appetite, gallbladder and pancreatic dysfunction, belching, constipation, feeling of fullness, liver dysfunction, etc. 7 They are also said to have a stimulating and invigorating effect on the body and help with chronic fatigue. They are also said to reduce complaints such as lipid metabolism disorders, functional cardiovascular problems or depressive moods. 7

Ecological footprint - Animal welfare

The CO₂ footprint of chicory (the same species as radicchio) is quite low at 0.5 CO 2 eq/kg. 26 A Swedish calculation came to 0.13 kg CO2eq/kg for endive (belongs to the same genus) and 0.41 kg CO2eq/kg for chicory. 22 This means that radicchio can be compared to corn salad or spinach. Vegetables and fruit imported by plane, as well as animal products, have a large footprint. A pineapple imported to Germany by plane produces 15.1 kg CO₂/kg and organic butter 11.5 kg CO2eq/kg. 28

We only found out more about the water footprint via a small detour: In a study by the University of Florence, researchers tried to exchange part of the water with sea water to study the effects on the plant ( Cichorium intybus var. silvestre). They also compared the water footprint of different cultivation systems - soilless cultivation (hydroponics), conventional cultivation in soil; and salt water. They tried chicory in pots and in hydroponics. They achieved the lowest water footprint with the salt water hydroponic system (30.7 L/kg), followed by conventional hydroponics with 43.5 L/kg, the conventional method in pots and in the field (134.4 L/kg) and in pots with salt water (246.1 L/kg). 23

In general, vegetables have a good water footprint (WF) – the global average is about 322 L/kg. Carrots have a small footprint (195 L/kg), while almonds have a large footprint (8047 L/kg). If you compare the WF to the calories contained, vegetables are still very good at 1.34 L/kcal; beef, for example, needs 10.19 L/kcal. 27.29

In a study by GLOBAL2000 on pesticide contamination, 93% of vegetable samples contained residues of 226 pesticide active ingredients. 24 Although pesticides are permitted in organic farming (organic!), these natural active ingredients have a significantly lower risk potential than the chemical-synthetic pesticides permitted in conventional farming. 25

Animal welfare - species protection

Biodiversity is declining. Insect populations that provide important ecosystem services such as pollination of flowers and pest control are shrinking dramatically. The use of pesticides is contributing to this. 24,25

Worldwide occurrence - cultivation of

Cicorino Rosso ( Cichorium intybus var. foliosum ) belongs to the daisy family. The wild and cultivated forms of chicory have been known and popular since ancient times. The red lettuce, which comes from northern Italy, has been cultivated there since the 15th or 16th century, 15 its origin is thought to be in the Orient or is described as unknown. It prefers a warm, humid climate. Today, the cultivation areas are spread almost all over the world. 1 The leading cultivation countries are Italy, New Zealand and Turkey.

Growing in the garden

Radicchio can be grown in your own garden. The time of sowing depends on the variety chosen. A distinction is made between varieties that can be harvested in summer or autumn and varieties that are suitable for overwintering (it. "Precoce" / "Tardivo"). A mild climate is required for overwintering. When sowing the early radicchio varieties, temperatures of 16 to 20 °C are required. Ideally, the young plants should be grown early and planted out after about 4 to 6 weeks. Plant the radicchio seedlings from mid-May in a sunny to partially shaded location with a distance of around 25 cm between them to give them enough space to grow. Water the radicchio regularly (avoid waterlogging at all costs). The ripe Cicorino Rosso plants of these varieties can be harvested from September to November. 8 Cut off directly above the ground with a sharp knife or alternatively harvest individual leaves.

Cultivation - Harvest

Cicorino Rosso is a biennial plant that is often only cultivated as an annual. It needs loose, permeable soil and plenty of water for growth. The temperature of young plants must not fall below 16 °C. They are planted 25-30 cm apart. 11 Depending on the variety, the cultivation period is around 8-12 weeks, and the harvest time also depends on the variety (see above). Grown in modern greenhouses, the vegetable can be imported all year round.

The radicchio varieties Rosso di Chioggia and Rosso di Treviso Precoce reach harvest maturity in the field, with the leaves of the latter tied together with rubber bands and growing for around 15-20 days without light. 13 In contrast, the Rosso di Treviso Tardivo and all varieties with the name Variegato/-a are subjected to what is known as water forcing. The lettuce heads are removed with a large part of the root, placed in grids under dark tarpaulins and then left to forge further in running water (approx. 11 °C) in the dark (it. 'forzatura - imbianchimento'). These new, tender shoots are freed from the spoiled outer leaves before being sold. 12,13

Further information

Red radicchio ( Cichorium intybus var. foliosum , syn. C. intybus var. sylvestre 10 ) has mostly close-fitting, wavy leaves that are purple to bluish-violet in color. The stem is white and the leaves have white leaf veins. The head of lettuce is surrounded by green underleaves that are removed before sale. The long tradition of radicchio cultivation in Veneto shows that the earliest variety is the Rosso di Treviso (15th or 16th century), from which many other varieties have emerged through cross-breeding or mass selection. The Rosso di Chioggia is considered a relatively young variant (originated from the Variegato di Chioggia). 15

We can answer common questions such as Chicory Radicchio Difference? or Radicchio Chicory Difference? as follows: Due to their close relationship, radicchio and chicory have some similarities (including the genus name Cichorium ); so it is not surprising that red radicchio is also called red chicory. The taste of radicchio salad, however, is considered to be less strong. The two leafy vegetables also differ in appearance: radicchio salad is available in many shapes and colors - including red radicchio, which is dark red in color and, depending on the variety, can be found on sale with an oval or round and compact shape (exception: Rosso di Treviso Tardivo). Chicory, on the other hand, consists of white-yellow, 10-20 cm long, club-shaped leaf heads 9 or leaf-shaped white shoots 17 (hence the name Witloof or Witloof Chicory 14 ).

Because of the wide variety of species in the variety Cichorium intybus var. foliosum, it is not always easy to distinguish between the varieties and hybrids. Different languages differentiate more or less clearly between terms such as chicory, endive and radicchio (or their equivalents) and sometimes treat them as synonyms. In Italy, there is sometimes a tendency to give a red-leaf radicchio salad ('radicchio') a different name than a green-leaf one ('cicoria'), but there is no fixed system. 20

The main difference, however, is that chicory sprouts from the dug-up and cut roots in dark cellars (also called chicory sprouts or young sprouts of the chicory root). The above-ground green leaves of the plant are not used for consumption: they either end up as animal feed or, when cut off during harvest, are used as fertilizer for the fields. 18

What makes the confusion even more complete: there is now also a red-colored chicory (from a cross between white-yellow chicory and radicchio). This is also a shoot from the separated and stored root, but with red instead of yellow leaf tips. 19 In addition, the treatment of the roots in both types of chicory is reminiscent of the procedure used for Rosso di Treviso Tardivo and the Variegati varieties. The difference is that in these cases the lettuce and root are grafted together (see above).

You can read more about chicory in the ingredient of the same name. There we also answer questions such as: Can you eat chicory raw?

Alternative names

Radicchio comes from Italian (pronunciation: [ʁaˈdɪki̯o]) and has entered the German vocabulary (Duden). The red salad is also known as red chicory, cicorino rosso, cicoria rossa or red endive. In Italian, the female form is also used: (Varietà) Rossa di Chioggia, Rossa di Treviso, Variegata di Castelfranco. The pale, red-speckled Variegato di Castelfranco is also called 'fiore che si mangia' (edible flower). 12

Incorrect spellings often creep in: Raddiccio, Radiccio, Radichio, Raddicchio, Radicco, Radicio (red radicchio) or red chicory, red chicory, red chicory, red chicory salad, red chicory recipe.

In English, the leafy vegetable is known as radicchio, red chicory or Italian chicory. To distinguish it from chicory, it is called witloof chicory or Belgian endive. 14