Take a bite out of bitter: Radicchio recipes to get your picky eater to rethink radicchio.
Radicchio is packed with nutrients, but it’s equally packed with picky eater problems. Its beautiful purple ruffles are loaded with Vitamin K and pumped full of antioxidants, but its flavor is downright bitter. The sharp bite is enough to send sensitive palettes running from the room.
So how do you get your kids to try radicchio?
It took some experimenting before we figured out a way to enjoy radicchio at our family table. First we tried thin slices sprinkled into DIY dishes at our rainbow salad bar. A few flecks here and there added a beautiful touch of color, and weren’t so scary. This is a great place to start when introducing radicchio—it gives kids lots of control.
The game-changing move came when we roasted radicchio. Roasting is the trick to mellowing the flavor of most bitter veggies, and it’s particularly effective with radicchio.
Roasted radicchio wedges were a total fail, but in giving that recipe a try we discovered something new. Shredding the head of radicchio into paper-thin strips, drizzling them with olive oil, and then roasting them up into crispy strips resulted in a radicchio recipe that rocks the charts. My daughter named the recipe: Ridiculous Radicchio Chips. Irony at its best. It’s one of the 150 delicious recipes featured in my new book, The 52 New Foods Challenge. It will transform how your family feels about radicchio.
This fall, we’re on the hunt for more radicchio recipes. We’re cooking up a kid-friendly version of Fennel, Radicchio, and Apple Salad. We’ll also experiment with a version featuring pears and gorgonzola—another fabulous fall flavor combination. Kelsey Banfield’s paninis with radicchio are another tasty treat that we’ll try. Lots and lots of experimenting—that’s the key to getting past picky.
A mother of two, Jennifer Tyler Lee is the author of The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin Random House/Avery 2014) and the creator of the award-winning series of healthy eating games, Crunch a Color®. Her family cooking adventures have been featured by Jamie Oliver, Rachael Ray, Laurie David, Pottery Barn Kids, and Whole Foods. She is a featured blogger at The Huffington Post and a regular contributor to the James Beard Award-Winning magazine, Edible.