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This Charred Chicory Salad is a super easy salad that is good as a side and perfectly wonderful as a quick, light and healthy lunch. It’s part of a menu plan that I’m putting together for some clients who’ve asked for a salad heavy plan.
What is Chicory?
Chicory covers a broad range of similar vegetables and can be divided into 3:
- the forced variety, grown in darkness and known as Witloof ⇒ what we are using today, and also known as Belgian endive
- red chicory, also known as radicchio
- the sugar loaf variety, harvested in autumn, is plump and looks like lettuce or Chinese cabbage
Apparently, chicory was “born” when a farmer’s chicory roots sprouted over winter, in his cellar, in the dark. The dark stops the leafs from turning green and too bitter.
⇒ When buying chicory, ensure that you pick the ones with the yellow tips, and not green, as those will be too bitter to eat raw.
Chicory doesn’t need much preparing. It is great:
- raw in salads and as canapé bases
- grilled, fried, boiled, steamed
You can pretty much use it at will!
Why Chicory is Good for you!
It is a slightly bitter vegetable. Did you know that bitter vegetables are good for you? Briefly, here are just some of the reasons why:
- Bitter vegetables activate your tastebuds and stimulate enzyme production, as well as bile flow. This is good for your digestion.
- Bitter vegetables also help your liver to naturally detoxify
- Bitter vegetables apparently also help to keep food cravings at bay. This is because you are feeding your body all the flavours it needs: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent, and tangy. It’s all a matter of balance.
I love it best when accompanied by something sweet or tangy to complement the bitterness. In this chicory salad, that tangy flavour comes in the form of the apples we use, and definitely the mustard dressing.
Playing with our Chicory Salad
I’ve kept the ingredients simple.
- The actual bulk of the salad is provided by the chicory, apples and a handful of walnuts.
- This is then dressed up with a mustard and white wine dressing.
- Finally, a small sprinkling of cheese to finish it off. That’s it.
As it is, the salad is enough for me for lunch. I tend to skip carbs at lunch, for the simple reason that they put me to sleep. However, if you fancy, and if you need to bulk it up, you could:
- increase the amount of the ingredients
- have it with some bread
- add more vegetables, like lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers
- increase the amount of cheese, and use whatever cheese you like. I think blue cheese would go great with this.
Radicchio is your best substitute for chicory, it has the same slightly bitter flavour, and is just as easy to prepare.
Pretty easy, right? Let’s get to it!
More Salad Recipes
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Charred Chicory, Apple and Walnut Salad (an easy light lunch)
- 4 small chicory heads
- 1 Tbsp EV olive oil
- 1 eating apple a tangy variety, like Braeburn
- 1 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
- 30 g walnuts
- 2 Tbsp cress
- 30 g parmesan shaved or grated,or cheese of your choice
- 1 Tbsp freshly chopped dill
- ¼ tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp EV olive oil
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- pinch of salt
- some freshly ground black pepper
- Mix the salad dressing and set aside.
- Trim a tiny part of the end off, leaving it intact.
- Halve all the chicory heads and sprinkle the 1/4 tsp of salt all over.
- Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a frying pan or griddle and brown the cut halves of the chicory for about 1 minute each side. You want a slightly charred look. Take them out when done. You may have to do this in 2 batches. This can also be done on the bbq.
- While the chicory is charring, core and slice the apples into thin wedges and rub all over with the lime or lemon juice. Set aside.
- Break up the walnuts slightly, not too large, not too small.I do this with my hands.
- Place the chicory heads on 2 plates, followed by the apples.
- Scatter the walnuts all over.
- Drizzle the dressing generously on both plates.
- Finish off with the cheese, chopped dill and some freshly ground black pepper.