Radicchio: a concentrate of antioxidants against aging

Radicchio rosso

It’s easy to say radicchio: the varieties of this precious gift of nature are different, each with interesting nutritional characteristics to be discovered.

Belonging to the chicory group, over time the radicchio has been subjected to a series of spontaneous hybridizations and natural or horticultural-induced selections, which have led to even substantial morphological differentiations. Let’s get to know them better.


  • thing contains
  • Properties for health
  • Some varieties
    • Early red radicchio from Treviso Igp
    • Late radicchio from Treviso IGP
    • Variegated radicchio from Castelfranco Igp
  • Recipes

thing contains

One serving of fresh red radicchio (80 g) contains:

  • Water (75.2 g)
  • Proteins (15 g)
  • Lipids (0.1 g)
  • Available carbohydrates (1.3 g)
  • Soluble sugars (1.3 g)
  • Fibra totale (2.4 g)
  • Sodio (8 mg)
  • Potassium (192 mg)
  • Calcium (29 mg)
  • Fosforo (24 mg)
  • Ferro (0.2 mg)
  • Thiamine (0.06 mg)
  • Riboflavina (0.04 mg)
  • Niacina (0.24 mg)
  • Vitamina C (8 mg)

Properties for health

Available on the market all year round, even if some varieties are purely autumn or winter, radicchio has purifying properties and, thanks to the high water content, the presence of fibers and bitter principles, promotes digestion and the proper functioning of the intestine. Furthermore, due to the metabolic stimulus that this vegetable is able to exercise, thanks also to its reduced caloric content (19 Kcal per 100 g of food), it can also be effectively used in slimming diets.

Radicchio is also considered a mild diuretic (characteristic of all vegetables belonging to the chicory family) and natural tonic. The merit derives from the high content of vitamin C, anthocyanins, beta-carotene and iron, a mineral which – among vegetables – is present in large quantities in radicchio. For this characteristic, it represents a vegetable indicated in iron deficiency anemias, especially if found in pregnant women. And, due to the presence of calcium, it is able to promote the metabolism of bones making them stronger: a food to be offered, therefore, also to children and adolescents.

Furthermore, from recent studies carried out at the University of Urbino, it seems that red radicchio contains many more antioxidants than foods more famous for this property such as blueberries and raisins, helping to slow down cellular aging and prevent the onset of some types of cancer, especially in the intestine.

Its anthocyanins have preventive properties against cardiovascular diseases, while the tryptophan contained, finally, brings benefits to the nervous system by counteracting disorders related to insomnia.

Some varieties

In general, radicchio can be distinguished as follows: red, with leaves ranging in color from intense red to carmine red and with a well-developed, white central vein; variegated, characterized by the presence of red and white leaves of different shape and intensity.

Early red radicchio from Treviso Igp

Narrow and long in shape, its leaves, formerly green, begin to turn red in autumn. With blanching, one of the fundamental operations to prepare the radicchio for marketing, it can also reach a length of about 20 cm. During this procedure, the bunches, after harvesting – which takes place from 20 October – are placed in tanks filled with running resurgence water. After about fifteen days, that is, once the new shoots have been obtained, we proceed with the grooming, washing and packaging phase. In these conditions, in addition to obtaining valuable organoleptic characteristics due to particular enzymatic transformations, the development of new tender leaves, free of chlorophyll and with a delicate flavor, is determined.

Late radicchio from Treviso IGP

Considered as a very valuable variety, with longer separate leaves, it has a less bitter taste than other varieties and is very suitable in pinzimonio, for grilled or grilled preparation and, above all, stewed. It is called “tardivo” because it is available on the market in the winter months, unlike other varieties that are present throughout the year and the cost is usually higher, probably due to the greater difficulties of cultivation and marketing.

Variegated radicchio from Castelfranco Igp

It is considered the best radicchio as regards the organoleptic and nutritional characteristics, as it is particularly rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and with a high percentage of vitamins A, B2, C and PP. The leaves are crunchy and, as they do not form a lump, manipulations are also fragile. Beautiful in shape and splendid in colors with creamy white leaves (which have earned it the nickname of “orchid salad”), it is characterized by its sweet to pleasantly bitter, very fresh and delicate flavor. It is suitable both raw in salads and cooked and irons.


The various types of radicchio, as we have seen, are suitable for numerous uses.

An excellent appetizer is the radicchio patè, easy to prepare and very tasty, made with radicchio from Treviso and walnuts.

If you are looking for a hearty, greedy and also beautiful to look at first course, the Paccheri stuffed with sausage, radicchio and bechamel are definitely worth trying. Timeless is the combination of rice, radicchio and taleggio, a delicious and elegant combination, which combines the sweetness of cheese with the more bitter taste of radicchio. It is a fairly simple risotto to prepare, ideal especially for the winter months, capable of giving warmth and energy, without being heavy.

If you want to use this vegetable as a salad, instead, the radicchio and apple salad represents a tasty side dish that combines the bitter taste of radicchio with the sweetness of apples, creating a savory contrast of flavors.

Finally, among the second courses, not everyone knows that this precious gift from nature is also perfect with fish. Absolutely to try are the Dentici with red radicchio.

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