This Cinnamon Maple Squash & Pink Radicchio Salad will be your new favorite winter side dish! We’re pairing roasted Delicata with warming spices and serving gorgeous radicchio greens with quinoa, walnuts & orange-tahini dressing for a well-rounded meal.
Today’s salad is a feast for the eyes, literally. I had so much fun photographing this lovely bitter green, but the taste is just as enjoyable. The cinnamon-maple caramelized squash really offsets the entire dish in the best way, so let’s get into the details.
What is radicchio rosa?
Radicchio rosa is a leafy vegetable from the chicory (bitter green) family. The “rosa” comes from its bright pink hue. If you have never eaten regular radicchio, you have likely seen it at the grocery store. The most common varietal has a tightly packed head with deep purple and white striations.
How to Make a Perfect Winter Salad
Salads and winter can go hand in hand! Here are the key elements you need for a satisfying and healthy recipe:
- Hearty base green. Lighter lettuces and baby spinach are not the best option for colder days. For a great winter salad, you want to use something thick with chew that will stand up to a viscous dressing.
- Protein-rich grain. For staying power in chilly winter months, the addition of a textural grain (or a gluten-free seed, like quinoa) is essential for satiation. Other good options are buckwheat, emmer/farro, and short grain brown rice.
- A roasted vegetable. I really crave warming veggies in the winter – this makes sense as it falls in line with the seasonality of produce! Cucumber and tomato are both things I’d rather postpone until a heat wave. Roasted broccoli, sweet potato, carrots, and (of course) squash are comforting and substantial enough for winter weather dining.
- Nuts or seeds. These provide texture plus more plant-protein. I use nuts in warmer months as well, but something about the contrast of a silky roasted vegetable + the sharper crunch of a toasted seed is really appealing in cool weather. Pistachios, almonds, and walnuts are some of my favorites.
- A thick dressing. I tend to avoid vinaigrettes in winter and stick to dressings with more heft – typically those with a seed- or nut-butter base (as opposed to vinegar and oil). Peanut butter and tahini are two of my current favorites! They transmit flavor beautifully and really makes things satisfying.
- Something sweet. A slightly sweet garnish really takes a winter salad to “excellent” territory. I believe it is what contrasts with the richer, sometimes bitter flavors we’re getting from the greens and grains. My favorite option for a pop of sweetness in a salad is a chopped Medjool date. Fresh or dried winter fruits (such as oranges, cranberries or raisins) or candied nuts are all welcome.
Swaps for Radicchio Rosa in This Recipe
Pink radicchio is sadly difficult to find in most grocery stores – I’ve only ever seen it at a farm market. Regular radicchio (the purple kind) would be a nice substitute that you can buy pretty much everywhere. A combination of dandelion greens and frisée would also be nice. When I doubt, feel free to use curly or Lacinato kale.
More Winter Salads
Herby Quinoa Salad with Go-To Tahini Dressing (try swapping blueberries for apples)
Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpeas (my favorite chickpea cooking method)
More Winter Squash Recipes
Spaghetti with 12 Cloves of Garlic (featuring Delicata)
I hope you love this Pink Radicchio Salad Recipe! Please be sure to leave a rating and a comment if you give it a try.