Raw and Roasted Radicchio Salad with Sweet Potato, Manchego, and Crunchy Seeds

updated Nov 19, 2019
Raw and Roasted Radicchio Salad with Sweet Potato, Manchego, and Crunchy Seeds

This topping-heavy salad is designed so that it's all good parts: roasted sweet potato keeps the raddcchio's bitterness in check and toasted sunflower seeds add crunch.

Serves4 to 6

Prep5 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

I’m one of those shameless people who will pick all of the chunks out of a pint of ice cream and all the crunchy, perfect oat clusters out of a box of cereal. I’m this way with salad, too. I need my salads to either be incredibly simple — just leaves and some kind of aggressively bite-y dressing — or a bowlful of just the salty, crunchy, briny, juicy bites that always end up sinking beneath the leaves. 

This is a salad for my kin — those who love a salad with a lot of stuff in it. It’s designed so that there’s no digging around for the good parts; it’s all good parts. The bulk of it is radicchio — both bitter, crisp, raw radicchio and silky roasted radicchio. Mellow roasted sweet potato keeps the bitterness in check, as do tiny, salty-rich cubes of Manchego cheese. Parsley is there for freshness. Toasty seeds add crunch. Fennel seeds and chili flakes will make your friends go, Hey, what’s in here? There’s a garlicky vinaigrette, too. Sounds complicated, maybe, but you’ll find it’s pretty streamlined: Everything that roasts roasts together, and everything else is taken care of while that roasting happens. Twenty-five minutes plus however long it takes your oven to heat up is all you need.

Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

A Make-Ahead Salad for Every Occassion

What you get when you toss all these things together in a big bowl — and I recommend doing that with your hands, so that the dressing really coats every little bit — is a salad that dares you to grow bored with it. On one hand, it’s punchy and brash; on the other, it’s comfortable and easygoing, happy to sit out at room temperature for a while or even in the refrigerator for a couple of days. That makes it equally ideal for the Thanksgiving buffet as it is packed as a desk lunch. Fold in some cooked grains (farro would be my pick) and you’ve got something with serious staying power, too.

Raw and Roasted Radicchio Salad with Sweet Potato, Manchego, and Crunchy Seeds

This topping-heavy salad is designed so that it's all good parts: roasted sweet potato keeps the raddcchio's bitterness in check and toasted sunflower seeds add crunch.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    small sweet potatoes (10 to 12 ounces total)

  • 2 heads

    radicchio (about 1 pound total), any wilty outer leaves removed

  • 4 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon

    fennel seeds

  • 1/4 cup

    raw sunflower seeds

  • 1

    large clove garlic

  • 2 tablespoons

    sherry vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes

  • 2 1/2 ounces

    Manchego cheese

  • 1 cup

    fresh parsley leaves and tender stems

Instructions

  1. Arrange two racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 425ºF.

  2. Peel and dice 2 small sweet potatoes, and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Quarter 2 heads radicchio through the core, then cut the core from each piece. Slice each quarter lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide ribbons. Place half in a large bowl, then place the remaining on a second rimmed baking sheet.

  3. Drizzle the sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, season with 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt and some black pepper, and toss to combine. Drizzle the radicchio with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, season with 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, and some black pepper, and toss to combine. Arrange the sweet potatoes and radicchio into a single layer.

  4. Place both baking sheets in the oven and roast until the vegetables are tender and browned in spots, 7 to 10 minutes for the radicchio and 15 minutes for the sweet potatoes. In the last 5 minutes of the sweet potatoes’ roasting time, use a spatula to push the sweet potatoes to one side of the pan, then spread 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds on the other side in an even layer. The seeds should be deeply toasted at the same time the sweet potatoes become fully tender.

  5. Immediately transfer the seeds to a plate and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Let the vegetables and seeds cool for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette and prepare the remaining ingredients.

  6. Mince or grate 1 large garlic clove and place in a small bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and some black pepper, and stir to combine. Cut 2 1/2 ounces Manchego cheese into small dice (about 1/2 cup), coarsely chop 1 cup fresh parsley leaves and tender stems, and add both to the bowl of radicchio.

  7. When the roasted vegetables are warm or room temperature, add them to the large bowl. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and use your hands to toss everything together, making sure everything is coated well. Sprinkle with the sunflower seeds before serving.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: This salad will sit happily at room temperature for several hours, or in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days. Top with the seeds just before serving for maximum crunchiness.

Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 days.