Spring is coming. Which means the season of one of my favourite salad ingredients comes to an end: Chicory. So it’s time for one last hurrah for these delicious crunchy leaves, also called endives. Outside, the sun is getting warmer so this clean fresh chicory salad with arugula and red pepper comes as a nice change to the steamy soup bowls that kept us warm in winter. A few chunks of white Italian mozzarella cheese add some protein without compromising the light freshness of this salad. Never forget: Fresh healthy food made at home is always important, but even more so in these trying times! #stayhealthy!
Chicory is a plant closely related to lettuce and dandelions. The outer leaves have green fringes and are slightly bitter, while the inner white ones are very mild and crunchy. I love this combination. One thing to note: The leaves are not to be confused with chicory’s thick roots – that are often also called just chicory. These roots can be used to make chicory coffee, invented supposedly during a coffee shortage in France a long time ago. While this coffee alternative’s origins aren’t entirely clear, you need to roast and mince the chicory root to make it. The root contains quite a bit of inulin fiber, as well as manganese and vitamin B6.
Whatever you call this lettucey plant – chicory or endive – it has been one of my favourite salad ingredient even as a child, back in those days when salads in Germany consisted mostly of just one ingredient: Either green salad, or cucumber, or tomato, or chicory. The mixed salads of now where still mostly unknown. My mom made her chicory salad with a sour cream sauce, which I loved. But in this mix, vinaigrette is more suitable.
How to mix your salad
Making this salad is super easy. Wash your arugula and macerate leaves in saltwater, while you’re cutting the chicory and pepper and dice the mozzarella. Macerating the arugula helps reducing excess bitterness prevalent in some varieties of the herb. After about 10 minutes, you can pull the leaves out of the saltwater, and add them to the salad.
Use a simple vinaigrette with a little bit of mustard, and there you have healthy-pre-spring crunchy chicory arugula salad with red pepper. Serve it alongside a main – salmon steak complements it superbly, for example. Or enjoy it solo as a light lunch with a piece of low carb crispbread, or a hard boiled egg or both. If you’ve made this salad, let me know – leave a comment and rate the recipe if you like!
Crunchy chicory salad with arugula and red pepper! The slightly bitter taste of chicory and arugula leaves combines perfectly with the subtle sweetness of red pepper and the mild mozzarella cubes. A great bridge from winter heading into spring.
For 2 servings
1 handful of arugula leaves, stems mostly removed
1 red bell pepper
1 cup Italian style mozzarella balls
For the vinaigrette:
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp dried basil
Sea salt to taste
Black pepper from the mill
- Wash the arugula and remove most part of the stems. Fill water into a bowl, and add 1 tsp of sea salt and a splash of vinegar. Put the arugula leaves into the water and set aside to macerate for 15 minutes. This will remove any excess bitterness.
- Meanwhile, pour olive oil, red wine vinegar and mustard into a nice salad bowl and stir swiftly with a fork to create an emulsion. Mix in dried basil, salt and pepper to taste.
- Wash the chicory; you may have to remove the outer leaves. Cut it into stripes, keeping the stems. You only need to remove the end.
- Open red bell pepper, remove seeds and white parts, and chop it into cubes with some 1-2 cm side length.
- Pull out the arugula out of the water when ready and drain. Mix all ingredients in the salad bowl and serve.
If you’d like the salad with more bite, add roasted pumpkin seeds or chopped walnuts.
- Category: salads
- Method: chop and mix
- Cuisine: European
- Serving Size: 1 plate
- Calories: 343
- Fat: 26g
- Carbohydrates: 4.1 g net carbs
- Protein: 10.9