Radicchio Nutrition Facts
Radicchio is a bright red leafy vegetable closely related to chicory (Cichorium intybus). As such, it is often called red chicory or red endive. Radicchio is often used in Italian cooking and it also commonly added to salads or paired with crumbled cheese, dried fruits, and nuts.
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one cup (40g) of shredded radicchio.
- Calories: 9.2
- Fat: 0.1g
- Sodium: 8.8mg
- Carbohydrates: 1.8g
- Fiber: 0.4g
- Sugars: 0.2g
- Protein: 0.6g1
Carbs in Radicchio
Radicchio is both low in calories and low in carbohydrates. If you add a cup of shredded radicchio to your salad, you’ll only increase the calorie count of the dish by about nine calories. You’ll increase the carb count by less than two grams.
There are three different types of carbohydrate in radicchio—fiber, starch, and naturally occurring sugar—but there are such small amounts of each that these nutrients are not likely to make a substantial difference in your dietary goals unless you consume a very large amount of radicchio.
There are few published reports regarding the glycemic index of radicchio. The glycemic index is estimated to be about 32. As a basis for comparison, foods with a glycemic index under 55 are considered to be low glycemic foods.
The glycemic load of a one-cup serving is estimated to be about one. Glycemic load takes into account the serving size of a given food or beverage to estimate the effect of a food on your blood sugar. It is considered to be more helpful than just using glycemic index for people who are choosing foods based on their effects on blood glucose.
Fats in Radicchio
There is almost no fat in radicchio. You’ll get less than a gram of fat in a single one-cup serving. However, preparation method matters. If you saute the vegetable in oil, you’ll increase the fat you consume.
Protein in Radicchio
Each one-cup serving of radicchio provides your body with less than a gram of protein.1
Micronutrients in Radicchio
Radicchio provides the body with a few (but not many) vitamins and minerals. It is primarily a good source of vitamin K. One serving provides your body with 128 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K.
Radicchio provides minerals in small amounts, including copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese, and selenium.
The vitamin K in radicchio provides several important benefits, especially for certain populations. It is an essential fat-soluble vitamin for everyone. But because vitamin K helps with blood clotting functions in the body it is especially important for people who take blood thinners. Vitamin K also boosts bone health. A vitamin K deficiency may put you at greater risk for osteoporosis.2
The small amount of vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) in radicchio also provides certain health benefits. The vitamin acts as an anti-oxidant to protect cells in your body from free-radical damage. Vitamin C also boosts collagen production, improves immune function, and helps your body to absorb iron—an important mineral needed for a healthy body.3
What are the different types of radicchio?
There are five different types of radicchio, each with a distinctive Italian name. Radicchio di chioggia is the kind you are most likely to see in the grocery store. Radicchio di treviso has a tangy taste and radicchio di castelfranco has a creamier taste that is best for salads. Radicchio di puntarelle and radicchio di tardivo are hard to find in markets because they are harder to grow.
How do I select the best radicchio?
Look for radicchio with a bright color, firm leaves and no browning on the leaves. Radicchio di chioggia will have a spherical shape and can range in color from whitish/greenish to red to purple-green. Most grocery stores carry the red variety (with white veins).
How should I store radicchio and how long does it last?
Store radicchio in the refrigerator the same way that you would store other fresh greens. Even though radicchio has a firm, hearty texture, it doesn’t last as long as you might expect.
You can wash the vegetable immediately when you bring it home from the market. Then, it is generally recommended that you store radicchio in the refrigerator in the crisper drawer. You can also put it in a large bowl covered in plastic wrap or in a sealed plastic bag with a paper towel inside. The paper towel helps to absorb and reduce moisture from the leaves so it stays fresh and crunchy. Radicchio will only stay fresh for about 3 to 5 days.
Recipes and Preparation Tips
Many people learn to eat radicchio in spring mix blends. Radicchio is often one of the greens included in these pre-mixed salads sold in markets around the country.
If you’ve tried radicchio in a salad mix and choose to avoid it because of its strong, bitter taste, there are still ways to include it in your diet. You can mellow the sharp taste of radicchio by cooking it. You can also grill or sautee to soften the flavor. Some people also roast radicchio with balsamic vinegar or olive oil until it is tender, then sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
Allergies and Interactions
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, lettuce allergies are not common but can occur. People with allergies to other types of lettuce may react to different types of chicory, including radicchio. There are also reports of people with birch pollen allergies having symptoms when exposed to chicory.
If you are unsure about an allergy to radicchio, seek personalized advice from your healthcare provider.