Autumn Apple and Radicchio Salad

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You guys. Salad. Salad!!

For some reason I don’t eat salads very often. I LOVE them, and I think they are so amazing, but I rarely eat them!

Closeup overhead shot of a salad in a black bowl, with sliced apple, leafy greens, purple chicory, and a fork, on a gray cloth background, printed with white and orange text.

I think maybe it’s because I’m too lazy to make one for lunch, and for dinner we usually do something fancier and a bit more involved because AJ has salad (not a salad, just salad – he eats spinach and kale plain, all by themselves!) every single day for lunch. And people call me a rabbit!

But I don’t care any more. Salad is on the menu every day from here on out. Especially if it has apples and radicchio in it.

Closeup of half of a head of purple radicchio, with a black bowl of salad and scattered greens and sliced apple in shallow focus in the background, on a wrinkled gray cloth surface.

I don’t know if the combination of apples and radicchio is really weird (is it totally weird?) but I am in love. For some reason this idea just popped into my head and I wasn’t sure if it would work. But for realz, it works.

I’m kind of just getting started with bitter foods. I have Jennifer McLagan’s excellent book, Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes. And let me tell you, this is an amazing and beautiful ode to all things bitter.

Bitter, available on Amazon

Sometimes I love bitterness. I made this radicchio and gorgonzola pasta one time, and it was delicious. But then there are other times when bitter flavors catch me off guard, and I feel all taken aback, like the beautiful food I just made has somehow betrayed me.

It’s said that we often learn to appreciate bitter foods more and more as we age because our tastebuds pick up fewer and fewer strong flavors, so I think I’m still just getting used to it.

A black bowl of salad greens, apple slices, purple chicory, crumbled goat cheese, and sunflower seeds, with scattered leaves and fruit on a gray tablecloth.

As a result, I was kind of afraid to make this salad. I had this idea – apples and radicchio – but I wasn’t really sure how much I would like it. But it makes sense – sweet tartness to balance out those bitter overtones, with tons of crave-worthy crunch!

I threw it together for lunch yesterday, whipped up a quick apple cider vinaigrette, and dug in. And it was good.

Like, “I wished I had made double the amount” good.

Top-down shot of a black bowl of salad with a serrated knife and a fork, sliced apple, purple radicchio, and leafy greens on a gray tablecloth on a brown wood table.

The sweet-tart apples complemented the slight bite of the radicchio, and the tangy dressing was simple enough to let the other flavors shine through, but vinegary enough to make my taste buds tingle. I may or may not have licked the bowl after all the salad was gone, to make sure I got every last drop of dressing out…

Top-down closely cropped shot of a black ceramic bowl of salad with scattered slices of apple, pieces of radicchio, greens, and a fork, on a gray tablecloth.

We should also talk about apples for a moment. We’ve been getting them from a a local apple farm ten pounds at a time, and even though we have so many on hand, we still tend to just eat all of them raw before I can do anything with them in the kitchen. Because they are just so darned good.

This week’s varieties were Jonalicious and Golden Delicious – two of my favorites. Super crisp and sweet-tart. SO GOOD.

Closeup closely cropped overhead shot of a black bowl of leafy greens, sliced apple, sunflower seeds, crumbled goat cheese, and purple radicchio, on a gray cloth background.

Sooo maybe I’ll choose some fruit that’s better for baking, and make some sort of apple dessert next week? I’ll have to hide my stash from the resident food monster. Wish me luck!

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Top-down shot of a black bowl of salad with sliced apple, half a head of radicchio, a fork and serrated knife, and scattered greens on a gray tablecloth.

Apple and Radicchio Salad

  • Author: Raquel Smith
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x


This Apple and Radicchio Salad perfectly balances sweet, tangy apples with the bitter bite of radicchio. It’s a delicious fall salad!



For the Salad:

  • 1 small apple, cored and sliced
  • 1 very small head radicchio (or more, to taste)
  • 4 cups salad greens
  • 2 Tbsp shelled sunflower seeds
  • 34 Tbsp crumbled goat cheese
  • fresh cracked black pepper

For the Dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • pinch salt


Pile up all the salad ingredients on two plates. Mix the dressing ingredients together with a fork, then drizzle over the salad immediately before serving. If you prefer, you may also combine all salad ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss to coat with the dressing before serving.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No-Cook
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Keywords: salad, fall, autumn, apple, chicory

Did it take you awhile to make the adjustment to loving bitterness? What’s your favorite way to feature fall apples in savory meals? Share your stories with us in the comments below, and don’t forget to give this recipe a rating when you try it!

And if you love fall salads, be sure to check out some of these variations:

Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 21, 2015. Last updated: December 30, 2019 at 21:03 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Raquel Smith

Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now merged into Foodal).

4 thoughts on “Autumn Apple and Radicchio Salad”

  1. Raquel, this salad looks gorgeous! I love the vibrant greens and purples! Can I ask what camera and lens you used to shoot this?

    • Thanks Ramona! My camera is a little embarrassing… promise not to laugh! It’s a 10 year old Canon XTi that I bought off my old boss 4 (5??) years ago. I did spend the ~$400 on a 50mm f/1.4 lens, though, which I love. I’m hoping to get a new camera hopefully in January!!

      • No laughing here 🙂 Actually, if there’s any laughing to be done, we should be laughing together since my camera is almost exactly on par with yours, age and all, but I’m working with the kit lens (horrors!) I was recently debating buying the 50mm 1.4 lens as an upgrade because I can’t get the shots I want to with my current lens (or it’s me still trying to figure out how to max out my current tools) I figured that could be a good next step until I decide to fully commit and invest in a better camera. Thanks for the feedback! (Love the support you’re giving FBP!)

        • Oh man, yeah, I stopped using the kit lens a long time ago! You’ll be amazed at what a better lens does. I really recommend the Canon 50mm f/1.8 for a cheaper lens, or the Canon 50mm f/1.4 if you have the extra cash. I would definitely get a new lens sooner rather than later, and then wait on the camera body. I bought my lens about a year and a half ago, and I’m just now feeling like I really need to upgrade my camera.


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