Light and Simple: Al Fresco Finesse

20 Apr 2017
POSTED BY Alvin Thomas

Make your salad days shine with these tasty recipes ideal for outdoor suppers.

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, take your meal outdoors for some tasty al fresco dining featuring a fresh and easy-to-prepare salad.

With minimal ingredients and maximum flavour, this combination of radicchio, California green ripe olives, chickpeas and Parmesan cheese is sure to find its way into your seasonal meal occasions, from at-home suppers to garden parties.

Boasting vibrant purple hues, radicchio not only looks great on the plate but also packs a unique and pleasing flavour that is complemented by the texture added to each bite by toasted sunflower seeds and chickpeas.

Completing the salad are California ripe olives, which are grown by farming families across California. The California green ripe olive is similar to the black ripe olive but features a more mild and buttery flavour profile. 

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Radicchio Salad with Olives, Chickpeas and Parmesan

Recipe courtesy of the Simply Recipes blog

Prep time: 15 minutes

Resting time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4-6


  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 large head radicchio (300-320g)
  • 1 can (450g) California green ripe olives, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 1 can (450g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, plus additional, to taste


  • Add the sunflower seeds to a small, dry frying pan. Toast over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the seeds are toasted around the edges and smell fragrant.
  • Transfer the seeds to a bowl to cool.
  • Peel away and discard a layer or two of outer radicchio leaves if they look wilted or battered. Cut the head of radicchio into quarters through the root. Trim away the root.
  • Cut each quarter crosswise into strips, 2.5cm to 3cm thick. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add olives, chickpeas and 3/4 cup cheese to the bowl with the radicchio.
  • Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and toss gently until the ingredients are evenly coated. If the cheese clumps together, break apart with a spatula and stir in.
  • Let the salad stand for at least 10 minutes, or up to an hour.
  • Add extra salt and pepper, if desired. Serve the salad on individual plates or one shared platter. Top with remaining cheese and toasted sunflower seeds.

Substitution: If radicchio is unavailable, try frisee, endive or another similar green.

Note: Salad is best served within one hour of preparation but can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several days.

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