Jewel-toned radicchio salad cups with apple and fennel slaw are a lovely addition to your appetizer spread or just a nice break from everyday salad in a bowl. No matter the occasion, lots of lemon and balanced flavors make them a joy to eat.
Salad Cups: A Better Way to Eat Salad!
Time to admit what we all know: Eating salad with a fork is weirdly tiresome. On the other hand, salad cups, kind of like a little all-vegetable burrito, let you take a nice big bite of salad and get all the brightness of lemon and crunchy bits of apple and fennel in one very satisfying bite.
These salad cups with jewel-toned radicchio leaves make for an eye-catching appetizer or just a nice break from everyday salad.
They’re filled with a simple apple and fennel slaw with lots of lemon, olive oil, and fresh herbs. I had a few oddly shaped and too-small radicchio leaves as I built my salad cups, so I just cut those into thin ribbons and tossed them in the slaw for a pop of color.
Radicchio and Endive: Perfect for Salad Cups
Bitter chicory leaves like radicchio and endive are the perfect size for little salad bites. To balance the sometimes assertive bitterness of the radicchio, I created a sweet and lemony slaw made with fragrant fennel, tart apples, and a mix of fennel fronds and parsley. It comes together as a beautifully balanced bite of salad and was good enough that my teenager asked for seconds.
Make Them Yours
Of course, once you have the basics down, there’s lots of room for variation. Julienned carrots or radishes, thinly sliced cabbage, collards, or kale, or even shredded cauliflower and broccoli would all be nice additions.
More Holiday Appetizer Inspiration from BkS:
- Brie and Roasted Grape Tarts
- Modern Holiday Cheeseboard
- Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Dip
- Homemade Onion Dip
- 1 large fennel bulb, cored with green fronds trimmed and reserved
- 2 medium tart apples (I used Pippins)
- Zest of 1 lemon plus 2 tablespoons juice, divided
- 1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled, and minced
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup minced parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
- 1 small to medium head radicchio, core trimmed
On a mandoline slicer or with a sharp knife, carefully julienne the fennel and apples. Toss with lemon zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
In a small bowl, whisk to combine remaining tablespoon lemon juice, garlic, honey, sea salt, and pepper. Whisk in olive oil. Drizzle over slaw. Toss in parsley and Parmesan. Taste and add salt or pepper as needed.
To prep radicchio, gently pull leaves off one by one as carefully as possible. This is easiest with small oval radicchio and not big round ones.
Lay radicchio leaves out on a platter and fill with a spoonful or two of slaw. Garnish with parsley, reserved fennel fronds, and black pepper.
Note: Radicchio cups can be made a few hours ahead of time then covered with plastic wrap and set in the fridge. The slaw can be made a day ahead and kept covered in the fridge. Drain off any accumulated juices before plating.