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Know your leafy greens: 15 favorites to add to your diet

Radicchio

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12. Radicchio

Pliny the Elder, the Roman philosopher, heaped praise upon radicchio for its medicinal properties, noting that it was helpful in purifying blood and a natural sedative. Modern researchers praise it for its extraordinary phenolic content; in one study, of 40 vegetables tested, radicchio placed in the top four. This member of the chicory family brings to mind small, pretty decorative heads of red cabbage, but with a more-delicate texture and a completely different taste. It somehow manages to be both bitter and sweet (but mostly bitter). Most radicchio is imported from Italy and is thus expensive (and not local) but increasingly, specialty farmers are producing it for the American market. Radicchio is generally added to salads, but is lovely sautéed or served in warm salads as well.