I have the perfect side kick for all those juicy meats you are grilling up as summer gets under way. This Nectarine, Radicchio, and Arugula salad is rich with color and flavors as well. The salad is a snap to throw together and I even snuck in bacon as well. Doesn’t bacon belong in every salad?
With Father’s Day around the corner and the days heating up, crunchy and refreshing salads are working their way into our daily menu and this salad was a recent hit. The crunchy radicchio and the sweet nectarines are a stellar duo and add so much color to the salad. Since we eat with our eyes first, your eyes will not be hungry. The colors are just amazing!
The Salad Base for the Nectarine, Radicchio, and Arugula Salad
It is arugula. Obviously, I am a fan of stating the obvious. I tend to opt for arugula in many salads. The peppery leaves offer a good contrast to other salad additions without being too bulky. Plus, it is one of my favorites to buy in the bag. Yes, I know arugula grows in the ground, but a little grocery store convenience is allowed. We almost always have a bag or two chilling in our fridge.
The Other Guys
While arugula is a nutritious leaf on its own and has tons of flavor, the vibrancy of the other items tells you that they also have a lot to offer. Although food is important for several reasons, not only nutrition, we must not look past the nourishing aspect of food that does come from the many nutrients it provides.
Although I often use radicchio to cook with, it makes a fantastic salad addition. It can stand on its own as the salad base with some sweet balsamic vinegar or added to a salad as it is in this Nectarine, Radicchio, and Arugula Salad. Radicchio leaves are not as crunchy as Romaine lettuce, but the leaves have a nice bite coupled with a slight bitterness. In addition to great flavor, radicchio is packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber (yay!), phytonutrients, and antioxidants.
When you pick out your nectarine, opt for firm ones versus soft. The firm fruit will hold up better to slicing and work better in the salad. The sweet flesh of the nectarine works well with the slight bitterness of the radicchio and the citrus vinaigrette.
Just as the color of radicchio screams nutrition bonus, the nectarine also has a lot to offer. The bright orange skin is a sign of a common antioxidant called beta-carotene, which can be converted to vitamin A. This juicy and sweet fruit also has the ever-so-loved vitamin C, fiber, and various minerals.
Bacon (in the Bacon, Nectarine, Radicchio, and Arugula Salad)
I thought about using my blogging powers to hide that in the title subliminally, but then I realized I would just surprise you with this AMAZING salad ingredient.
Do I really need to explain this one anymore? For all you bacon doubters out there, I will go ahead and give a little rationale to this addition. The saltiness and fattiness of the bacon brings a contrast to the sweet and bitter flavors of the other items. You know all the talk of Umami that goes around? This umami adds a satiating factor to the salad that may even please the meat lovers out there.
In our house we tend to slow roast our bacon in the oven at low temperature. Besides an agonizingly delicious aroma, the bacon comes out perfect. Additionally, this method works beautifully for our favorite bacon which we get from a rancher (not an affiliate link) at our farmer’s market. If you have enough time, try this method out. At a temperature of 300F, the bacon will take about an hour depending on thickness. If you want to rush it, set temp to 325F and it should take about 40 minutes. Even though it takes longer, you won’t be disappointed.
After the tray of bacon heaven is done, you can eat some for breakfast and then save a few pieces for the Nectarine, Radicchio, and Arugula Salad. Using the slow roasted bacon, I cut up three to four pieces and crisp it up in a small, dry pan over medium heat. This makes it crisper and it will hold up to the vinaigrette better.
I love making super simple salad dressings at home. For years I relied on store bought vinaigrettes even though I was never too pleased with the ingredients. When I learned how simple they could be, that was the end of the store-bought salad dressing era.
While at our local farmer’s market recently, I discovered a delicious blood orange olive oil made by Nuvó (not an affiliate link). The fragrant notes of blood orange did not overwhelm the olive oil flavor. I knew it would be beautiful as a salad dressing. The olive oil blended well with the acidity of the lemon juice and sweetness of the honey. I like adding shallots to many of my vinaigrettes, but you could easily leave them out.
If you don’t have a citrus olive oil, don’t worry. Any good olive oil will work. You could supplement with a splash of orange juice or simply stick with the lemon. The flavor will still be great!
One last nutrition bonus. The acid from the lemon juice in the vinaigrette helps to make the iron from the radicchio and arugula more absorbable for our bodies. Outside of heme iron (aka iron from animal meats), iron can be a difficult mineral for our bodies to absorb so lemon gives it a little help.
Ok, that is enough nutrition 101 for you all today! Sometimes I gotta show off all that food has to offer besides nourishing our souls at the dinner table. Please
Now, please enjoy this salad and everything it brings to your dinner/picnic/BBQ table this summer. Drop me a comment below or tag me on Instagram if you make this Nectarine, Radicchio, and Arugula Salad.
The product links included in this post are not affiliate links. I only includes foods and products that I personally love. When an affiliate link is included, I will label it as such.
Nectarine, Radicchio, and Arugula Salad
- 2-4 cups Baby Arugula
- ½ head of Radicchio chopped into small pieces
- 2 Nectarines cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 3 strips of cooked bacon chopped (see note)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 tbsp Blood Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil or plain olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp shallot minced
- ½ tsp salt
- In small mixing bowl let shallots sit in lemon juice for a few minutes. Then add in olive oil and honey. Whisk together and taste before adding the salt. Season to taste with the salt.
- Combine all ingredients in large salad bowl.
- Gently drizzle in part of th vinaigrette and toss to coat. Slowly add in more of the vinaigrette until salad is dressed to your preference. Season with any additional salt and pepper you like.