Meatless Monday – Seared Radicchio and Red Pepper Salad

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As fall sets in, it’s time to switch up your salad game. Aim for an interesting melange of heartier ingredients like this Seared Radicchio and Red Pepper Salad. Caramelizing the balsamic vinegar marinated radicchio and red peppers not only helps to reduce the bitterness of the often forgotten salad green, but it also heightens the sweetness of the pepper. Try topping this salad with some grilled mushrooms and toasted walnuts for a satisfying Meatless Monday meal.

Ingredients
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 small head radicchio, quartered through the root
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 4 planks
2 tablespoons minced red onion
¼ cup dried cranberries, minced
1 small head red leaf lettuce

Directions
In a large bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, black pepper, and dried oregano. Add the quartered radicchio and red bell pepper pieces, and coat on all sides with the dressing.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the marinated radicchio and red bell pepper pieces and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally until the vegetables are caramelized on all sides. Transfer the vegetables to a cutting board and allow them to cool for a few minutes. Slice the radicchio into ¼-inch-thick strips, and cut the bell pepper into medium dice; add both to the bowl that holds excess dressing/marinade. Add the minced red onion and dried cranberries; toss to combine. Chill this mixture in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. During this time, the sweet vinegar will cut through the bitter radicchio taste, and the dried cranberries will rehydrate in the dressing.

Serve the salad over red leaf lettuce, which adds a refreshing crunch to this tart and sweet salad of cooked ingredients.

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