Italy’s famous Insalata Tricolore represents the colors of the Italian flag. A fantastic salad with an exciting trio of lettuces and a vibrant lemon vinaigrette. This is my FAVORITE salad for any occasion and the BEST salad to serve with an Italian meal.
Fresh crisp flavorful lettuces, rich nutty parmesan cheese and luscious Lemony vinaigrette make this tricolore salad a popular classic. Tricolore salad goes with so many things and it always delights.
I make this for weeknight dinners and for fancy parties. Italian tricolore salad is a great dinner party dish: colorful, elegant and easy to throw together. A simple salad but so pretty and delicious because of the strong personalities of these lettuces and how well they complement each other.
Insalata Tricolore means salad of three colors
The Italian flag with vertical stripes of green, white and red, is often referred to as: Il Tricolore. This salad is named after the flag.
- The green is rich peppery arugula.
- Endive is the white, light and crunchy.
- The red is radicchio: thick, cabbagy and slightly bitter (in a good way).
Interestingly, this salad is not the only Italian dish to use the colors of the flag. Many writers have noted the connection of Italy’s national colors to its cuisine. Once you start looking for it, you will see a lot of green-white-and-red dishes, such as caprese salad, chicken parmesan and pizza margherita (mozarella, basil and tomato).
The Italian Dressing
- In Italy, the dressing for a tricolore salad is a drizzle of good quality olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, and a sprinkle fresh ground pepper – delicious.
- Or you can mix up a fresh lemony vinaigrette with dijon mustard and a hint of garlic, as I do in this recipe.
- Parmesan cheese is a delicious complement to the bright citrus vinaigrette. The cheese can be finely grated and mixed in with the salad or shaved and tossed on top, or both. For best flavor and texture, be sure to use good quality imported parmesan, such as Parmigiana Reggiano.
When you don’t have an occasion to buy fancy lettuces like radicchio and endive, try other tricolore combinations. One of my favorites is the trio of Arugula, thinly sliced red cabbage, and slivers of avocado, with the same lemony vinaigrette as I use for this tricolore salad.
Other Delicious Leafy Salads:
- Raw Kale Salad with Honey Lemon and Parmesan
- Butter Lettuce Salad with Citrus Honey Vinaigrette
- The Best Green Salad
Here’s the Tricolore salad recipe. If you try this recipe I hope you’ll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I’d love to know what you think!Print
Insalata Tricolore: Italian Salad with 3 Lettuces
A wonderful, simple, leafy salad with three lettuces, lemon dressing and parmesan cheese. A great side salad with virtually any meal and the perfect salad for an Italian meal.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 0 min
- Total Time: 15 mins
- Yield: 8 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: no cook
- Cuisine: Italian
For the Vinaigrette
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 small garlic clove, finely minced (¼ teaspoon)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
For the Salad Greens
- 8 cups arugula
- 2–3 heads endive, ends trimmed, cut into ¼-inch slices crosswise
- 1 large head radicchio, cut in half, triangular core removed, cut into large, (1-inch) dice. (see instructions in the notes below)
- Thin shavings of fresh Parmesan cheese, using your vegetable peeler or 3-4 tablespoons of finely-grated fresh parmesan cheese. (I recommend Parmigiano Reggiano)
- Whisk the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Slowly pour in olive oil while whisking.
- Combine lettuces together in a large bowl. Toss with dressing just before serving. Top with shavings of Parmesan cheese or toss with 3-4 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese.
How to chop radicchio: My favorite way and the easiest way to prepare the radicchio for this salad, is to dice it. After you cut it in half and remove the little triangular core, lay one half cut-side-down on your cutting board. Make 5 or 6 thick slices horizontally across and then turn your radicchio or turn your cutting board and make 5 or 6 slices vertically across. Repeat with the other half.
Nutrition Information: The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and is not a substitute for the advice of a professional nutritionist.
Keywords: Italian tri colore salad; classic Italian salad; Italian salad; salad of arugula, radicchio and endive
Originally published April 13, 2013. Updated June 2, 2021 with several new photos and some clarifying details added to the recipe. The same delicious recipe!