What Is Pink Lettuce?

Late February and early March is the worst time of year. Late winter is almost behind us, and early spring is so close, yet so far away. Into this dark season comes a bright spot by way of an unusual bit of pink color springing up on plates all over Instagram: gorgeous pink radicchio.

The latest food trend to hit social media is pink lettuce, officially called Radicchio del Veneto or La Rosa del Veneto, is a type of chicory grown mostly in Italy, but also here in the U.S. in California and Pennsylvania.

Eater has some interesting background on how the pink vegetable is grown. The radicchio is “forced,” a process where the vegetable is planted, grown for a specific length of time, and then harvested and replanted so that it can be grown in the dark. Growers will cover the plant with sand so that no sunlight reaches the stem.

For now, we’ll just have to wait for advice for home growers on how to grow this millennial pink food at home, or at least radicchio with a little color. Normal radicchio has a slightly bitter green bite to it; pink lettuce is more subtle, partly bitter, partly sweet taste.

Obviously, the best thing about it is that it makes your dinner plate—and your Instagram feed—so much more attractive. Shoppers and diners in New York have been posting pretty pictures of the photo-ready millennial pink lettuce across social media feeds.

As far as food trends go, this one seems to be geographically limited right now. You can find the pink lettuce on restaurant plates and grocery store shelves mostly on the East Coast right now, specifically the New York area, or in California. Whole Foods, Eataly, and whole seller Baldor all have it, for around $5 a head.

If you’re lucky enough to come across the latest food craze in your hometown, here are a couple of recipes using regular radicchio where you could easily swap in the pink lettuce. They’ll not only look pretty enough to post, but taste great, too.

1. Blood Orange and Radicchio Salad

pink lettuce
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Perfect for the late winter blues, this bright and fresh salad made with pink lettuce instead of regular radicchio will make you the star of your dinner table and your social media feed.

Get the recipe here.

2. Fennel, Radicchio and Apple Salad

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Another perfect late winter salad, this pink medley will cheer you up with a tasty, healthy meal.

Get the recipe here.

What do you think of the pink food trends? Not too long ago, the FDA approved pink pineapples for sale in the United States, and we can expect to see them more widespread this summer.

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