"Tricolor salad” or “three color salad” (insalata tricolore) uses foods to form the three colors of the flag of Italy—red, white and green. The salad has been served at New York City’s many Italian restaurants and many non-Italian restaurants as well—restaurants such as the Union Square Cafe and Rao’s.
Tricolor salad (insalata tricolore) appears to have been widely served in New York-area restaurants since about 1983. Ingredients for the salad vary, but popular ingredients include endive, arugula and radicchio.
Wiktionary: insalata tricolore
From the colours of the Italian flag
insalata tricolore f. (plural insalate tricolori)
1. (used especially outside of Italy) Any of several salads containing green, white and red ingredients; especially an insalata caprese
Wikipedia: Flag of Italy
The flag of Italy (bandiera d’Italia, often referred to in Italian as il Tricolore) is a tricolour featuring three equally sized vertical pales of green, white, and red, with the green at the hoist side. Its current form has been in use since 19 June 1946 and was formally adopted on 1 January 1948.
The first entity to use the Italian tricolour was the Repubblica Cispadana (Cispadane Republic) in 1797, after Napoleon’s victorious army crossed Italy. During this time many small republics of Jacobin inspiration supplanted the ancient absolute states and almost all, with variants of colour, used flags characterised by three bands of equal size, clearly inspired by the French model of 1790. The colours chosen by the Republic were red and white, the colours of the flag of Milan, and green, which was the colour of the uniform of the Milanese civic guard.
Some have attributed particular values to the colours, and a common interpretation is that the green represents the country’s plains and the hills; white, the snow-capped Alps; and red, blood spilt in the Wars of Italian Independence. A more religious interpretation is that the green represents hope, the white represents faith, and the red represents charity; this references the three theological virtues.
27 February 1983, New York (NY) Times, “Highlighting the Regions of Italy” by Florence Fabricant, pg. LI15:
Recommended dishes: ...tricolor salad…
(Don Ciccio Il Pescatore in Freeport—ed.)
7 September 1983, Trenton (NJ) Evening Times, “Rosh Hashana: the Italian way,” pg. D3, col. 5:
Red, white and green, the colors of Italy’s flag, peeked out of this tricolor salad bowl. Insalata Tricolore was included in the Rush Hashana dinner as the vegetables were at their tenderest and youngest.
1 1/2 lbs. tender, fresh string beans
6 small beets, green removed
12 small, new white potatoes
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
6 small springs Italian parsley
27 January 1985, New York (NY) <>Times, “A More Elaborate Menu” by Florence Fabricant, pg. LI17:
A three-color salad (lettuce, endive and radicchio) was attractive, its dressing tasty with a bite of lemon.
(San Remo in Westbury—ed.)
3 November 1985, New York (NY) Times, “From Sea Bright to Farmingdale” by Valerie Sinclair, pg. NJ27, col. 2:
A mixture of endive, arugula and radicchio—it is called Tr-Color Salad—was excellent, and much better than the overly expensive Caesar salad ($10.95 for two).
(The Farmingdale House—ed.)
Frommer’s New York
By Faye Hammel
New York, NY: Prentice Hall Trade Division
We followed this with a tangy Caesar salad and the insalata tricolore — radicchio, Belgian endive, and arugula, $4 each.
26 August 1991, New York magazine, “The Instiable Critic” by Gael Greene, pg. 127:
A half-order of spaghetti filetto di pomodoro, an insalata tricolore — arugula, radicchio, and endive with Parmesan, a glass of wine — that’s a guilt-free dinner for $25.
The Union Square Cafe Cookbook:
160 favorite recipes from New York’s acclaimed restaurant
By Danny Meyer and Michael Romano
New York, NY : HarperCollins
SAUTEED INSALATA TRICOLORE
Americans enjoy their salad before the meal, the French prefer it afterward. We wonder, why can’t salad be served on the same plate—with the meat. Michael loves doing just that—using the same ingredients we keep on hand for our endive, radicchio, and arugula salad.
Rao’s Recipes from the Neighborhood
By Frank Pellegrino
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
Serves 4 to 6
1 head radicchio
1 fennel bulb
1 bunch arugula
1/2 cup olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste