Spring Root Veggie Salad

Make this watercress salad for a healthy spring meal! I love how the soft greens contrast with colorful root veggies in this refreshing, delicious dish.

Spring Root & Watercress Salad

Since starting this blog, I’ve gotten over a number of foods I didn’t think I liked: radishes, carrots, and, most recently, pepper. (I know, pepper is a weird one).

I have a list going for Jack too: peas, asparagus, avocado. Check, check, check. And now – with this watercress salad – beets! (Yes, Jack, I lied. These things I told you were turnips were in fact beets).

My husband is not a picky eater by any means — there are about five foods he’s adamant about not eating. I just find it a fun game to work these things in. The only thing left on the list is grapefruit, and I’ll save that for another day.

Watercress salad recipe

So how do you trick someone into eating beets? Like everything else, you have to prepare the beets a different way. In this salad, I roasted a few for texture and sweetness. I thinly shaved the rest, marinated them in a lemony dressing along with a shaved radish, and kept them raw.

The crisp shaved beets work nicely with the chewy wheat berries and crunchy toasted pine nuts. I added some crumbly ricotta salata on top (not pictured), which is optional but recommended. A zingy lemon dressing ties the whole thing together.

As Jack was devouring his root veggie salad, he said, “I think this is my favorite salad you’ve made.” I kept my little secret to myself, but the cat’s out of the bag now.

Spring watercress salad recipe ingredients

What to Serve with This Salad

This salad would be a delightful spring lunch on its own, but you could also serve it as a side dish with a larger meal. It would pair wonderfully with a light spring soup – try this asparagus soup, this carrot gazpacho, or this ginger miso soup.

An egg salad, avocado, or tomato sandwich would be excellent with it as well.

If you love this recipe…

Try this kale salad, this beet salad, this broccoli salad, or this pasta salad next!

Spring Watercress Salad

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This spring root veggie salad is a delicious healthy lunch. Featuring beets 2 ways, it's a fun showcase of their sweetness & crunch.
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 3-4
  • 2 small yellow beets
  • 1 small chioggia beet
  • ½ large black radish
  • ½ cup cooked wheat berries
  • Handful of chopped spinach
  • Handful of watercress (or arugula or other spring green)
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Crumbled ricotta salata
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Handful of fresh herbs: oregano and chives
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Wrap 1 of the yellow beets in foil and roast until fork tender, about 45 minutes. Let it cool, peel it, and thinly slice it. Chill until ready to use.
  2. Make the dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic, garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, and pepper, and set aside.
  3. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, thinly slice the remaining raw yellow beet, the chioggia beet, and the black radish.
  4. Toss together the raw beets, watercress, some of the dressing, salt & pepper. Let that sit for 20 minutes or so, tossing occasionally, until the dressing reduces the bitterness in the radish.
  5. Warm the wheatberries slightly and toss them with the spinach and some more of the dressing. Place the roasted beet, raw beets, radish and watercress on top along with some pine nuts and ricotta salata. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more dressing if you like.


I’m using this olive oil right now, and it’s delightful.


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  1. I’ve learned to overcome hating certain foods since I started blogging too. I hated tomatoes or tomatoes (I hope you read them differently), until I made my heirloom tomato & haloumi caprese.

    Hated cauliflower till I made it into “rice” or whole-roasted it. I still hate sheep eyeballs and testicles but that’s something I’ll discuss with my therapist.

  2. whoah this weblog is fantastic i like reading your posts. Keep up the
    good work! You recognize, many persons are looking round for
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  3. Tabitha from foodlyadventures.blogspot.com

    Love this recipe! I will try to make this this week. Never thought of using watercress in a salad. Looks so refreshing and perfect for spring/summer. Your photographs are amazing as well.

  4. I love beets, but my husband will pick it out of salads. Must be a guy thing. I need to find ways to sneak it in too.
    Love that spring is bringing such lovely salads… particularly love the lemon dressing.

  5. This salad is so colorful! Love the way it looks, bet it tastes great as well!

  6. Kasey from turntablekitchen.com

    I go back and forth on beets and truth I’m a little sick of them at the moment, but I think I just need to eat your salad to get chummy with them again 🙂

  7. Susan from wellseasoned.com.au

    We are huge fans of salads with beets, but I am trying to like radishes too – I’m picking a couple up this weekend, and will be trying your avocado toast! Plus will put just a couple of thin wafers in my next salad… thanks for the tip about leaving them for 20mins.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.