Spring Root & Watercress Salad

This Spring Root & Watercress Salad is a hearty, healthy dish made with roasted & raw beets, radish, spinach, wheat berries & herbed balsamic dressing. A great healthy dinner or spring lunch!

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 are 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.

Spring Root & Watercress Salad

So how do you trick someone into eating beets? Like everything else, you have to prepare the beets a different way. In this watercess salad, I roasted just a few for texture and sweetness. I thinly shaved the rest, marinated them in a lemony dressing, and kept them raw. Their crunch works nicely with the chewy wheat berries, (and also they don’t taste as beet-like). I added some crumbly ricotta salata on top (not pictured), which is optional but recommended.

As Jack was devouring his watercress 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 Root & Watercress Salad

Oh hey – today’s the last day to vote in Saveur’s Best Food Blog awards. We’re up for best cooking blog, if you have a moment – go vote! (and if you have already, thank you!)


Spring Root Watercress Salad
 
This Spring Root & Watercress Salad is a delicious healthy dinner. Featuring beets 2 ways, it's full of sweetness and crunch.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 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
Dressing
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Wrap 1 of the yellow beets in foil and roast until fork tender. 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.

35 comments

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Skye from frommydiningtable.com
    04.09.2014

    I love beets. So would definitely like this salad. It looks dreamy.

  2. oh man, white balsamic is a weakness of mine. Loving this salad so much! And watercress is one of my favorite greens (with wild rockets/arugula). Will have to try this! x

    • jeanine
      04.09.2014

      me too – for some reason I never use to buy it but now I’m obsessed 🙂

  3. i didnt think i liked beets until i tried them roasted and now i love it. this salad looks very refreshing..i have no luck with good watercress, i see them at Asian grocery stores but they look dead 🙁

    • jeanine
      04.09.2014

      aww – well, arugula is a good sub 🙂

  4. I’ve found a new love for different foods since blogging too! Radishes used to taste terrible to me, but now I love their texture. Great salad!

    • jeanine
      04.09.2014

      that crunch! I just love it 🙂

  5. cheri from mysavoryspoon.blogspot.com
    04.09.2014

    The chioggia beet is one of my favorites for this reason, beautiful dish, looks so elegant!

  6. This salad is simply stunning, and I love all the springtime veggies! When my boyfriend and I started dating he told me he hated cauliflower (what’s to hate about cauliflower??)….I was convinced he’d like it if it was prepared differently and determined to make it happen….2 years later he tells me I don’t make cauliflower nearly enough 🙂

    • jeanine
      04.09.2014

      Ha, yep, that same scenario has happened around here :).

  7. Annie from fallsannie.com
    04.09.2014

    Every spring I get excited about radishes and buy a bunch. Then I try one and remember I don’t like them! I want to like them, but so far, no dice!

    • jeanine
      04.09.2014

      well you have to go in gradually – slice one and bury it into a big well-seasoned salad – you taste the crunch and not the bitterness.

  8. Peppers aren’t really my jam either. They especially don’t like me, along with radishes. Which is a shame. I love radishes!

  9. What a gorgeous salad! I don’t make NEARLY enough salad

  10. dora from ziripiti.com
    04.10.2014

    love it!
    beautiful images, beautiful colors, beautiful meals

  11. Gea from ocaldeiraodedagda.blogspot.pt
    04.10.2014

    The beet salad looks wonderful and is so healthy: i have to try it. Here in Portugal fresh salads season is also coming. Yum!

  12. My blog actually convinced me to fall in love with beets too! And the fact that I had such a huge harvest of them last year, and the roots keep forever. In fact, I believe I still have two sitting in my bottom fridge drawer…The best part about them for me is how much beauty they can add to a dish. Esp. love the chioggias.

  13. Oh man, I’m still working on learning to love beets. A beautiful salad like this looks very persuasive! Love all of those colors. 🙂

  14. I love beets and love watercress, a great salad!! Thnaks so much!!

  15. Beautiful salad! I used to not enjoy beets, but it turned out I just was not cooking them properly. Amazing how a little change in the kitchen can introduce such wonderful flavors to your palate in the future!

  16. Susan from wellseasoned.com.au
    04.10.2014

    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.

  17. Kasey from turntablekitchen.com
    04.10.2014

    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 🙂

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

  19. 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.

  20. Tabitha from foodlyadventures.blogspot.com
    04.22.2014

    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.

  21. whoah this weblog is fantastic i like reading your posts. Keep up the
    good work! You recognize, many persons are looking round for
    this information, you could help them greatly.

  22. 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.

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.