Spring Root & Watercress Salad

spring root & watercress salad / loveandlemons.com

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

I have a list going for Jack too: peas, asparagus, avocado. Check, check, check. And now the latest: 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 / loveandlemons.com

So how do you trick someone into eating beets? Like everything else, you have to prepare the beets a different way. For texture and sweetness, I roasted just a few and hid those underneath. 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 also added some crumbly ricotta salata, (not pictured), which is optional but recommended.

As Jack was devouring his plate, 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 / loveandlemons.com

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 veggie salad
Serves: serves 3-4
  • 2 small yellow beets
  • 1 small chioggia beet
  • ½ large black radish
  • handful of watercress (or arugula or other spring green)
  • ½ cup cooked wheat berries
  • handful of chopped spinach
  • toasted pine nuts
  • crumbled ricotta salata
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (a good fruity one)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • handful of fresh herbs: oregano and chives
  • salt & pepper
  1. (Do ahead): roast 1 of the yellow beets until fork tender. Let it cool, peel it, and thinly slice it. Chill until ready to use.
  2. Whisk dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  3. Use a mandoline (ideally), thinly slice the other (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. (taste)
  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 crumbly cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more dressing if you like.

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

If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.


  1. Skye from frommydiningtable.com on said:

    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 from loveandlemons.com on said:

      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 from loveandlemons.com on said:

      aww – well, arugula is a good sub 🙂

  4. Katrina @ WVS from warmvanillasugar.com on said:

    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 from loveandlemons.com on said:

      that crunch! I just love it 🙂

  5. cheri from mysavoryspoon.blogspot.com on said:

    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 from loveandlemons.com on said:

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

  7. Annie from fallsannie.com on said:

    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 from loveandlemons.com on said:

      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. This is unbelievably gorgeous! I adore all of the colors—so perfect for Spring! Pinned!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      ha, thx 🙂

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

  10. ATasteOfMadness from atasteofmadness.blogspot.ca on said:

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

  11. This looks gorgeous! I love hiding foods my husband won’t normally eat into his lunches 😉

  12. dora from ziripiti.com on said:

    love it!
    beautiful images, beautiful colors, beautiful meals

  13. Gea from ocaldeiraodedagda.blogspot.pt on said:

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

  14. 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.

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

  16. Fern Reed from fernreedgmailcom on said:

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

  17. 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!

  18. Susan from wellseasoned.com.au on said:

    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.

  19. Kasey from turntablekitchen.com on said:

    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 🙂

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

  21. OMG stop it. This salad is just gorgeous. Those colors are INSANE!!!

  22. 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.

  23. Tabitha from foodlyadventures.blogspot.com on said:

    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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

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