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.
My 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 watercress salad, I roasted just 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 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.
What to Serve with Watercress Salad
This watercress salad would be a delightful spring lunch on its own, but you could also serve is 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.
If you love this watercress salad recipe…
- 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
- 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.
- Make the dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic, garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, and pepper, and set aside.
- Using a mandoline or sharp knife, thinly slice the remaining raw yellow beet, the chioggia beet, and the black radish.
- 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.
- 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.