Slowly but surely, it seems like Spring is finally coming. So I decided that I would spice things up for this Farmers’ Market Friday. And when I say spice, I mean a watercress kind of spice. If you’ve had watercress before, you know what I mean. It is small, green and leafy but don’t let that fool you. Watercress is a Spring vegetable that’s known for its kick. A couple weeks ago, vendors at my local market, The Westover Farmers’ Market, started to bring this fierce vegetable to their stands. For me, that was a sign that Spring was on its way.
Being the fierce leaf that it is, watercress is packed with important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K and vitamin A. Besides benefiting your vision and your cardiovasular system, it is also made of compounds that are suggested to have an anti-cancer effect. But with all these health benefits, why isn’t watercress popular? It might be because when you look up recipes, you tumble upon hundreds of ideas for watercress soups or salads topped with watercress. But since you’re an International Palate reader, you want something more, right? Yes and that’s why I’ve combined the two for an updated version of a watercress salad.
At your local farmer’s market, you can definitely find root vegetables all year-round. These reliable root veggies are the base to my salad recipe. You might be wondering, “how is she mixing soup with salad?” Answer: Watercress tops the salad and a watercress dressing (soup) is drizzled on top. This dressing has a similar texture to the tahini dressing and will coat your veggies. It can also be stored as a dressing for another salad.
Farmers Market List (depending on your location, ingredients may vary): Watercress, Beets, Carrot, Parsley, Mint, Lemon
- 1 bunch watercress, thick stems trimmed
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- pinch of salt, plus more for tasting
- ½ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 golden/red beets, peeling and sliced
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 bunch watercress
Preheat the oven to 375F.
In a large bowl, toss together the carrots, beets, olive oil, salt and pepper. Evenly disperse them on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until they become soft. Set aside and let cool. Chop the carrots and beets in to smaller pieces, if desired.
Dressing: Bring a saucepan with water to a boil. Cook watercress, mint, and parsley just until wilted, about 15 seconds; drain. Transfer watercress and herbs to ice water; let cool. Drain and pat-dry with a paper towel. Chop coarsely.
Purée watercress, herbs, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, pinch of salt, and ¾ cup water in a blender until smooth, thinning with more water as needed to reach desired consistency; season with salt and more lemon juice, if desired.
Salad: Place all the carrots, the beets, the chickpeas and the watercress (from the salad ingredients) into a salad bowl. Toss with salad dressing, adding as much as desired. Season with salt and pepper.