Judith Hausman
May 22, 2013


Photo by Judith Hausman

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Watercress makes for a terrific late-spring salad.

Oh how I wish I had a secret source of healthy, crunchy, bracing watercress like an acquaintance of mine once had. A deep-wooded stream ran through her property, and the lucky duck had plenty of tender watercress growing alongside it. I buy mine in bunches and have to compost a good portion of the tough stems. If you do, too, you might want to combine the watercress with less-expensive romaine lettuce to equal about 7 to 8 cups of greens for an ample salad.

I apologize for the out-of-season apple (or orange, for that matter) in this recipe. I add it in paper-thin slices as a sweet and mellowing counterpoint to the spicy radishes and the peppery cress. The touch of honey in the dressing has a similar effect, but, of course, you can leave the fruit out altogether. The mustard or mayo just serves to emulsify the acidic lime juice and the oil so the dressing doesn’t separate. 

A few sliced, hard-boiled eggs or a sprinkle of fresh goat cheese or mild feta can supply added heft and protein, if you want to turn this spring salad into a light lunch.

Serves: 4 to 6


  • 3 bunches of watercress, coarse stems discarded and the tender sprigs coarsely chopped (You can also use one bunch and combine with a small head of romaine lettuce, chopped.)
  • 1 green apple, thinly sliced (substitute orange slices for apple, if desired)
  • 3 to 5 radishes, thinly sliced 
  • 1 ripe lime, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons mint, chopped
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise (or 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a small salad bowl, combine watercress (and lettuce, if using), apple (or oranges) and radishes. In another small bowl, combine lime juice, herbs and honey. Whisk oil into lime juice. Whisk in mayo (or mustard); season to taste. 

Here’s a tip: Bruise up the cress with your salad servers before you toss the mix with the dressing. The crush releases flavors and softens the stems somewhat. 

Pour dressing over the salad, toss and serve. 


You might also enjoy these Locavore Recipes:

Spring Salads

Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad

Read more of Locavore Recipes »

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