Super-Fast and Easy Watercress Salad That You Can Throw Together for The Perfect Side Dish to a Juicy Grilled Steak or Charred Lamb Chops. The Crunchy Apple and Pear with the Peppery Kick of the Watercress Adds A Good Punch to Any Meal.
What is Watercress?
Grown in waterbeds across the globe, this green leafy vegetable has been underrated. Sometimes known as a weed rather than a vegetable, watercress is a part of the same family as kale, brussels sprouts and cabbage and close relatives to mustard, radish and wasabi which all have the same peppery taste.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Watercress?
Watercress is packed with antioxidants, nutrients and with 95% water content and low in calories, this green leafy vegetable delivers many health benefits. Once probably only known as a garnish, it is definitely proving itself today as a superfood.
Just one cup of watercress actually contains more than 100% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin K. Antioxidant-rich vegetables are also known to help prevent chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
What To Do With Watercress?
Growing up as a child, I only saw watercress in Asian soups. Normally cooked with pork bones, carrots and dried honey dates. The flavoursome soup was delicious (and I still make it for my family) but the watercress totally lost its texture and definitely milder in taste.
Only in my adult life did I see it eaten raw and used in various salads. And I adore the peppery taste of raw watercress. I find younger, smaller bunches of watercress to be less piquant whilst more mature plants to more peppery when eaten raw.
Other ways to include this superfood, you can also do a quick watercress stir fry (like kale) by adding garlic and chilli. Or add it to a chicken mayo sandwich replacing salad leaves. For breakfast or a light lunch, you can cook it in an omelette instead of spinach leaves. So many options! Watercress is milder in taste when cooked.
Why I Love Apple, Pear, Almond and Watercress Salad
When I grill meats, I love to keep the fatty bits on. Ok, maybe not all of it. I do trim my meats before cooking but I prefer to leave some on so when I grill it, the fat crisps up and adds unbelievable flavour. It also helps to keep the meat juicy and moist. And because of that, I like to serve grilled meats with side salads that can help cut through the fat. This watercress salad is the perfect choice.
Apple and pear adds contrasting sweet and sour taste to the peppery watercress. And the light creamy honey seeded mustard dressing ties it all in making it more mellow and a perfect side salad for your grilled meats.
How to Make Apple, Pear, Almond and Watercress Salad
Prepare the Watercress
Take the bunch of watercress and trim the thicker stalks at the bottom. Probably 1-2 inches off. Then dunk in a sink of cold water and rinse well. Whilst still in water, I like to separate the watercress and remove any limp sprigs and yellow leaves. Drain, place watercress in colander and give it a good shake to remove some of the excess water.
If you have a fairly large bunch of watercress with longer sprigs, I would also snap the sprigs in half so it is not so long in the salad.
Slice the Apple and Pear
Apple and pear oxidize and turn brown very quickly after the fruit has been cut. It doesn’t really affect the taste so much but definitely not so appetizing.
There are a few ways to keep the apple and pear from turning brown. The easiest way I find is to add a good pinch of salt to a bowl of cold water and have it ready when I am cutting. By placing the cut fruit into the bowl straight away, it stops the oxidization.
Slice apple and pear in thin matchstick strips and place into a bowl of salted cold water. When ready to assemble, remove from water and pat dry with paper towels.
Apples and pears make great salad ingredients. Their crunch and sweetness adds a wonderful addition to salad greens. If you need more inspiration for what other produce might go well with apple and pear, our pairings will certainly be able to help you.
Toast the Almonds
On a dry pan over medium heat, toast whole almonds for a couple of minutes. Then remove from heat and roughly chop.
How to Make the Honey Seeded Mustard Dressing
This is an easy dressing to tie all the ingredients together. I have added mayonnaise for a more creamy taste but you can omit it for a vegan friendly dressing.
Mix together in a small bowl (in a mason jar) olive oil, lemon juice, seeded mustard, honey, mayonnaise and salt. Give it a good whisk or shake so the dressing is well combined. It can be left in the fridge until the salad is ready to serve.
How to Assemble the Watercress Salad
Just place watercress, chopped almonds, apple and pear in a large serving bowl, drizzle seeded mustard dressing and toss together. Can’t get any simpler.
Place straight on the table with grilled meats and watch it disappear.
More Gluten Free Salad Recipes:
Apple, Pear, Almond and Watercress Salad
- 1 bunch watercress
- 1 green apple
- 1 pear
- 1 handful almonds
- Trim watercress and rinse well in sink of cold water. Remove any limp sprigs or yellow leaves. Drain and place in colander to dry.
- Slice apple and pear into matchsticks. Place in a bowl of salted cold water to stop oxidation.
- Dry toast almonds in a small fry pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Remove and roughly chop.
- Mix together in a small mixing bowl the olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, seeded mustard, honey, mayonnaise and salt. Mix until well combined.
- Remove apple and pear from cold water and pat dry.
- Place all ingredients in a large serving bowl, drizzle seeded mustard dressing and toss together.
- Here's how to wash the watercress: Take the bunch of watercress and trim the thicker stalks at the bottom. Probably 1-2 inches off. Then dunk in a sink of cold water and rinse well. Whilst still in water, separate the watercress and remove any limp sprigs and yellow leaves. Drain, place watercress in colander and give it a good shake to remove some of the excess water.
- If you can’t find watercress, substitute with rocket leaves (arugula).
- To stop the cut apple and pear from oxidising, place them in a bowl of cold, salted water. When you're ready to use them, remove from the water and pat them dry.
- For vegan friendly, plant based, and low-lectin dressing, remove mayonnaise.