How to Find and Use Watercress

The word "watercress" may bring to mind dainty tea sandwiches and ladies wearing hats. However, watercress has much more to offer. A dark and shiny green, watercress (nasturtium officinale) is a leafy green in the cabbage family. Its relatives include collards, kale, mustard greens and endive. Like many leafy greens, watercress is high in vitamin C and iron.

Watercress grows prolifically along small flowing streams. One should be careful about harvesting wild watercress, as bacteria and parasites present in these streams may be harmful. Fortunately, safe sources of watercress are available at many farmers' markets and grocery stores.

If you purchase watercress at the grocer or market, it will most likely come in a bunch. To wash it, leave the bunch held together by a rubber band and plunge into a sink or basin of cold water and swish around, then drain and pat dry on a clean towel. Watercress can be torn into pieces and added to salads for a peppery bite, or sautéed and served warm. Watercress grows almost year round in maritime climates, so anytime is a great time to add watercress to your dinner, salad, soups and, yes, even to your sandwiches.

Or try this delicious salad featuring watercress. The recipe can easily be adapted to include other seasonal vegetables as well.

- Misha Henshaw, dietetic intern, and Debra A. Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University

Recipe: Radish, Jerusalem Artichoke and Watercress Salad

For the salad dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 9 tablespoons olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper

For the salad:

  • 1/3 pound Jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 2 bunches watercress

For the dressing: Mash garlic and salt in a bowl to form a paste. Stir in vinegar and mustard. Gradually beat in oil. Add pepper to taste.

For the salad: Wash and slice Jerusalem artichokes into water to which lemon juice has been added. Wash radishes and keep in ice water. Wash watercress, remove thick stems; dry, and tear into bite-size pieces. Lightly dress watercress with a little of the dressing. Drain and slice radishes; drain and pat dry artichokes. Toss artichokes and radishes with remaining dressing and serve on watercress.

Preparation time: 15 minutes. Makes four servings.

Reprinted from From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce by the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition (2003, MACSAC).

Updated on: 
Monday, September 19, 2011
Description: 

News

mucuna pruriens on branch

An Ancient Plant with a Modern Treatment Opportunity

Together with a team of other researchers, ND student Tanya Denne is studying a fascinating plant that might hold answers for improving quality of life for those with PD.

In the Media

Natural Benefits of Eucalyptus

September 8Natural Benefits of Eucalyptus:

Jenn Dazey, ND discusses the natural benefits of eucalyptus on page 24 of the April 2020 edition of Prevention Magazine.

Pacific County Program Manager

March 5Health Department Expands Services, brings new People Aboard:

Stephanie Michael, a registered dietician nutritionist, was hired as the county’s Health Services Program manager, and is on the front lines of the COVID-19 response in Pacific County

February 27Seattle Based Organization Expands Awareness About Naturopathic Medicine: Welcomes Dr. Joe Pizzorno To Board Of Directors:

The Institute of Natural Medicine announces that Dr. Joe Pizzorno has joined their Board of Directors