I feel like I should be posting a recipe for a scone or tea sandwich in honor of the royal wedding today, but I’ll leave that to the rest of the world. I just have a recipe for a good ol’ fashioned delicious and healthy salad. This watercress, radish and spiced pecan combination is loaded with flavor, packed with nutrients, and wonderfully refreshing. The mixture of rosy-hued radishes, smoky pecans, creamy feta and vibrant, peppery watercress is truly spring on a plate. Serve with crusty grilled bread and a crisp cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc and you have a meal fit for a Queen. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Watercress: The benefits and detoxifying characteristics of watercress are attributed to its nutrient content, an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E, manganese, and carotenes, it also a good source of calcium, fiber, iron and copper. Research recently discovered that watercress may help to reduce cancer risk by stimulating the production of detoxifying enzymes.
Radish: Radishes, and their leaves, are an excellent source of vitamin C, trace minerals, folic acid and potassium. Known for their anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, radishes are also a great source dietary fiber.
Feta: Feta is a great cheese option as it contains considerably fewer calories and fat than the majority of other cheeses, as well as one of the best dietary sources of calcium.
Pecans: Pecans are rich in protein, heart-healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. Like other nuts, pecans are rich in protein, but because they’re literally loaded with antioxidants, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has ranked pecans as the nut with the highest antioxidant capacity.
Watercress, Radish and Spiced Pecan Salad
- 2 bunches watercress, larger stems removed
- 4 cups mixed baby greens
- 6 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta (about 2 oz.)
- 1 cup whole pecans
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 Tbs. canola oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
- 2 Tbsp champagne vinegar or good-quality white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pecans: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss together pecans, maple syrup, canola oil, salt, and cayenne in medium bowl. Spread nut mixture in single layer on prepared baking sheet; bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until pecans are brown and fragrant, stirring frequently. Cool in pan.
For the vinaigrette: combine mustard, shallot, and vinegar in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil until well blended; season with salt and pepper to taste. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Combine watercress, baby greens, and radishes in a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette. Garnish with spiced pecans and feta.