In Season: Watercress

Watercress is a great vegetable to try this summer.


Containing significant amounts of vitamin A and C in addition to iron, calcium, and folic acid, as well as its thyroid-strengthening high iodine content, watercress is an in season vegetable you don’t want to pass up. It is also the most ancient green vegetable, tracing back to Persian, Greek, and early Roman civilizations. Watercress is a semi-aquatic vegetable that thrives in slightly alkaline water and can be grown both commercially and locally.

Watercress leaves can’t be dried, so distribution and storage can be difficult. Therefore watercress is best when eaten in season. In addition to the recipes below, watercress can be added to any sandwich as a compliment or complete substitution for lettuce.

Watercress Soup

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 peeled and cubed potato
1 chopped onion
1 ½ cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups milk
½ cup watercress
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
cream optional

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add 1 peeled and cubed potato, and 1 chopped onion of choice. Reduce heat to medium, cover for 5 minutes. Pour in 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock and 2 1/2 cups of milk, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in 1/2 cup watercress leaves and simmer uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes. Slowly transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the cooking pot, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and season to taste. If desired, serve with a dollop of cream.

Watercress Pesto

1/2 clove garlic
1/3 cup walnuts
3 ounces watercress
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoons mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Pulse until a finely chopped paste is formed.

Watercress, Melon, and Almond Salad

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sweetener (plam sugar, raw honey, or xylitol) 
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 bunches watercress 
2 1/2 cups cubed cantaloupe 
1/3 cup sliced almonds 

In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, sweetener, and ginger root. Slowly add vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 bunches (or as much as you like) watercress, trimmed and chopped, cantaloupe, and almonds. Mix salad and serve immediately.