This watercress salad has a real kick of peppery flavour and makes a light and refreshing meal or side dish. Easy to prepare, this salad is the combination of watercress, avocado, and orange and provides an antioxidant-rich, vibrant and adaptable salad, that goes with almost any meal.
This watercress salad just has SO much flavour. The natural pepperiness from the watercress, with the creamy avocados with lots of healthy fats and a tangy taste of oranges. All mixed together with a mustard vinaigrette for extra burst of flavour!
If you are looking for more watercress recipes, then try our Watercress Soup, which is the perfect summer soup. We also use watercress in our Easy Salad Jars and Mustard Potato Salad.
Why you will love it
- So easy - This really is a minimal effort salad, and that's how we like our salads. No cooking, minimal preparation and just throw it in a bowl and mix together.
- Full of flavour - Just because it is simple, doesn't mean it is lacking in flavour. The peppery watercress, the creamy avocado, the sweet orange slices - this watercress salad really does have it all.
- Adaptable - This is a fairly simple salad, with just a few ingredients. But really, any salad ingredients go. Add some finely diced tomatoes or cucumber if you like. We have given lots of ways to adapt it below.
- Versatile - We love this watercress salad as a side to a more indulgent dish like a creamy pasta. But it will go with almost anything and we have given lots of options below.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Watercress - This is the star of the salad. You can buy it in bags in the supermarket and you will find it with the other bags of lettuce. Avoid buying bunches of watercress, as this is more mature and very bitter. If you can't find watercress, then you could use rocket. Why not check out our Rocket Salad recipe too?
- Oil - This makes up the majority of the dressing. We used a really good quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Garlic - A little bit of grated fresh garlic adds a real punch of flavour to the dressing.
- Vinegar - For some acidity, we added apple cider vinegar to the dressing. You could use red wine vinegar, or just use lemon juice which is a bit more zesty.
- Salt and pepper - Generously season.
- Mustard - The watercress already has a strong peppery/mustard flavour, so you don't want to go overboard here. However, a little Dijon mustard adds some extra flavour and creaminess to the dressing.
- Avocado - The creaminess helps to balance out the pepper flavour and also adds some healthy fats.
- Red pepper - An easy way to add a pop of colour and also some extra crunch.
- Orange - We LOVE fruit in a salad and the orange works really well here. It freshens things up and makes it lovely and light.
- Seeds - These are optional, but a little sprinkle of pumpkin or sunflower seeds add a nice crunch. You could add crushed nuts too.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make watercress salad - Step by step
One: In a small bowl mix together the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic and mustard.
Two: Add the watercress, avocado, orange and red pepper to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle over the dressing and mix well to coat everything.
Three: Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with seeds (optional).
Watercress has a lovely peppery flavour when it is eaten raw and although you might not usually think of it as being the most nutritious green, it is packed with nutrition. It has been ranked one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world according to this CDC report.
Watercress is part of the Brassicaceae family of vegetables, which also includes kale, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. Watercress was considered a weed, and it was first cultivated in the UK in the early 1800s.
Watercress is very low in calories, meaning this can be a low calorie and low fat salad. It also contains over 100% of the RDI for vitamin K, which is a fat-soluble vitamin necessary for blood clotting and healthy bones. It is also a good source of vitamin E, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, thiamine, riboflavin, magnesium and copper.
Salad/Vegetables - For a lot of extra flavour, chopped sun-dried tomatoes are our go-to, but you could use fresh tomatoes too. If you want to make this more of a filling meal, then some Roasted Baby Potatoes are a good addition. Any salad vegetables like celery, spring onions and carrots work well.
Cheese - Cheese adds a lovely extra creaminess to the salad. We like a creamy soft cheese like feta or goat's cheese, as well as a strong cheese like Stilton crumbled on top. Shaved parmesan works well too.
Dressing - You could also add a touch of maple syrup for a little sweetness in your dressing. You could also just top the salad with a balsamic glaze.
Topping - You could top the salad with pine nuts, pecans or walnuts, or even some sesame seeds. Crunch doesn't have to come from nuts or seeds - you could top this salad with some Sourdough Croutons. We also love some fresh apple or pear on top too.
This is such a versatile salad. You could serve it as a side, or even a main with some grilled chicken or salmon on top. Why not try our Peri Peri Chicken, Pesto Salmon, Marinated Chicken Skewers or Sweet Chilli Salmon?
We love this with a hearty pasta dish and some of our favourites are Sardine Pasta, Mushroom Carbonara, Chorizo Mac and Cheese or Cherry Tomato Pasta.
We also like is with some air fryer tofu or Roasted Chickpeas for a vegan option.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can store leftovers in an air tight container for up to 2 days. However, if the salad has already been dressed then it may be a bit soggy. This salad is always best eaten fresh.
We wouldn't recommend making it up in advance, as the avocado will start to brown. You can also make up the dressing in a sealed jar or bottle and keep it in the fridge. Then, just dress the salad when you are ready to serve.
If you have any leftover in the bag after making this, then it's a delicious addition to a potato salad.
• If you want to take the vinaigrette to the next level, then add a splash of champagne to it.
• Pine nuts are a nice crunchy and creamy addition to the top of the salad.
• If you like a kick of heat to your meals, then add a pinch of red chilli flakes before serving.
• Add the dressing right at the last minute to stop the salad from getting soggy.
More salad recipes
If you’ve tried this watercress salad recipe, let us know how you got on in the comments below.
Tag us in your creations on Instagram @hungryhealthyhappy - Use the hashtag #hungryhealthyhappy too.
- 85 g (2.5 cups) Watercress
- 3 tablespoon Olive oil - extra virgin
- 1 tablespoon Apple cider vinegar
- 1 Garlic clove - grated
- 3 pinch Sea salt
- 3 pinch Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 Avocado - sliced
- 1 Orange - sliced
- 1 Red pepper - sliced
- Seeds - to serve (optional)
- In a small bowl mix together 3 tablespoon Olive oil, 1 tablespoon Apple cider vinegar, 3 pinch Sea salt, 1 Garlic clove and 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard.
- Put 85 g Watercress, 1 Avocado, 1 Orange and 1 Red pepper in a large mixing bowl.
- Drizzle over the dressing and mix well to coat everything.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with Seeds (optional).
- If you want to take the vinaigrette to the next level, then add a splash of champagne to it.
- Pine nuts are a nice crunchy and creamy addition to the top of the salad.
- If you like a kick of heat to your meals, then add a pinch of red chilli flakes before serving.
- Add the dressing right at the last minute to stop the salad from getting soggy.
So fresh, healthy and tasty! Love the combination of the creamy avocado and crunchy veggies.
I love watercress in my salads! The combination with avocados is fantastic, gives it a great texture!
Oh yum! You had me at the kick of peppery flavor. This salad sounds absolutely amazing and I love the minimal prep.
This salad is so refreshing and delicious, can't wait to make it again over the coming bank holiday!