Beet, Carrot, and Watercress Salad

Serves 4 to 6
I’m crazy about this salad, created by my son Miles. Having worked in a restaurant kitchen, he effortlessly applies professional cooking techniques to any dish he makes. Here the beets and carrots are cooked separately and slightly differently, to accentuate their flavors. The sweetness of the carrots is enhanced by cooking them with sugar; vinegar tempers the beets with its acidic tang. The radishes bring a crunchy pungency. Chilling the cooked vegetables before assembling enhances the differences. The peppery watercress complements everything. Finished with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper, the salad has a wonderfully balanced mix of sweet, salty, and acidic.


  • 4 medium-sized beets
  • 1/2 cup sherry vinegar
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 small carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal, 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 bunch watercress, washed and well-dried, bunch separated and thick stems removed
  • 3 radishes, thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Place beets in a medium-sized saucepan with the vinegar and a large pinch of salt. Fill with water to cover. Cover with tin foil. Poke 4 holes in foil. Cook until beets are tender (a knife can easily pierce through), about 45 minutes. Allow beets to cool, then cut each into 8 wedges. Chill in refrigerator.
  2. Pour a tablespoon of oil into a hot saute pan. Add the carrots and cook until golden brown on one side (medium-high heat). Add sugar and stir, cooking until tender and crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Allow carrots to cool a bit, then chill in refrigerator.
  3. Put the watercress in a salad bowl. Add the radishes, beets, and carrots. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.
cook's note
Do not overlook this power vegetable—it’s not just a pretty garnish. Each crunchy, peppery bite is loaded with phytonutrients and antioxidants, powered by iron, calcium, and folic acid. And it’s another green vegetable usually eaten fresh that also loves to be cooked; see Stir-Fried Watercress with Garlic.
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