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Watercress Salad with Roasted Beets and Parsnips

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Watercress Salad with Roasted Beets and Parsnips

French cuisine is well-known for delicately dressed salads made with garden-fresh greens, a rainbow of other vegetables, artisan cheese, and the occasional sprinkle of nuts. With their ruby red color, roasted beets offer a sweet, earthy flavor to salads; add the nutty-sweet flavor roasted parsnips as complement. Beets offer more than color and flavor – they're also packed with health-promoting phytonutrients.



2 medium parsnips, stem and root ends trimmed, cut in 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 to 4 medium (about 12 ounces) beetroots, stem and root ends trimmed, cut in 1-inch pieces
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
¼ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon sugar
3 cups chopped watercress
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
¼ cup crumbled chèvre cheese (goat cheese)
4 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
Freshly-ground black pepper, if desired 




  • Before you begin: Wash your hands.
  • Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
  • Toss the parsnips in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread on one end of a 13-by-9-inch rimmed baking pan or in a smaller rimmed baking pan.
  • Toss the beetroots in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread on the other end of rimmed baking pan (with the parsnips), or in a smaller rimmed baking pan. If using one pan, keep the parsnips and beets separate to retain the parsnips' creamy white color.
  • Season the parsnips and beets with salt and black pepper.
  • Cover the pan(s) with foil. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until the parsnips and beets are tender. Remove foil; set aside to cool.
  • To make the dressing, combine the orange juice, lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sugar in a small bowl; whisk to blend the ingredients. Mix in the mint.
  • Put the watercress, beetroots, cheese and walnuts in a medium salad bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the top. Toss gently. Season with freshly-ground pepper, if desired.


    Cooking Note

    Crisp, vibrant beet greens, which have not been trimmed from beetroots, can be prepared as a side dish, similar to spinach or Swiss chard. Remove leaves from the stems; cut the stems in 1- to 2-inch pieces. Sauté them in olive oil with garlic and lemon juice. Beet greens are a rich source of vitamins A and C. 

    Nutrition Information 


    Serves 4

    Calories: 250; Calories from fat: 160; Total fat: 18g; Saturated fat: 4g; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 5mg; Sodium: 270mg; Total carbohydrate: 20g; Dietary fiber: 4g; Sugars: 10g; Protein: 6g


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