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Watercress and Pickled Rhubarb Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Peppery watercress, pickled rhubarb and poppy seeds make for a simple, delicious and healthful spring salad.

Watercress and Pickled Rhubarb Salad with Poppy Seed DressingSeattle weather has slowly started to turn. Without jinxing anything, I think it’s safe to say that the sunny and warm days > than the cooler, rainy ones. Although not in the clear quite yet, dining al fresco or at least with the windows and doors open, has become the norm lately around my house—and it is so wonderful!

Another norm around my house (although not partial to the season) are kale salads. I could eat kale for days, but I’ve been looking for a way to change things up a bit. This post features a seasonal green that is less common (but readily available at the grocery store)—watercress! If you’re looking for a way to incorporate fresh spring produce into your salad routine, try your hand at a mini-pickling project and eat amazingly delicious and healthful foods, this salad is for you!Watercress and Pickled Rhubarb Salad with Poppy Seed DressingAvailable year round but peaking April through June, watercress (a member of the mustard family) is more than just a peppery and delicate salad base. It’s rich in vitamin C, fiber, iron, calcium and much more! Watercress also contains glucosinolates (specifically phenethyl isothiocyanate which is released upon chewing this leafy green). Glucosinolates are amazing little sulfur-compounds which are found in cruciferous vegetables. The good news about glucosinolates is that they inhibit carcinogen (cancer-causing) activation, trigger apoptosis (death of cancerous cells), protect cells against DNA damage caused by carcinogens, as well as possess anti-inflammatory properties AND may be helpful in the treatment of H. Pylori  (a common cause of peptic ulcers)! So basically all that to say—watercress is pretty darn impressive & good for you!

Watercress and Pickled Rhubarb Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Also delicious and good for you, rhubarb packs a hefty dose of vitamin C and fiber. Pickled here with apple cider and pomegranate vinegars, this sweet-tart and crisp springtime jewel is not only delicious but arguably delivers even more health benefits when pickled. Vinegar, for example, has demonstrated antiobesity, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, antimicrobial and cholesterol-lowering effects. With all those health benefits, you’d think it would take a domestic god or goddess to pull off pickling rhubarb, right? Wrong! Pickling rhubarb is super easy. Seriously, you just basically put everything in a jar and leave it. It’s magic! Also magic is the dreamy and delicious poppy seed dressing, which really pulls everything together. It’s amazing!

Watercress and Pickled Rhubarb Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

If all of those reasons weren’t enough to get you to make this salad, here’s even more. I hope you enjoy!

Top 10 Reasons to Try This Salad NOW!

  1. You’re tired of eating kale.
  2. You want to try your hand at pickling something, but it’s always looked too hard.
  3. You love sweet, tart and juicy rhubarb.
  4. You want to try a new, leafy green (or reacquaint yourself).
  5. You love poppy seeds.
  6. Rich and flavorful salad dressings are your thing.
  7. You want to try an amazingly delicious salad dressing that’s dairy, egg and gluten-free!
  8. You care about your health.
  9. It’s spring.
  10. Eating what’s in season tastes good!

Watercress and Pickled Rhubarb Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Watercress + Pickled Rhubarb Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

  • Author: Homegrown Provisions
  • Prep Time: 48 hours
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 48 hours 5 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian


Peppery watercress, pickled rhubarb and poppy seeds make for a simple, delicious and healthful spring salad.



Pickled Rhubarb

  • 2 large stalks of rhubarb, cut crosswise into about 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of pomegranate vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 tsp of whole mustard seeds
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp of sea salt

Salad Base

  • 1 bunch of watercress

Poppy Seed Dressing

  • 1/3 cup of cashews
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • 2 tbsp orange muscat champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp Herbes de Provence
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds


Pickled Rhubarb

  1. Place rhubarb in a clean, glass jar. Add mustard seeds, cloves and peppercorns.
  2. In a pot combine the vinegars, sugar and salt. Heat on medium and stir until the sugar is dissolved (roughly 5 min.)
  3. Add lemon zest to the brine.
  4. Let liquid cool for a few minutes and poor brine over the rhubarb.
  5. Top jar with a lid and keep in the refrigerator for 2 days.
  6. When you are ready to make the salad, take out a few pickled stalks and slice horizontally.

Salad Base

  1. Rinse the watercress well and trim.
  2. Place watercress in a large bowl.

Poppy Seed Dressing

  1. Place all ingredients except for poppy seeds into a blender or food processor. Whirl away.
  2. Remove from blender/food processor and place dressing in a small-medium bowl. Fold in poppy seeds and mix well.


  1. Place pickled rhubarb slices over watercress and drizzle with poppy seed dressing.



  1. Reply


    May 19, 2014

    This looks soo good! Can’t wait to try my hand in pickling rhubarb..thanks!

    • Reply


      May 21, 2014

      Thank you, Corie! You’ll have to let me know how you find the recipe!