• Hannah Alderson

Why you should be eating watercress

We're all familiar with watercress, but tell me the last time you added it to your weekly shop?

Well, I'm bringing cressy back.

Watercress. The pungent peppery aquatic plant that packs a punch. It's a herb that can sometimes get forgotten, despite being right up there in my books compared to other leafy greens. It's like rocket's older sister who is just a bit more together, better at paying council tax and putting lids back on things. I trust watercress and you should too.

It's a well rounded gem of a plant that comes from the cruciferous family. As well as their snazzy shade of emerald green - thanks to the chlorophyll - watercress is full of vitamin K, C, A, beta-carotene and calcium. A fine edition to any balanced diet.

So fine in fact, that in 2007 the University of Ulster 30 thirty men 30 women 85g of raw watercress daily for 8 weeks alongside their normal diet. The results saw reductions in DNA damage and the study concluded that consumption of watercress can be linked to a reduced risk of cancer via decreased damage to DNA via free radicals. Who would have thought hey? I don't know about you but I'm off to the watercress farm.

In the mean time try making my soup. It's one of my go to recipes when I need some green in my life. Feel free to steal it.

What you need

170g of watercress - I love John Hurd's organic watercress

2 large handfuls of spinach

3 tbsp. dry green lentils

1 large sweet potato

2 large carrots

1 red onion

1 large glove of garlic

Coconut oil

1 ½ vegetable stock cubes


Saucepan, with a lid

What you do

Get the saucepan going on a low heat and dollop around half a tbsp. of coconut oil in the centre of the pan.

While the oil melts, chop the red onion. And remember that it’s going to be whizzed up in the end so no need for a Michel Roux moment - just rough chop.

Add them to the pan and sweat for 5 mins over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally.

Chop the garlic, carrots and sweet potato (leaving the skin on) while the onions sweat.

Once the onions have had their moment, add all of the above and the lentils into the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes. If it gets a little dry add a splash water to get things moving.

Once this is done, crumble the stock cubes in and pour freshly boiled water into the pan covering the ingredients. Stir and leave to simmer for 15-20 mins partially covered, then turn the heat to the lowest setting.

Sit the watercress and spinach on top of the soup, pop the lid on and leave for a 5 minutes – it’s steam time for these guys.

When at a safe temperature whizz the soup up in a blender then return to the pan to heat up ready for serving. Season with pink pepper, Himalayan salt and a drizzle of good quality olive oil and enjoy.

Serves 4.

Hannah's Hacks

#1 The peppery taste comes from the mustard oil, which is said to be anti-inflammatory

#2 Roman's ate it to cure baldness

#3 Try it in a sandwich - just like Postman Pat

#watercress #soup #recipe #vitamink #cruciferous #nutrition

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