Tag Archives: watercress

Vegan Longrice Soup

1 May

One of my friends on Facebook suggested this soup as something very traditional to Hawaii…  And, coincidentally,  it was one of the hits of the Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival at the Yoga Center.

It has quite a few ingredients, but it’s not a complicated recipe at all.  It’s all about making a very flavorful broth to enjoy with some veggies and noodles.  The cellophane noodles are great because they’re made from mung beans and are naturally gluten-free.   This might not be traditional, but I suggest you break up the noodles a bit before adding them to the soup…  I find that if you leave them whole, they’re a hassle to serve and eat.  Don’t kill the messenger, but I also like shorter noodles of pasta…  (ducks head in protection of potential tomatoes thrown her way).

I guess you could use only vegetable stock and avoid the hassle of boiling vegetables for the stock… but I like the idea and flavor the fresh veggies give to the stock. And the ginger needs some time to infuse its flavor into it too.  Don’t be afraid at the amount of stock this needs… this recipe will serve about 10-12 people.  You’ll need more stock than you’ll think you’ll need because the noodles soak up some and people will go back for seconds.  Mark my words…

Hawaiian Soup


4 cups water

1 quart vegetable stock

2 vegetable bouillon cubes

1 large onion, quartered

6 cremini mushrooms, halved

2 bell peppers, seeded and halved or quartered

4 garlic cloves, smashed

Half of a bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley

A 6-inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into large chunks

2 large carrots, grated coarsely

1 bunch of watercress leaves

2 packages of cellophane noodles

A bunch of scallions, sliced thinly

Salt and pepper to taste

Toasted Sesame Oil, optional

Toasted Sesame Seeds, optional


  1. In a large stock pot, add the water, vegetable stock, bouillon cubes, onion, mushrooms, peppers, garlic cloves, parsley and ginger.  Cover pot and bring stock to a boil and lower heat to medium to simmer for about 30-45 minutes for the veggies to release their flavors. After the stock is done, turn off the heat.
  2. Remove the cooked pieces of onion, parsley, pepper, ginger and any loose garlic cloves you can find.  The mushrooms will be so small that you can leave them in.
  3. Add the shredded carrot and the cellophane noodles.   Move the noodles around so they hydrate and loosen up.
  4. Add the watercress leaves and sliced scallions.  It will stay warm for about 1-2 hours.  Garnish with extra scallions, toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, optional.

Watercress Salad with Creamy Horseradish Dressing

29 Dec

My dad always loved to buy watercress when we would go to the Plaza del Mercado in Río Piedras.  We would go almost every Sunday, right after mass.  I hated and loved going to the Plaza, all at the same time.  I hated the smells around where we would park our car… the smell of rotten produce.  But I also loved we would get a lot of fruits that I loved, like Platanitos Manzanos, my favorite type of banana BY FAR.

I guess my dad loved to take us there because my grandfather was a farmer.  My Cuban grandfather was a potato farmer and my dad looked up to him a lot, being the oldest son and the heir apparent to the family business.  However all that changed when a certain rebel named Fidel decided to take over the country my father’s side of the family loved so much.

As part of the Sunday morning ritual at the Plaza del Mercado, we would search for the freshest salad greens – lettuces, tomatoes, carrots, “viandas” and among them was the watercress, which we call “berro” in Spanish.  When I was little I did not like the taste very much, finding it a bit bitter.  That’s why my mom always mixed it up with regular lettuce to cut down on the bitterness.  But now, my palate has certainly changed and now I crave bitter greens all on their own, like arugula.

In Spanish there’s a saying, that may lose somewhat in translation, which says “What you inherit, you don’t need to steal” (El que lo hereda, no lo hurta.)  So in true Cuban farmer fashion and true to my family heritage, now I love to go to Farmers Markets, not only in PR, but I particularly love them when I travel abroad – here I am in NYC, Guadalajara, and even searched many street markets in Paris… – but I also love to taste those bitter flavors of watercress which take me directly to my childhood and to those Sunday mornings after mass…  Gracias papi.



1 tbs eggless mayonnaise
2 tbs plain yogurt
2 tbs prepared horseradish – try to find a brand without eggs
A drizzle of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
A handful of watercress – well washed, because they can contain small insects
2-4 sun-dried tomatoes – cut into slivers (optional, but highly recommended)


  1. Mix the first 5 ingredients in a measuring cup.                            
  2. Place watercress and sun-dried tomatoes in a salad bowl and drizzle the dressing on top.  Toss to coat.
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