Watercress and radish salad on smoky white bean–bacon croutons recipe


This is actually a hybrid between an open-face, knife-and-fork sandwich and a salad. Toasted slices of hearty country bread spread with a garlicky bean spread are vehicles for a spring salad featuring the peppery flavors and crisp textures of radishes and watercress.

  • Yield: 4 Servings (2-slice)
  • Preparation Time: 25 Minutes


  • 8 (½-inch) slices Italian bread
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter or tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel (set aside)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups lightly packed fresh watercress
  • 2 cups thinly biased-sliced radishes (8 ounces)
  • 4 thick slices applewood bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
How to Make It
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place bread slices on a baking sheet. Place in oven on the lowest rack. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until bread is toasted, turning bread over halfway through baking. Place bread on a wire rack.
  2. In a food processor combine beans, almond butter, the 2 teaspoons lemon juice, garlic, and smoked paprika. Cover and process until almost smooth. With processor running, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil through the top. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.* Spread bean mixture over the bread slices. Place 2 slices on each of 4 plates.
  3. In a large bowl combine the watercress, radishes, the crumbled bacon, the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, and the 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Toss to mix. Season with additional salt and pepper.
  4. Using salad tongs, place watercress mixture on top of the croutons on each plate. Sprinkle with the reserved 1 teaspoon lemon peel.

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