Serves a Crowd

Maricel E. Presilla's Cuban Avocado, Watercress & Pineapple Salad

April 16, 2013
11 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

Next to spicy shrimp, or slow-cooked pork tacos, or black beans and rice, it's an altogether surprising and welcoming side. You'll want to eat it by the platterful, as will your guests. Adapted from Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America (WW. Norton, 2012) —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 2 bunches watercress
  • 1 (2 1/2 pound) pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into four 1-inch thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar or fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large Florida (West Indian) avocado or 2 Haas avocados
  • 1 small red onion (5 ounces), thinly slivered lengthwise
  1. Prepare the watercress: Place the watercress in a colander and rinse under cold water to remove and grit or sand. Discard any yellowing leaves and remove the tough stems; for this salad, you want only the leaves and tender stems. Pat dry with paper towels and refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  2. Broil the pineapple: Heat the broiler. Place the pineapple slices on a baking pan and sprinkle sugar evenly on top of them. Broil about 4 inches from the heat source, turning once, for 5 to 10 minutes on each side, until golden brown. (You can line your pan with aluminum foil for easier cleanup, but not parchment—it may catch fire.) Let cool, then cut into 1-inch cubes. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the dressing: Place the garlic, olive oil, vinegar or lime juice, cumin, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.
  4. Peel the avocado: Cut the avocado(s) lengthwise in half around the pit and remove the pit. Place the avocado halves cut side down on the work surface and slice lengthwise into 1-inch-wide wedges. Peel each segment by hand or with a paring knife, and cut into 1-inch cubes.
  5. Assemble the salad: Place the watercress in a medium bowl and toss with half the dressing. Arrange on a large platter. Add the pineapple and avocado to the same bowl and toss with the rest of the dressing. Mound the pineapple and avocado over the bed of watercress. Garnish with slivers of red onion and serve immediately.
  6. Add the pineapple and avocado to the same bowl and toss with the rest of the dressing. Mound the pineapple and avocado over the bed of watercress. Garnish with the slivers of red onion and serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lisa
  • Graciela
  • Ceallach Tómas Ó Sé
    Ceallach Tómas Ó Sé
  • EmilyC
  • Hector Alejandro Farias
    Hector Alejandro Farias
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

15 Reviews

Lisa April 5, 2024
this is by far one of the best salad recipes BY FAR that i've ever come across. watercress can be hit and miss where i live, so i found that arugula's peppery note really compliments the dressing. i always add more lime juice and cut down the olive oil a bit because i'm an acid queen. you may think 1 tsp is a lot of salt,but for this recipe it's really important. if you're a Tajin lover like me - add some to your own plate. Buen provecho!
Graciela July 15, 2021
That salad is amazing, I grew up with the Venezuelan version, mangoes instead of pineapple and no cumin.
Elle June 22, 2019
Wow, the dressing! I’m excited to make this again.
bofbox June 10, 2019
It's early June and the heat is already oppressive. I didn't put the pineapple under the broiler, because it's too darn hot. Made this with arugula and the uncooked pineapple and it was delicious. I would make this again, would be good with chicken or salmon on the side. It's the perfect summer salad.
chiefkief August 25, 2013
Paired this salad last weekend with Suzanne Goin's pork burgers and everyone loved it! We grilled the pineapple instead of broiling it and the char was a nice touch.
parker August 19, 2013
I've been making this salad all summmer - and everytime I serve it, I get asked for the recipe. I have trouble finding watercress, so last night I used arugula and it worked well.
Ceallach T. May 30, 2013
This salad was amazing - made a perfect vegetarian meal!
OrchidGirl May 15, 2013
Just made this, it was yummy! For easy prep, I bought a whole peeled, cored pineapple from whole foods and just sliced it. I used mixed spring greens instead of watercress as that is what we had. I used lime juice as the acid in the dressing. Great sweet spicy combo.
EmilyC May 5, 2013
This is a lovely salad. I used arugula as that's what we had, and served it with pork tenderloin. A keeper.
mellielovesred April 27, 2013
The flavors in this salad are amazing. I can't stop making it! Love the caramelized pineapple bits with the spicy greens and the dressing.
Hector A. April 19, 2013
JUST MADE IT... AWESOME!!! but i was reel, i had no a Watercress , so i used Butter lettuce., the dressing... TERRIFIC i licked the measure cup! GRACIAS for such a simple and exotic recipe!

AntoniaJames April 18, 2013
This plus some homemade black beans -- I've been making them recently using the Wells' Genius lentils method, cooking much longer, obviously -- would make such a good lunch. I am definitely making this soon. ;o)
Ouida L. April 21, 2013
Would you provide a link to the cooking method (I've searched, to no avail)?
Pat H. September 2, 2017
I see this was awhile ago, but if you're still interested try searching Patricia Wells' Green Lentil Salad. Worked for me :)
ctgal April 17, 2013
I have everything!! I'm thinking adding some good fresh Florida shrimp (that's where I live). Tomorrow!! Thanks so much. Sounds divine!