limeguajillochile de arbol

Avocado, Watercress and Pecan Salad

Avocado, Watercress and Pecan Salad

Ensalada de Aguacate con Berros y Nuez

Recipe Yield

4 to 6 servings

Cooking time

25 minutes

Rate this recipe

5 from 6 votes


  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 clove garlic unpeeled
  • 1 chile guajillo stemmed and seeded
  • 2 to 3 Chiles de Arbol stemmed but not seeded
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces watercress leaves and upper part of stems coarsely chopped
  • 3 ripe avocados halved, pitted, cut into large chunks
  • 2 scallions white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

To Prepare

  • Heat a comal or saute pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the pecans and toast for a couple minutes, flipping a few times. Remove from the heat. When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop and set aside.
  • On the same heated comal or pan, toast the garlic clove in its husk for about 8 to 10 minutes, flipping every once in a while until charred and softened. Then, toast the gaujillo and arbol chiles for about one minute per side, until completely toasted but not burnt. Finally, toast the sesame seeds for a minute or two, stirring, until lightly browned.
  • Break the toasted chiles into pieces, place them into a food processor and pulse until ground. Add the sesame seeds and pulse until finely ground. Add garlic clove, salt, honey, vinegar, lime juice, and olive oil and vegetable oil, and process until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a salad bowl, place the watercress. Pour in some of the vinaigrette and toss to moisten the leaves. Incorporate the avocados and pecans, drizzle in the rest of the vinaigrette and gently toss. Garnish with the scallions and serve.


26comments inAvocado, Watercress and Pecan Salad


    Sep 09

    I have only watched you making this amazing salad, and I can tell you it is out of this world. The combination of the ingredients of your dressing what imagination and great taste the chefs have, INCREIBLEMENTE FUERA THE ESTA GALAXIA!!!!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 20

      Saludos Luis, and thanks so much for your message!

  2. Rose

    Apr 10

    We added some red and yellow stripe bell peppers and a watermelon radish as well

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 11

      Yay, great additions Rose, thanks for sharing!

  3. Barbara

    Apr 07

    This is an amazing salad. I added lettuce to the watercress and substituted pepitas for the pecans. Consider adding some grilled shrimp to this salad to make it a meal in itself, it goes really well. But the dressing itself is delicious and would be great on a lot of stuff! It also came together more quickly than I thought, the toasting doesn’t take that long given the small quantities of ingredients.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 11

      Yay! So happy you liked this salad Barbara, it is one of my favorites as well 🙂

  4. Danny

    Apr 07

    Again I modified a recipe from Pati Jinich. Hers included a variety of chiles and sesame seeds. This was very refreshing.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 09

      I love it when you guys give your own twist to my recipes! What did you do different? Would love to know 😉

  5. Rob

    Dec 22

    I have made this salad probably 5 or 6 times and it is always awesome. I have also made a few different vinaigrette with different chilis but always like the guajillo y arbol combination the most for this salad.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Dec 23

      Thanks so much, Rob!

  6. Ben Raymond

    Jun 16

    Made this and loved it. I was out of Pecans, so I used Walnuts and it was just as delish. The dressing is outstanding and could be hearty enough on fish dishes and other proteins. I marinated tofu in it and grilled it… DELISH.

    1. Pati

      Jun 18

      That’s awesome, Ben!

  7. Big O!

    Apr 09

    Made this for my Parents and they where blown away thanks Pati.

    1. Pati

      Apr 10


  8. Amy

    Feb 25

    Hi. I am unable to find the chilis used in the salad. Is there a more common substitution? Would cayenne or chipotle work? Or some combination? Thank you.

    1. Pati

      Feb 28

      I designed the vinaigrette with the combination of these 2 chiles together, and it’s so delicious! You can find them online too, have you tried? If you can only find one of the chiles it would work too, the flavor may change a bit but will still be yummy.

  9. D Perez

    Feb 17

    Visiting with friends in Tucson. Asked that my wife and I make them something special. We gathered all the ingredients and went to work. Easy to make and Wow! This is special! Gracias Pati!

    1. Pati

      Feb 19

      Oh thank you so much, D.!

  10. beverly mowry

    Jan 05

    Oh my goodness! Looks delicious!

    1. Pati

      Jan 05

      Oh it is! 😉

  11. Edward Lynch

    Oct 16


    1. Pati

      Oct 18


  12. Mia

    Oct 15

    Looks delicious. What could I substitute for the watercress? Arugula?

    1. Pati

      Oct 31

      Sure! You can also try baby spinach, baby greens​, or any lettuce you like. Baby spinach would be closest to watercress.

  13. Susan

    Sep 17

    I just watched the episode of the show where Pati made this and the sweet potato tamales. Both look amazing and I am going to try them. Does this recipe call for dried or fresh chiles de arbol? Even though I just watched the show, I can’t remember which was used!

    1. Pati

      Sep 19

      They are dried…and I hope you enjoy the salad and tamales!

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