Avocado, Watercress and Pecan Salad

Avocado, Watercress and Pecan Salad

Ensalada de Aguacate con Berros y Nuez
4 to 6 servings
Pati Jinich
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Avocado, chiles de arbol, pati's mexican table, Pecan, watercress
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Avocado, Watercress and Pecan Salad recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 6, Episode 2 "History of Oaxaca Cuisine"


  • 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.

20 comments on “Avocado, Watercress and Pecan Salad

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

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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!