Jicama Salad with Snow Peas, Avocado, and Watercress (Khasa Salad)

Here, Divya presents a recipe from her friend and mentor Yamuna Devi.

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Tip: You can use arugula if you can't find watercress.

Photo ℅ Dillon Burke

Here, Divya presents a recipe from her friend and mentor Yamuna Devi. It originally appeared in Yamuna’s book Lord Krishna’s Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking (1987). Divya calls this salad “well grounded”—the airiness of the watercress is balanced by the heaviness of the avocado, jicama, and dressing.

From Lord Kirshna’s Cuisine: “You won’t find this salad on a menu in Calcutta, Bombay, or Delhi. It is a dish that fell into the salad bowl while I was working in Southern California. The greengrocers there seem to offer a limitless variety of salad fare, and a long hot spell spurred on this crisp vegetable salad.”


PREP (after assembling ingredients): 15 minutes 

Serves 5 to 6 | Gluten Free, Dairy Free


For the dressing:

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped watercress

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

¼ avocado, peeled and chopped

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

Scant ½ teaspoon dry mustard

¼ teaspoon paprika (optional)

⅔ cup fruity olive oil


For the salad:

1 medium-sized jicama (about 14 oz./400 g), peeled and cut into fine julienne

24 medium-sized snow peas (about 5 oz./140 g), trimmed and cut on the diagonal into thin slices

1 small yellow or red bell pepper (about 4 oz./115 g), cored, seeded, and diced (optional)

2 bunches fresh watercress (about 6 oz./170 g), rinsed, dried, and stemmed

¼ avocado, peeled, seeded, and diced and sprinkled with lemon juice

Boston or bibb lettuce leaves

6 sprigs cilantro

Freshly ground black pepper



Combine the parsley or cilantro, watercress, walnuts, lime juice, the first ¼ avocado, salt, sweetener, mustard and paprika in a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until smooth. With the machine running, gradually add the oil in a slow stream until the dressing is thick and creamy. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate, covered, until serving time.

Combine the jicama, snow peas and bell pepper in a bowl and toss until blended. Reserve a few watercress leaves, and tear the rest into small pieces. Add them and the second ¼ avocado to the bowl and gently toss.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on a salad platter or on 6 individual plates and mound with the salad. Top with the reserved watercress leaves and the cilantro and pour on the dressing. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and salt.

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