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Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad

What is Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad?

Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad is a classic Vietnamese dish that merges the earthy flavors of beef with the crispness of watercress for a unique and delicious taste. This salad features tender pieces of marinated flank steak served with shredded fresh vegetables, herbs, fish sauce, chili peppers, and a tangy vinaigrette dressing. Its combination of bold flavor and fresh ingredients makes it a perfect side dish or light meal. 

In addition to being incredibly tasty, Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad is also very healthy. The beef used in this dish is usually marinated in a blend of aromatics such as garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and onion, which adds flavor with minimal fat. The fresh vegetables and herbs used in the salad are packed with vitamins and minerals, while the fish sauce adds a boost of protein. Overall, this dish is a great way to get your daily servings of lean proteins and veggies! 

Preparing Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad is surprisingly straightforward. So, let’s delve into the process. 

How to Choose Quality Ingredients

When preparing Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad, choosing quality ingredients is crucial to achieve the delightful fusion of flavors this dish is known for. 

While you can choose any cut of beef you prefer, it’s recommended to opt for tender cuts with a good balance of lean meat and fat. The beef should be fresh, as this significantly contributes to the flavor and overall quality of the dish. It should be firm to the touch, with a rich, vibrant color and minimal visible fat. 

The watercress should be vibrant green and crisp, indicating its freshness. Avoid bunches with yellow leaves or a wilted appearance. 

When it comes to herbs, freshness is key. Coriander, basil, and mint leaves should all be vibrant in color and aromatic. 

Remember, the quality of your ingredients will directly impact the flavor of your Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad, so choose wisely!

Ingredient you need 

To make Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad, you’ll need the following ingredients: 

For the beef:

  • 300g flank steak (marinated in garlic, ginger, lemongrass, onion) 
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp of oyster sauce 
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of chili pepper 

For the Salad

  • 2 bunches of watercress 
  • 1 red bell pepper (optional)
  • 2 tomatoes/ 8 cherry tomatoes chopped
  • Fresh herbs such as cilantro, mint, and Thai basil (optional)
  • 1/3 cup of vinaigrette or lime juice 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Step by step instructions to make Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad: 

Step 1: Prepare the ingredients

Step 2: Slice the Beef

Begin by slicing the steak into thin strips. Then marinating it with 2 tsp of oyster sauce, 1 tsp of salt, and 1 tsp of chili pepper. Add the steak pieces to this mixture and rub it in evenly. Let the steak sit for 15 minutes. 

Once you’ve marinated the steak, prepare the other ingredients. Wash, dry and chop the watercress. Slice the onion, cut up the red bell pepper and tomatoes into thin slices. If using fresh herbs for garnish, wash and chop them finely. 

Step 3: Cook the steak

Heat the stove and add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to a pan. Once the oil is hot, add your marinated steak and sliced onions. Stir quickly and continuously to ensure an even cook. Let it sear for about 3-4 minutes.

Remember to taste the beef once it’s cooked. The flavor should be slightly strong to balance out when combined with the vegetables. Also, avoid overcooking the beef to the point it becomes dry. Leave a bit of the sauce in the pan to mix with the salad for a more flavorful experience.

Step 3: Assemble the Salad

Once the steak is cooked, take it out and place it in a bowl. Now add all your vegetables to the bowl – watercress, bell pepper, tomatoes and herbs if you’re using them. 

Gently mix everything together and top with the vinaigrette or lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Step 4: Serve and Enjoy! 

Voila! Your Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad is now ready to be served. You can serve it as a side dish or light meal, either hot or cold. This flavorful salad will surely be a hit at your next gathering, so don’t forget to share the recipe with your friends and family! 



  • Watercress can often be quite dirty and may contain traces of soil. To ensure it’s clean and safe to consume, it is recommended to soak it in water before rinsing it off. Remember to rinse the watercress 2-3 times to make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned.
  • If you’re short on time you can skip the marinating step. However, it will help enhance the flavor of your steak 
  • For a vegan option, replace the beef with marinated tofu and use vegetable broth instead of fish sauce for more flavor. 
  • For an extra touch of flavor, you can sprinkle some fried garlic or fried shallots on top of the salad. 

Variations of Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad

Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad is versatile enough to be served in various ways. Here are some ideas for how you can customize this dish: 

  • Replace the beef with chicken, tofu or tempeh for a vegetarian or vegan version 
  • Top with chopped peanuts or almonds for a nutty crunch 
  • Add more vegetables such as shredded cabbage, and mushrooms 
  • Use a different type of dressing (such as peanut sauce) to change up the flavor profile. 

No matter how you customize it, Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad will always be delicious! So go ahead and give it a try today. 


Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad is an incredibly delicious dish that combines the bold flavors of marinated beef with crisp, refreshing vegetables. Not only does this fusion of flavor make for a delicious meal, but it’s healthy too – packed with lean proteins, vitamins, and minerals. 

This dish is surprisingly easy to make – all you need are a few quality ingredients and some basic cookware. Plus, you can customize it in many different ways to suit your taste preferences. So, if you’re looking for a flavorful yet healthy meal idea, look no further than Vietnamese Beef and Watercress Salad! 


Is It Healthy To Eat Raw Watercress?

You can eat raw watercress safely. It is a good source of vitamins B and K, as well as minerals like potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. However, it’s important to make sure that the watercress has been thoroughly washed first to remove any dirt or residue. 

Is Watercress Good Or Bad For You?

Watercress is an excellent source of various nutrients and is generally considered to be very healthy. It’s a low-calorie food that is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Eating watercress regularly can help improve your overall health and provide many health benefits. 

Is It Ok To Eat Watercress Everyday?

It’s perfectly safe to eat watercress on a daily basis. The health benefits of watercress are numerous and include improved digestion, a stronger immune system and better skin health. However, like with any food, moderation is key – it’s best not to consume too much in one sitting. 

Is It Better To Eat Watercress Raw Or Cooked?

Eating watercress raw or cooked can have different effects on its nutritional profile. Watercress is rich in Vitamin B, a water-soluble vitamin, that is present in high levels when the plant is consumed raw, but can be significantly reduced when it is cooked. Similarly, the mineral content of watercress, including potassium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, and zinc, can be reduced by 60 to 70% when cooked. Therefore, while cooking watercress may improve its taste and texture for some dishes, eating it raw ensures you receive the maximum amount of these beneficial nutrients.