Roasted Asparagus Salad with Crispy Turnips and Warm Ham Vinaigrette is a cozy roasted vegetable salad that’s actually made under your broiler. Fork-tender asparagus, golden brown turnips, crispy ham, and a quick pan vinaigrette come together for an easy weeknight side dish you’ll make again and again.
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You’re going to love this
Broiled vegetables. I have a confession: I didn’t roast the asparagus or the turnips. I broiled them. Which shaved off some time while keeping all the crispy golden-brown goodness — or possibly adding even more.
Fast and easy side dish. Cranking up your broiler to roast your vegetables means your side dish is ready super fast. So while the turnips are broiling, you can prep the asparagus. And while the asparagus and turnips are finishing up in the oven, you can whip up the warm vinaigrette.
Lightly roasted asparagus. To anyone who grew up eating mushy gray (over-boiled!) asparagus and think you could never love it: asparagus is so wonderful when it’s lightly roasted yet still a tad crunchy. And it adds pretty color and a bright green flavor to the dish. If flavor can be described as green?
Golden brown turnips. Roasted — or broiled — turnips are delicious. Almost like if a potato and a carrot had a baby. And then you roasted it. Wait — that doesn’t sound right. But it is accurate, so a turnip salad makes all kinds of sense. Especially in a roasted asparagus salad.
Ham vinaigrette. My inspiration behind this recipe was a hot bacon salad dressing. You know, that spinach salad dressing that’s sweet and tart and yummy all over. Well, I had some leftover ham and thought it would taste great in a warm vinaigrette over a roasted asparagus salad. And I was right.
Salad without lettuce. Warm vegetable salads are so much more flavorful than lettuce salads — I think, anyway. So if you’re just not feeling it for leafy greens, a roasted asparagus salad with crispy turnips gives you something new to try!
Leftover ham idea. Leftover ham is a great gift to have in the fridge — that is, until you’re all sick of eating ham sandwiches. So this warm salad is another idea for your leftover ham. If you have a whole ham bone you still don’t know what to do with, take a peek at my Slow Cooker Baked Beans with Ham recipe.
How to make Roasted Asparagus Salad with Crispy Turnips and Warm Ham Vinaigrette
Turn the oven on broil. Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray.
Clean the turnips. The ones I got were covered in paraffin wax, so I just cut off the top and the bottom so I had a stable base. Then I cut down each side to remove the peel, and gave it a quick rinse to remove any remaining wax pieces. Then I cut it into ½” slices, and cut those slices into ½” cubes.
Arrange the turnip cubes on the tray and broil for 15-20 minutes, checking and turning with a spatula every 5 minutes.
Prepare the asparagus. Snap the ends off the asparagus and cut them into 1” pieces. Arrange the asparagus on the second baking sheet. Broil for 5-8 minutes or until the asparagus is still firm and bright green and starting to brown.
Make the warm vinaigrette salad dressing. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the ham and cook for about 2 minutes or until the ham is brown and crispy.
Add the vinegar, honey, and Dijon and stir until it is combined. Let it simmer together for about a minute.
Toss the cooked turnips and asparagus with the warm vinaigrette and top with feta and sliced green onions.
Roasted Asparagus Salad with Crispy Turnips and Warm Ham Vinaigrette
- 2 turnips, cubed
- 1 bunch asparagus
- ¾ cup ham, cubed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons feta cheese
- 2 green onions, sliced
- Turn the oven on broil. Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray.
- Clean the turnips. The ones I got were covered in paraffin wax, so I just cut off the top and the bottom, so I had a stable base. Then I cut down each side to remove the peel, and gave it a quick rinse to remove any remaining wax pieces. Then I cut it into ½” slices, and cut those slices into ½” cubes.
- Arrange the turnip cubes on the tray and broil for 15-20 minutes, checking and turning with a spatula every 5 minutes.
- Prepare the asparagus. Snap the ends off the asparagus and cut them into 1” pieces. Arrange the asparagus on the second baking sheet. Broil for 5-8 minutes or until the asparagus is still firm and bright green and starting to brown.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the ham and cook for about 2 minutes or until the ham is brown.
- Add the vinegar, honey, and Dijon and stir until it is combined. Let it simmer together for about a minute.
- Toss the cooked turnips and asparagus with the warm vinaigrette and top with feta and sliced green onions.
Ingredient Preparation & Substitutions
Turnips. If you can’t find turnips, you can use any similar root vegetable in this warm salad. Like rutabagas, radishes, beets, parsnips, even carrots.
When you buy turnips, if you can find small, young ones with tops still attached, they will be the sweetest. But if you’re limited to larger turnips that are coated in paraffin wax, it’s okay too — that’s all I could find. Just look for a firm, unblemished exterior and choose ones that are heavy for their size. Store turnips with tops removed and tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Asparagus. If asparagus is hard to come by where you are, or you’re overrun with, say, broccoli or green beans — you can swap out the roasted asparagus in this salad for either one of them. Both would be delicious! So would sugar snap peas or snow peas.
When you bring asparagus home from the store, put it in a glass of water like it’s a bouquet of flowers and store it in your refrigerator.
To prepare asparagus, just snap the ends off at the point where it naturally wants to break. It’ll let you know. If you would like to save your asparagus ends for another use (like soup — or even pesto), just freeze them until you’re ready for them.
Poor turnips. I feel like they get a bad rap as being bland, boring, or even bitter. Probably because of the way they were prepared. But honestly, I have no idea where that’s coming from because the only way I have had them is roasted, which makes them sweet. And very much like a potato. But I’m not here to make you like turnips if you don’t. I will, however, share some nutrition stats.
Turnips are a cruciferous vegetable and closely related to broccoli, Brussels sprouts, arugula, and kale.
Turnips are also:
- Low in calories, one cup contains about 36 calories
- High in fiber, which can promote a healthy digestive tract and make you feel fuller longer
- A source of dietary nitrates, which may help reduce blood pressure
- A source of potassium, which may also help lower blood pressure
Asparagus is another vegetable that gets thrown under the bus for being gray, mushy, or slimy, when really the guilty culprit is the person who overcooked it. Or worse, chose to buy it in a can.
Prepared properly, asparagus has a lovely nutty flavor and toothsome texture. It also has some impressive health stats.
- Low in calories, a half a cup contains 20 calories
- High in vitamins C, A, K, and folate
- A source of potassium, phosphorous, and vitamin E
- High in antioxidants
- High in insoluble fiber, which is good for digestive health
I prefer to broil my vegetables because it’s faster than roasting. In this recipe, the roasted asparagus turns the right amount of brown while still staying al dente after just 5 minutes. And the turnips get nice and crispy brown in about 20 minutes.
(Note: these instructions are for broiling vegetables in an electric oven.)
First, position your oven rack so it is about 4-5 inches under your broiler. Turn the broiler on (If you have a choice between high or low, choose high) and let it preheat for about 5 minutes.
The first trick to getting evenly roasted asparagus, turnips, and other vegetables under the broiler is cutting them relatively small and in consistent sizes. Because the broiler is so hot, if you cut your turnip into large cubes, you run the risk of browning them before they’re fully cooked on the inside. And consistent sizes will ensure each veggie is as brown and delicious as the next one.
The next step, which I admit I don’t always do, is to line a baking sheet with foil. This will help make sure nothing sticks to the pan and makes clean-up easier. Then coat the pan — and the vegetables you’re roasting — with a layer of oil and add salt. Pepper can quickly burn, as can other herbs and seasonings, so wait until after your veggies are broiled to add those.
Spread your asparagus and turnips evenly on the pan in a single layer, giving each one plenty of space. Because vegetables contain so much water, if you crowd your pan, they’ll just end up steaming and you won’t get the brown crispiness you’re going for.
During the broiling process, turn your asparagus and turnips every five minutes or so. You’ll notice with the turnips that one side will quickly get really brown, while the other side looks completely uncooked. So flip them around every 5 minutes. Keeping your eye on the clock every few minutes will also help you catch them before they burn. Because once they start turning brown, they can escalate to charred pretty quickly. And if you roast your asparagus for too long, it will get mushy.
Hungry for More Easy Weeknight Dinner Ideas?
My Recipe Essentials
Nordic Ware Baking Sheets
Can you tell I use my sheet pans a lot? I’m sure a lot of you have pans in your cupboard that look just like mine in the pics above — and not as shiny as these ones. Well-used and much-loved. But when it comes time to replace yours, and I may be there soon, too, I’d go with what I have again, these Nordic Ware baking sheet pans.
Cuisinart Stainless Skillet
This is the skillet you see in the photo of the vinaigrette above. It’s nice and heavy and scrubs up nicely with steel wool. I’d buy it again.