A delicious Summer salad that is sure to impress. The combination of roasted asparagus and tomatoes with parmesan and balsamic glaze is wonderful and makes a great easy side dish that takes only minutes to make. A recipe I have been making for over 10 years and it’s always a crowd pleaser.
Roasting the asparagus and tomatoes really brings out their flavour. The asparagus becomes a little crispy on the edges and the tomatoes have a lovely sweetness. I personally prefer roasted asparagus to boiled or steamed. Using only 4 ingredients plus olive oil and seasoning, this salad takes very little time to prepare. It will takes minutes to have the vegetables roasting in the oven and then plated.
Why I love this salad:
This salad is super easy to make and great for entertaining as it can be served warm or at room temperature. Being able to prepare this salad ahead of time before your guests arrive is always a bonus in my eyes. I often make this for either Christmas Day or Boxing Day as it goes very well with Christmas meats and the colours (red and green) are very on theme!
I also love that it goes well with so many things. It is a great side dish at a barbeque to accompany other side dishes and meats. A great Summer salad to serve with steak, lamb and fish – almost any protein really. It also eats well on its own so is great when catering for vegetarians.
Ingredients to make this salad:
A very short list of ingredients to make this recipe. The asparagus and tomatoes can be roasted together on one oven tray. If doubling the recipe for a larger number of people, I suggest roasting them on individual trays as it is important to spread them out in a single layer so they roast nicely.
- Asparagus – fresh asparagus. Try to choose bunches with stalks of the same thickness so they cook evenly.
- Baby Roma Tomatoes – these are sold in punnets here in Australia. They are sweet and juicy. You can also use cherry tomatoes when they are flavoursome and in season.
- Parmesan Cheese – please choose a good quality one. The pre-grated parmesan sold in packets often have a flour like coating on them. I prefer to buy a block and grate it myself.
- Balsamic Glaze – this is now readily sold in most supermarkets and specialty stores in the vinegar section. It is a thicker and sweeter consistency than balsamic vinegar so don’t confuse the two. Balsamic glaze is actually balsamic vinegar that has been cooked down and reduced, often with a little sugar added until it is thicker and sweeter. It works really well in salads or drizzled over vegetables.
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
Step by Step Instructions:
- 1,2,3 – Preheat the oven to 200°C. To prepare the asparagus and tomatoes, firstly wash both under water and dry them. For the asparagus, I like to fill a bowl or jug with about 5cm of water and dunk the tips into the water and gently swish them about as this helps remove any gritty dirt that sometimes lodges itself there. Wash the rest of the stem then place them onto a dry clean tea towel and pat dry. Snap the tough woody ends off the asparagus and discard or save for soups.
- 4 – Cut the tomatoes in half and place in a bowl. Drizzle with half of the olive oil and toss so all the tomatoes are coated.
- 5 – Place the asparagus out onto one side of an oven tray that has been lined with baking paper. Drizzle them with the remaining olive oil and toss so they all get coated. Spread them out in a single layer. Now tip the tomatoes onto the other side of the tray and spread them out evenly. Season everything with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the parmesan cheese (leave 1/4 of the cheese for sprinkling at the end). Place tray into the middle shelf of the preheated oven and roast for 15-20 minutes until asparagus is cooked and slightly coloured.
- 6,7 – Remove from the oven and using a flat spatula, carefully lift the asparagus out onto a serving plate or platter. Place them in a line and then top them with the tomatoes down the centre. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over everything, followed by a light drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese. It’s ready to serve!
Tips and Tricks for success:
This is such an easy recipe that I hope you will make again and again. Here are a few little tips to help you along the way.
To prepare the asparagus: Often the tips of the asparagus can hold small amounts of gritty dirt (from when they pop out of the soil), so while I rinse the stalks, I also like to fill a bowl or jug with about 5cm of water and dunk the tips into the water and give them a few gentle shakes. This dislodges any gritty bits if they are in there. Make sure you dry the asparagus well as this helps them roast and colour.
Another tip is when you are roasting the asparagus and tomatoes, make sure you spread them out evenly on the oven tray and not crowd them too much. This will help them roast and allow the asparagus to colour up a bit. For this recipe, they will all fit on a single tray but if you want to double the recipe, use 2 trays.
Lastly, as there are very few ingredients used in this dish, please use good quality ones. Buy a parmesan cheese block (I use Parmigiano Reggiano) and grate it yourself as often the packaged pre-grated parmesan has added thickeners.
- oven tray
- 500 g asparagus approximately 20 spears
- 400 g baby Roma tomatoes or baby cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
- 20 ml balsamic glaze
- salt and pepper to season
- 1 tsp olive oil to dress salad
- Preheat oven to 200°C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
- Trim the asparagus by snapping off the woody ends at the base. Wash and dry the asparagus and tomatoes (see notes/tips for asparagus). Cut the tomatoes in half and place them in a bowl with half of the olive oil. Massage in well so all tomatoes are covered. Set aside.Place the asparagus onto the oven tray. Drizzle over the remaining olive oil and toss well to coat. Spread the asparagus out in a single layer on one side of the tray. Place the tomato halves onto the other side of the tray and spread them out evenly.Season all the vegetables with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle over the parmesan cheese (save a couple of tablespoons for garnishing later). Place the tray onto the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes until asparagus is cooked through and slightly coloured on the tips. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your asparagus.Remove tray from the oven and carefully lay the asparagus onto a serving plate or platter in a row. Place the tomatoes down the middle of the asparagus spears. Drizzle the balsamic glaze all over the tomatoes and around the asparagus (use 15-20ml depending on your sweetness levels). Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese over the top, then drizzle with a little extra olive oil to finish.Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers are also delicious the following day. Enjoy!