Try This Tonight: Roasted Turnips & Pears With A Rosemary-Honey Drizzle

Sorry, but if I told you what I’d been doing for the past week or so, I’d have to kill you. Only kidding. It’s not top-secret. Just complicated in the way that only multiple Island-to-mainland round-trip ferry rides can be. Complicated in the wearing-lots-of-hats kind of way. You know, as much as I like being farmette girl, this week I had to wear some of my other hats (as we all do from time to time). I had to be cookbook author/cooking teacher girl and photo shoot girl, and more importantly, family girl and friend girl. Dr. Seuss would be proud, as I did manage to stack all my hats on my one head all at one time.

Anyway, the point is that you would die of boredom if I transcribed my diary, so instead, I’m offering you a timely recipe suggestion today. We have been gleaning pears from our neighbor’s pear trees, which were a bit rattled by Irene and are letting loose their fruit like a wet dog shaking off water. (I said gleaning, not stealing—the neighbors invited us to pick.) I’ve also been harvesting the purple-topped turnips I planted in July. I am in love with these darn things because they are so pretty and sturdy and useful and delicious all at once.

And, as it happens, for some reason (maybe I really was channeling the seasons), when I was writing Fast, Fresh & Green three years ago (that long now!), I developed a recipe that uses both turnips and pears. It also happens to be drop-dead easy and delicious. It was one of the recipes I demonstrated on Martha Stewart Television last Thanksgiving, and it was also featured in Martha’s Vineyard Magazine (see photo of finished dish). The recipe—for Roasted Turnips & Pears with a Rosemary-Honey Drizzle—came to mind last week not just because of the pear-picking, but because I wanted to give farm stand customers a turnip recipe that might encourage them to experiment. (And I admit, that might get them to buy turnips!) I know people often disdain turnips for their bitter edge, but I find they are delicious roasted, especially when combined with something a little sweet. (They are also really yummy in a slow-sauté, like the Caramelized Turnips, Potatoes & Carrots with Onion & Thyme I posted last year.) If you’re turnip-averse, please give this a try.

Roasted Turnips & Pears with a Rosemary-Honey Drizzle

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

There’s a lovely balance in this autumn side dish between the sweet pears and the, well, not-so-sweet, turnips – and between the floral honey and the piney rosemary. All the flavors come together in a way that just might be palatable for people who normally wouldn’t eat turnips. These would be delicious nestled next to a braised lamb shank or some short ribs. Purple-topped turnips don’t need peeling; nor do I peel pears when I’m roasting them, so this is an easy dish to put together.


3 medium purple-topped turnips (14 to 15 ounces total), unpeeled, cut into large (1/2- to 3/4-inch) dice

1 firm but ripe Bosc or Bartlett pear (about 7 ounces), unpeeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary


Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Line a large (18- x 13- x 1-inch) heavy-duty rimmed sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, toss the turnips and pears with the vegetable oil and the salt. Spread the turnips and pears in one layer on the sheet pan and roast, flipping with a spatula once or twice during cooking if you like, until the turnips are tender when pierced with a paring knife or spatula, 25 to 30 minutes (the turnips will be brown on some sides, the pears will be a bit darker).

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the honey and the rosemary. Simmer for a few seconds and remove from the heat.

Transfer the cooked turnips and pears to a mixing bowl and drizzle the butter mixture over all, scraping all of the mixture out of the saucepan. Toss well and transfer to a serving dish.

Serves 3

4 thoughts on “Try This Tonight: Roasted Turnips & Pears With A Rosemary-Honey Drizzle”

  1. Susie- in addition to your great recipes I love your photographs- they are so artistic and one of these days when I go back to painting I hope you won’t mind if i copy one or two or I should say” try to.” I am looking forward to your new book and now I hear a third one is in the works- you are so talented. Best wishes always, Luv SAM

  2. Dear Shirley (Fairy Godmother!) — You should paint RIGHT NOW! Don’t wait. Paint pears, paint tomatoes…paint your garden. Life is too short…anyway, I am happy to hear from you and send all my love, Susie

  3. Hi,
    I just wanted to write and let you know how much I love your book “Fast, Fresh and Green. I tend to collect cookbooks and last year my husband said “no more cookbooks, please”. Well, I did not listen and he is thrilled. The first reciepe was confetti collards and we are planning to have turnips and pears this week. I have made many of your reciepes and invented my own with your techniques. I have a 9 and 13 year old how have enjoyed every reciepe, even the butterut gratin, they are not fans of butternut. I love the book because it is about techniques. The reciepes while delicious are used as guides to experiment with various techniques. I rarely follow a receipe exactly anymore so this book is perfect. Thanks so much. Please write more.

  4. Hi Suzie,

    So glad you like the book. It makes me especially happy that you’re using the techniques as guidelines–that’s what I had hoped folks would do. And so glad the kids are enjoying the vegetables, too–so great. My new book, Fresh and Green for Dinner, comes out next spring. It’s main dishes (with lots of veggies!). Thanks for writing! Susie

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