Get cooking for the whole family with this oven-roasted tomato and asparagus salad recipe, served with creamy mozzarella and fresh bread – perfect for a light and refreshing summer dinner!
With summer in full swing, the last thing you want for dinner is something overly heavy and dense. What you need is a hearty salad, packed full of nutrients and flavour – and this oven-roasted tomato and asparagus salad recipe really hits the spot.
You might’ve noticed an abundance of British tomatoes and asparagus in the supermarket recently – that’s because both of these tasty vegetables are currently in season here in the UK. In fact, the British tomato and asparagus season overlap, so this is the perfect recipe to celebrate them together – when British tomatoes are at their juiciest and asparagus is at its most plentiful!
Benefits of eating in-season vegetables
Eating vegetables while they are in season in your home country is not only better for the environment (goodbye food miles!), but studies show it can also benefit your gut microbiome. If you eat the same vegetables all year round (which are imported from wherever they are in season), your gut microbiome is not exposed to a wide range of different plant based foods, meaning your gut bacteria will not diversify.
On the other hand, if you eat local vegetables when they are in season (e.g. root vegetables in winter, strawberries in spring, tomatoes and asparagus in summer), then you will be allowing a wide range of good bacteria to thrive in your gut. After all, a diverse gut is a happy gut!
Celebrate some current in-season favourites with this oven-roasted tomato and asparagus salad recipe…
Oven-roasted tomato and asparagus salad recipe
- 500g baby tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- A few sprigs of thyme
- A few sprigs of rosemary
- 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
- 500g British asparagus, tough ends discarded
- 4 tbsp black olives, pitted
- 160g watercress
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Mozzarella, to serve
- Place the tomatoes in a large baking tray, making sure there’s plenty of space for the asparagus later. Prick each one with the tip of your knife. Use the side of the knife to flatten the garlic, then throw into the tray along with the herbs and 3 tbsp oil. Then, season lightly and toss everything together with your hands.
- Next, place the filled baking tray in the middle of the oven. Then, heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6 and leave the tomatoes in the oven until it reaches temperature (you want them in there for at least 15-20 mins). Meanwhile, toss the asparagus in the remaining tbsp of oil and put to one side.
- Remove the tomatoes from the oven, gently press them down with a potato masher or big spoon to release some of their juices. Sit the asparagus on top of the tomatoes and scatter around the olives. Return the filled tray to the hot oven for another 12-15 mins until the asparagus is lightly coloured and tender.
- Meanwhile, lightly dress the watercress with the extra-virgin olive oil, a small squeeze of lemon and some seasoning. Toss it together with your hands and spread out on a platter.
- Lastly, remove the tomatoes and asparagus from the oven, and spoon everything over the leaves. Drizzle over any pan juices (this should dress the salad a bit more) then serve immediately with creamy mozzarella and fresh bread. Enjoy – and happy summer!
This recipe involves a few clever tricks: cooking your tomatoes in the oven as it heats means they cook more slowly, giving them time to get sweet before you add the asparagus. And pricking your tomatoes means they slowly deflate rather than burst!