Balsamic Roasted Turnips with Onion (Pellet Smoker or Oven)

Featured image for balsamic roasted turnips in the smoker in a shallow light blur grey bowl with a silver serving spoon on light blue towel with and onion, balsamic and turnip in the background
Posted On: July 12, 2023
Last updated: May 8th, 2024

Whether you are just getting acquainted with turnips or you are a long-time fan, one thing is certain, roasting turnips with onion is a simple, yet delicious way to enjoy them. This is a perfect low carbohydrate side dish that goes great with proteins like chicken, steak, or fish.  It’s also a great vegetable dish that can take the place of a starch and veggie at the same time. The combination of sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar and earthy turnip and onion flavor will have your taste buds singing! With only five main ingredients, a few spices and 30 minutes of cooking time, you’ll be able to enjoy this delicious side dish in no time. The nutritional value of turnips is also a huge bonus.  Let’s get cooking!

roasted, caramelized turnips cut into fat fries in serving bowl with 2 purple top turnips on the side and behind, onion and balsamic vinegar bottle in background

Why cook turnips?

I’ll be honest.  The only reason I even tried to cook turnips was because my husband, the gardener of the house grew them!  Why did he grow them you ask?  Because he got free seeds thrown into a pack with other seeds he ordered.  Ha!  True story.  Ok, well now for the other reason I decided to mess around with these root vegetables; they’re low carb!  I love potatoes, don’t get me wrong, I really do.  Just look at my site and you’ll see plenty of potato dishes from Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes to simple garlic roasted red potatoes.  The problem is, I have made a change to my diet in recent months to help lose weight and the only way I could do it is to lower my carb intake. That’s where turnips come in and are perfect for people like me.

Over the top and close up view of caramelized roasted turnips in shallow blue bowl with silver serving spoon and turnip with purple top to the left on a light blue towel

Health Benefits of Turnips

As mentioned previously, turnips are a great starch alternative that are low carb. The beauty of this cruciferous vegetable is that a cup of turnips has only about 36 calories, whereas a cup of potatoes has about 100 calories.  The carbs in about a cup of turnips is 8 grams vs about 26 grams per cup of diced potatoes.  Besides being loaded with loads of vitamins like calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin C, they’re a great source of fiber, eye, bone and heart health, regulating blood sugar, and a great veggie for cancer prevention.  You can check out more benefits on WebMD’s Health Benefits of Turnips here.  This is a perfect side dish for a Keto or low-carb diet.  

Balsamic Roasted Turnips with Onion Prep Steps before Smoker or Oven in collage: greasing pan, cutting turnips, onions, stirring with oil and vinegar and ready for roasting

How to Prepare Roasted Turnips

So, you pretty much prep these root veggies like you would roasted potatoes, but with this turnip recipe I add a little extra goodness to it. A little butter and caramelized flavor with the onions, balsamic vinegar and butter.  You do not to need remove the outer peel, but if there are parts you want to remove a vegetable peeler works great.  I add the turnips, onion, olive oil and balsamic to a large rimmed baking sheet or a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish works great too.  

Balsamic Roasted Turnips with Onion in Smoker Steps: Putting into smoker, after 10 mins, after 20 mins, after 30 mins and ready to take out and enjoy

Oven or Pellet Smoker Roasting

My preference for cooking this recipe is the pellet smoker, i.e. Pit Boss or Traeger. We have a Pit Boss that we are obsessed with. Since my turnips are garden grown, in the summer, the outdoor smoker is ideal. No heating up the house and the turnips turn out amazing this way. Give the turnips and onion a good toss with the oil and vinegar and then add your spices.  Stir it all again until everything is coated well with the seasoning.  Spread it out evenly in your baking dish and top with your cubes of butter.  Now, you’re ready to roast the turnips, uncovered in your oven or pellet grill.  My preferred method is the pellet grill to get the best result; it makes them a little smoky, gives the turnips great color and that nice caramelization, that makes this turnip recipe so delicious!

Up close look at balsamic turnips after roasting in the smoker pellet grill with white spatula spoon

Roasted Turnips with Onion Ingredients

  • Medium Purple Top Turnips- I use purple top white globe turnips for this recipe.  About 3 medium 3 inch wide turnips, more precisely 1.5 lbs.  If you have all sorts of sized turnips, which is highly likely if they’re growing in your garden, then I do recommend weighing them with a food scale.  I use white turnips with purple tops, turnip greens cut off.  Don’t discard those turnip greens, cook them!  There’s a great recipe for these leafy greens from, Spicy Skillet Turnip Greens Recipe you can try out.  
  • Sweet Onion- This turnip recipe is so much better in my opinion with sweet caramelized onion. You can go without, but I don’t recommend it. You’ll be missing out.
  • Balsamic Vinegar-  The addition of balsamic vinegar helps cut down on some of the bitter flavor of turnips with it’s natural sugars.  If you’re following a low carb or Keto diet, just watch the balsamic vinegar you use.  Some have more carbs than others. 
  • Olive Oil- I just like good ol’ Extra Virgin olive oil.  Avocado oil is great as well for roasted vegetables, especially when cooking in high temperatures.  
  • Garlic Powder- I love granulated garlic which is about the same, just a bit more coarse and concentrated in taste.
  • Sea salt- My go to cooking salt, but you can use kosher salt as well, just be sure to adjust to your liking at the end of cooking and taste before serving.
  • Pepper- Standard fine or coarse ground black pepper is great. 
  • Smoked Paprika- If you don’t have smoked paprika, standard sweet paprika is fine.  It just won’t have as much of the smoky flavor if that’s what you like. 
  • Unsalted Butter- Add about 4 tablespoons of butter to the dish before roasting, this is a great way to get a little more of the caramelized flavor and bring out the natural sweetness of the onion as well.
  • Optional: Drizzle just a little lemon juice on the turnips after roasting, just before serving.  Also, if you have a flourishing herb garden you can toss in some fresh herbs.  Some chives, thyme or dill go great with turnips.  
Ingredients for turnips recipe shown on grey board: turnips, sweet onion, butter, olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper, garlic and paprika

Give Turnips a Try

Balsamic roasted turnips can be a delicious and nutritious dish for any kitchen. Whether roasted in a smoker or oven-baked, the simple combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic and paprika will result in a tasty side or snack. Roasted turnips are a healthy, easy-to-prepare dish that will enhance any meal and leave your taste buds wanting more. And, as Julia Child once said, “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces—just good food from fresh ingredients.” Give roasted turnips a try and discover the unique flavor and texture that can only be achieved through roasting.

Happy Roasting!!

Over the top and close up view of caramelized roasted turnips in shallow blue bowl with silver serving spoon and turnip with purple top to the left on a light blue towel

Balsamic Roasted Turnips with Onion (Pellet Smoker or Oven)

No need to heat up your house with the oven if you have a pellet smoker/grill. Roast these turnips in the smoker and get even more delicious caramelization and flavor. Or you can roast this the old fashioned way, in the oven. Either way you will enjoy this delicious low carb alternative to potatoes. It's a great low carb side for summer grilling.
All turnips are varied in size, so I recommend weighing your turnips. 
4.93 from 13 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 71 kcal


  • 1.5 lbs turnips 3-4 Medium Turnips/ 3 inch wide, Washed, stems trimmed and peeled as you like (Cut into 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch sticks- lengthwise as wide as your turnips is)
  • 1 onion small to medium sliced thin
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil


  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

Top Before Roasting

  • 4 Tbsp cold butter cut into small cubes


Oven Roasting

  • Preheat Oven to 450 degrees.
  • Grab a 9 x13 inch baking dish.  I like to use a glass Pyrex dish for easy cleaning.
  • Add turnips, onion, olive oil and balsamic to the dish and give it a stir.
  • Add the spices: garlic powder, salt, pepper and smoked paprika.  Give it a stir to coat everything.
  • Top with cold butter, dispersed evenly.
  • Roast for 25-30 mins uncovered, stirring halfway through.  It’s done once it’s golden and kind of caramelized looking. Can test with a sharp knife as well.  Adjust salt and pepper to your liking and enjoy!!

Smoker/Pellet Grill Roasting

  • Preheat Pellet grill to 400 degrees.
  • Follow same instructions as with oven, Steps #2-6 except watch it more closely and stir it at least 3 times.  (Keep in mind the turnips and onion might get more color and more caramelized with the pellet grill, but it’s SO good this way.  My preferred choice for sure!

Nutrition Disclaimer:

The nutritional information provided is only an estimate based on a third party nutritional plugin. Different online calculators may give different results depending on their own sources. The estimates may also change based on the ingredients you use. If you have dietary restrictions and need to accurately calculate the nutrition of this recipe, Whole Made Living recommends consulting a professional nutritionist.


Calories: 71kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 369mgPotassium: 241mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 166IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 1mg
Keyword healthy, low carb, oven, pellet grill, roasted, smoker, special occasion, summer dish, turnips, vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  • I chose this recipe based on the reviews but there are none in the post. It’s always nice to see what others have said and what additions they have suggested.

    • Hmm…I’m sorry I have no control over that, but there is actually a comment below the recipe. Thanks for checking it out. Hopefully you give it a try!

  • This recipe turns the lowly turnip into a gourmet dish! Who knew turnips could be so good?! Delicious!

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