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Wondering how to grill asparagus? Use this simple, grilled asparagus recipe that yields crispy, slightly charred, and perfectly seasoned asparagus. In less than 10 minutes, you can serve up one of nature’s healthiest foods to your family all summer long.
Or try our Oven Roasted Asparagus recipe.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
It wasn’t until I learned how to grill asparagus and roast it in the oven that I realized I actually liked it. Like, REALLY like it. In my opinion, the way I grew up eating it (boiled or steamed) just made it…icky.
The flavor that comes from grilled asparagus is distinctly different. The open flames from a grill char the ends, giving it a smokey crispness that serves as a perfect contrast to those tender stalks. I could eat perfectly grilled asparagus like french fries.
Is Asparagus Good for You?
Not only is grilled asparagus delightful to eat, but this veggie is a nutritional POWERHOUSE. No wonder my parents were always trying to get us to eat it as kids. Asparagus is low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with antioxidants. (Antioxidants prevent the accumulation of harmful free radicals and may reduce your risk of chronic disease.)
Get this, mamas: asparagus is also high in folate, a nutrient that is vital for a healthy pregnancy and many important processes in the body, including cell growth and DNA formation. If you’re in the baby-making stage of life, eat your asparagus! If you’re not, eat your asparagus! It’s really an amazing vegetable for anyone.
Before you get grilling, it’s important to know how to select and store asparagus for this recipe.
How to Select Asparagus for This Recipe
Perfect grilled asparagus starts at the store. Keep these two tips in mind when selecting asparagus that you’re going to bake.
- Freshness: When selecting asparagus at the store, look for stalks that are firm and are a rich color of green with a small amount of white coloring at the bottom. If the stalk is limp, do not buy it (source).
- Size: Thicker spears work better for grilling, because they stand up well to the intense heat of the grill. I’ve tried all sizes of stalk and can confirm this to be 100% the case.
How to Store Asparagus
Once you select the perfect stalks from the store, be sure to store them the right way in the refrigerator.
- Trim a 1/2 inch off the ends of the stalks and stand them upright in a jar or glass with about 1 inch of water in the bottom.
- Cover with a loose fitting plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
*Alternatively, you can wrap the trimmed ends in a wet paper towel and place in a loose fitting plastic bag in the vegetable drawer.
Tips for Seasoning
You’ll be amazed at how the simple ingredients in this recipe (oil, salt, and pepper) will be all you need. But, if you’d like to tinker with the recipe, I think that dried Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, or lemon pepper would be fun playmates with asparagus.
For this recipe though, we kept it simple and plenty delicious. Toss the stalks with oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If you’d like (and I think you will!), squeeze a fresh lemon over the top before serving.
How Long to Grill Asparagus
This is where great asparagus can live and die. A few minutes make all the difference. Overcooked = womp womp. Undercooked = biting into a stick.
Since every grill is going to be a bit different, you’re going to have to see this as more of an art, not a science. I have found that medium-high heat works best (or, for my gas grill that runs really hot, medium worked well). You’ll know when the heat level is just right because you can hold your hand about 5 inches above the grate for only 3-4 seconds.
Then, grill the asparagus for 4-7 minutes, pulling them off when they are just crisp-tender. The thinner the stalks are, the faster they will cook.
Want to Roast It Instead?
If the weather is bad for grilling or you just want to use your oven instead, try our recipe for Oven Roasted Asparagus.
Main Dishes That Go Well This Recipe
Grilled asparagus makes a wonderful side dish for grilled entrees like these:
- Mini Wild Salmon Patties with Lemony Avocado Sauce
- Grilled Sirloin Steak Kebabs
- Southwest Grilled Chicken Tenders
- Cheddar Chive Burgers
- Almost any seafood recipe!
Now, let’s get grilling!
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- 1 1/2 – 2 pounds asparagus
- 1–2 tablespoons avocado oil (sub: olive oil)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste)
- Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)
- Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional garnish)
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- Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium to medium-high heat. (When it’s ready, you should be able to hold your hand about 5 inches above it for 3-4 seconds.)
- Rinse and snap off the tough bottom ends of asparagus. Pat dry.
- In a baking dish or bowl, toss the asparagus with enough oil to coat the stalks. Season with the salt and pepper and toss again.
- Using tongs, place the asparagus directly on the grill. Cook for 4-7 minutes, turning a few times to evenly char the stalks. Remove while they are crisp-tender. Keep in mind that thinner stalks will cook faster. (Tip: To check for doneness, prick with a fork. Asparagus should be crisp-tender. It will continue cooking even when removed from the oven, so don’t overcook.)
- Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if desired. Serve with a squeeze of lemon (optional) and freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional).
Roast Asparagus in the Oven: I also LOVE roasted asparagus. Use our simple oven roasted method here.
What to Do With Stalk Bottoms: My mom saves the tough bottoms of the stalks in the fridge or freezer and then uses them to make homemade cream of asparagus soup later.