The first time I made grilled asparagus was a complete flop. I thought I had everything down, but it just didn’t work out the way I wanted it to.
I knew it was something I just needed to practice. But I think I learned the most from that experience. It taught me about timing, and how not to be in a hurry when it comes to grilling.
In this grilled asparagus recipe, I’ll share my best tips for perfectly-cooked asparagus. These tips will help you get the most out of every bite of this amazing vegetable.
The olive oil and cheese is a simple, classic combination, but I love adding some tangy lemon zest on top. The acidity cuts through the richness of the butter, giving it an extra kick. Lemon always complements the flavors of cheese well, and works great with this combination.
How to Make the Best Grilled Asparagus
1. Use a Grill Pan
Grilling asparagus can be tricky, and if you try it outdoors, you might burn yourself. To avoid that possibility, I highly recommend using a grill pan instead. They are usually small enough to fit easily on your stovetop, and I have found them to be much more reliable than grilling asparagus outdoors.
2. Brush Your Asparagus with Olive Oil
I love the flavor of olive oil on asparagus, and it also gives it an extra boost of healthy fat. If you don’t like olive oil, feel free to brush the asparagus with any kind of neutral-flavored oil. The key is that you use something flavorful and not too hot.
3. Season Your Asparagus Well with Salt and Pepper
Salt is key here! If you skip this step, your asparagus will taste bland and a bit like cardboard.
4. Grill Your Asparagus until It’s Lightly Charred, 2-3 Minutes per Side
Grilling asparagus is easy—just grill it a few minutes per side until it’s slightly charred.
5. Top with Parmesan Cheese
It’s worth tossing on a bit of parmesan before serving your asparagus. It gives a great flavor contrast to the other ingredients, and also provides a nice crunchy topping.
How to Store and Make Ahead of Time
This is another one of my favorite summery recipes. It’s easy to make, requires minimal prep, and is a crowd pleaser.
In order to prepare grilled asparagus in advance, wash your asparagus and pat dry. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill on a grill pan or griddle for 6-8 minutes. Add the cheese and grill for an additional 2 minutes or so.
You can either let them cool and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to reheat them, cook on a grill pan or griddle for 6-8 minutes until hot. Top with more olive oil, salt and pepper if you like.
What Side Dish to Serve Along with Grilled Asparagus
You may think it’s too simple to put out grilled asparagus and nothing more, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be great!
You’ll need something crisp and light to serve alongside this easy side dish.
A salad is a great option, because the flavors will compliment each other and the textures will be complementary.
Crisp lettuce, such as romaine or iceberg, goes well with the delicate, sweet asparagus. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try something a little more unusual.
Greens like arugula or spinach are also good options, as they add some crunch to the dish.
A drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top will add some fresh flavor and a lot of texture.
Variations of Grilled Asparagus with Olive Oil and Parmesan Cheese
I make this asparagus dish often. It’s quick and easy, and a great alternative to the more complicated and time-consuming roasted Brussels sprouts recipe.
Plus, asparagus is in season at the same time that roasted Brussels sprouts are in season. This dish is best enjoyed warm, so be sure to keep an eye on the grill when you serve it.
Grilled Asparagus with Red Onion and Lemon
Instead of using Parmesan cheese, top your grilled asparagus with thinly sliced red onion rings and a drizzle of lemon juice. Serve on a plate with a few slices of lemon to squeeze over the asparagus. Finish it off with a sprinkle of chopped fresh chives.
Grilled Asparagus with Olive Oil and Balsamic
This is my favorite. Drizzle your grilled asparagus with a light drizzle of thick balsamic vinegar, and finish it off with a generous sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper.
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon and Garlic
Top the grilled asparagus with a light drizzle of lemon juice, and a pinch of minced garlic. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.
Grilled Asparagus with Goat Cheese and Dijon Mustard
Top your grilled asparagus with crumbled goat cheese and a generous sprinkle of Dijon mustard. You could finish it off with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, grated Parmesan cheese or chopped fresh basil if you’d like.
Italian grilled asparagus
Transfer your grilled asparagus to a serving platter, then lightly drizzle thick balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze on top. You could finish it off with a sprinkle of lemon zest, red pepper flakes and/or grated Parmesan.
Mediterranean grilled asparagus
Squeeze a lemon wedge over the asparagus, then lightly drizzle thick balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze over the top. Finish it off with a sprinkling of lemon zest, and some red pepper flakes if you’d like a spicy kick.
Roasted asparagus with an Asian spin
This one is pretty simple, but delicious. Lightly drizzle toasted sesame seed oil or teriyaki sauce on top. Finish it off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds (white or black), and some red pepper flakes if you’d like a spicy kick.
Thai grilled asparagus
Serve with peanut sauce on the side for drizzling, and lime wedges. Once again, red pepper flakes add a nice spicy touch.