Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: August 17, 2022

Tender, caramelized, and perfectly charred… I bet you didn't think we were talking about asparagus!

Heat that grill, follow this simple guide, which includes tips from the experts, such as Gordon Ramsey and Bobby Flay, and turn this delicate green vegetable into a bold, nutrient-packed side dish in minutes.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Asparagus is an excellent vegetable for grilling due to its quick preparation and delicious flavor.
  • Four basic steps will help you achieve perfectly grilled asparagus, including seasoning, preheating the grill, cooking time and techniques, and serving suggestions.
  • Grilled asparagus will add a pop of color, crunch, and refreshing flavor to your plate.

Lightly charred, tender, and sweet – this is, by far, one of the best ways to cook these veggie spears! Learn how to prepare, grill, and serve asparagus for your next side dish:

How To Prepare And Grill Asparagus

washing asparagus and griller

Follow these simple steps, and grilled asparagus will be on your plate in 15 minutes!

1. Prepare The Grill

Preheat the grill or grill pan to medium-high, about 350° to 400°F (180° to 200°C). Brush the grill grates clean, if necessary.

2. Assemble The Asparagus For Grilling

You can prepare the asparagus while the grill is heating up:

  • Gently rinse the spears and dry thoroughly.
  •  Remove the woody ends.

The asparagus ends can be unpleasant and challenging to chew. You can remove the ends with a simple snap: Bend the bottom of each spear gently, and it will naturally break where the woody part begins.

Alternatively, line the spears in a row and cut about an inch (2-3cm) off each end.

  • Season with a few simple ingredients.

Basic ingredients such as oil, lemon, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper are all you need; the grill will take care of the rest.

‘Lightly coat your asparagus in an oil with a high smoke point, such as canola oil or avocado oil, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.’
- Gordon Ramsay, Celebrity Chef, & Restaurateur [1]

Place asparagus in a mixing bowl, lightly drizzle with olive oil and then toss to coat. Season generously with salt and black pepper. Mix to combine. Set the lemon aside for later.

The grill will add depth of flavor to the asparagus, with lightly charred edges and caramelized sweetness.

3. Grill The Asparagus

Make sure the grill is hot before cooking the asparagus for maximum flavor and quick results. Don’t skip this step!

Place the asparagus directly on the grill, perpendicular to the grates to prevent them from falling through.

Grill over high heat for 6-10 minutes until tender, crisp, and lightly charred. Use tongs to flip the spears halfway through for even grill marks.

Keep a close eye on those spears to prevent them from burning or falling through the grate.

When the asparagus is grilled to your liking, add a good squeeze of lemon for an extra burst of flavor and serve immediately with additional seasonings or toppings of your choice.

Grilled asparagus should be tender, not mushy, and it can be consumed warm or at room temperature.

How To Serve Grilled Asparagus

plate filled with asparagus

Grilled asparagus has a fantastic crunch and flavor by itself, but it can also be paired with other ingredients to create a unique side dish. You can try a new and exciting combination every time:

  • Lemon juice, lemon zest, and finely grated Parmesan
  • A drizzle of balsamic vinegar/balsamic reduction, toasted nuts, and crumbled feta/goat’s cheese
  • Toss with browned butter and a sprinkle of toasted nuts
  • Drizzle with teriyaki or ponzu sauce and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds
  • Wrap with cooked bacon, pancetta, or ham
  • Light drizzle of tahini and maple syrup. Sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and sea salt
  • Serve with hummus, cheese, olives, cold meat, tomatoes, and toasted ciabatta
  • Combine with peas, red pepper flakes, and bacon bits in a creamy pasta
  • Serve with grilled salmon, pork chops, or lemon garlic chicken
  • Add to a nourish bowl with quinoa, crispy tofu, avocado, and broccoli
  • Top freshly toasted sourdough bread with grilled asparagus and a soft poached egg-like Food Network star Anne Burrell.
  • Enjoy leftover asparagus in a salad, frittata, or omelet. You can also put a few spears on a pizza or sandwich.

The Best Type Of Asparagus To Grill

stack of asparagus

Thick asparagus spears are ideal for grilling. More giant vegetables can grill for longer and get that delicious smoky char without burning to a crisp.

Thicker spears are better to handle over the fire because they are easier to turn and won’t fall through the grill grates.

You would need double the amount of thin or ‘baby’ asparagus, which will require more prep and attention.

They can be grilled in a pan, grilling basket, or skewered to make them easier to turn while they are cooking.

Look for firm, green asparagus stalks with closely-bunched ends. Avoid stalks that are soft or wilted.

How Long Does Grilled Asparagus Last?

Grilled asparagus will last for 3-5 days in the refrigerator and 6-9 months in the freezer. Store in an airtight container, or wrap tightly with cling wrap.

Mushy, black spears or a rancid smell are signs that the asparagus has gone off.

Can You Grill Asparagus Without Foil?

Yes, you skip the foil and place the asparagus straight on the grill!

The direct heat imparts a deliciously smoky flavor to the asparagus, while the grid gives it a crispy char [2]. Foil may steam rather than grill the spears, leaving them bland and mushy.

Why Is My Grilled Asparagus Soggy?

Soggy asparagus is a sign of:

  • Overcooking the spears. Remember that they cook quickly.
  • Grilling at a low temperature. Ensure the grill is hot for tender-crisp spears.
  • Using too much oil. A little oil goes a long way. Leave any excess oil at the bottom of the bowl.

Is Grilled Asparagus Healthy?

hand view of a person with asparagus

Asparagus is a nutritional powerhouse that makes a tasty and valuable addition to a balanced diet. These slender spears are low in calories but rich in antioxidants, fiber, and essential nutrients such as folate and Vitamins A, C, and K.

Studies show that, when consumed regularly, the nutrients in asparagus may provide the following health benefits:

  • Lowers risk of depression [3]
  • Reduces blood pressure and promotes heart health
  • Combats inflammation, which often leads to aging and disease
  • Improves digestion
  • Supports bone health and may prevent osteoporosis

Did you know? After consuming this lean green veggie, everyone produces pungent 'asparagus pee,' but not everyone can smell it! Several genes enable people to smell the sulfurous compounds produced by asparagus [4].

Final Thoughts

Grilling is one of the best ways to prepare and enjoy asparagus. You can use a stainless steel grill for a more controlled temperature.

With essential ingredients, a straightforward process, and in only 15 minutes, you can create a stellar side dish that just might outshine the mains!


 References:

  1. https://www.gordon-ramsay-recipes.com/preparation-step-by-step/grilled-asparagus-101-cooking-for-two-by-gordon-ramsay.html
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/asparagus-benefits
  3. https://www.foodiecrush.com/grilled-asparagus/
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-does-asparagus-make-your-pee-smell#bottom-line

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