Simple Roasted Asparagus Recipe

There are two things you need to know about asparagus: first, frankly, it's really easy to cook this veggie poorly, making a side that won't make many diners happy. Overcooked asparagus becomes mushy inside and stringy outside, while undercooked asparagus is fibrous, crunchy, and lacks flavor. The second thing to know, fortunately, is that it's equally easy to cook asparagus to perfection, especially with a quick and classic recipe like this one from chef and recipe developer Michelle McGlinn.

McGlinn describes this as "such a good, quick, base recipe for asparagus," and notes that her cooking method — roasting — is pretty foolproof. "I always roast my asparagus; I find it the most hands-off approach which I love for busy nights," she explains. "It's easy to throw potatoes and a protein on the sheet pan and cook one big meal at once."

As for what said protein should be, that's up to you, and there are lots of options. "A classic steakhouse meal is great for this, it really lets all the fresh ingredients shine," she says. Of course, you don't have to a for a red meat route: "I often eat mine with chicken and potatoes," McGlinn notes. "Just use chicken breast or thighs and baby potatoes. If you prefer fish, salmon works the same way, or you can fancy it up and sear some scallops to pair it with." So, basically, you can't go wrong when it comes to pairing this asparagus!

Gather your ingredients for roasted asparagus

All you need for delectable roast asparagus is olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Oh, and the asparagus spears themselves. Want to add a bit more kick and zest? "I like to top my asparagus with Parmesan and red chili flakes," McGlinn notes. So, there's a bit more spice and savory for you, if you'd like.

As for choosing your veggies, McGlinn has some notes of advice: "The best advice is to find the thickest stalks you can to avoid stringy, overcooked asparagus. The small ones dry out too quickly in the oven. If you only have thinner asparagus, no worries, just cook for less time, to avoid overcooking and getting limp, stringy texture."

Rinse and trim the spears, then lay them out

To start off, preheat the oven to 400 F. Next, rinse the spears, then carefully cut the rough ends off of the asparagus, removing about an inch of the base. Now spread the asparagus out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. The spears can be touching, but should not overlap. If needed, use a full sheet pan or two half sheets.

Add the oil, juice, salt, and pepper

With the spears evenly spread out, drizzle the olive oil over asparagus, coating them evenly. Next, squeeze lemon juice out over asparagus, again coating the spears evenly. Finally, sprinkle the asparagus evenly with salt and pepper, and roll the spears around as needed to coat them on each side.

Roast and serve the asparagus

Place the prepared asparagus into the preheated oven and roast the veggies for 20 minutes, or until they are tender, then serve them right away.

And if you have leftovers, all good there. "Asparagus keeps OK in the fridge for three to four days. I find it easiest to microwave the leftovers, though putting them under the broiler will help them crisp up more after sitting in the fridge, which [avoids them] getting a bit stringy." Of course, with a recipe this simple and delicious, it's very likely that you won't have any leftovers to worry about!

Simple Roasted Asparagus Recipe
5 from 26 ratings
If you're looking for a simple, foolproof way to cook asparagus, then look no further than this roasted asparagus recipe.
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
a plate of cooked asparagus
Total time: 25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 20 (1 pound) asparagus spears
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Carefully cut the rough ends off of bases of the asparagus spears, removing about 1 inch.
  3. Spread the asparagus on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (Asparagus can be touching, but should not overlap; if needed, use a full sheet pan or two half sheets.)
  4. Pour the olive oil over the asparagus, coating evenly.
  5. Squeeze lemon juice over the asparagus, coating evenly.
  6. Sprinkle the asparagus evenly with salt and pepper, and roll the spears around to coat each side.
  7. Put the baking sheet in the preheated oven and roast the asparagus for 20 minutes, or until tender.
  8. Serve as a side dish and enjoy.
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