Summer is all about the beach, swimming pools, weekend BBQs with cold drinks, and the company of family and friends. You might think about delicious burgers, grilled chicken, and many other dishes.
However, vegetables can also be delicious on the grill, especially grilled asparagus. Read on to learn more about how to grill asparagus!
Why Should You Grill Asparagus?
Grilling vegetables gives them a smoky flavor you cannot get when roasting them. Plus, if you are not a big fan of asparagus, you’ll be pleased to know that grilling them provides an overall better flavor—not to mention that it keeps the nutrients trapped inside, meaning you get all the benefits.
Grilled asparagus might even become your favorite side dish for those delicious summer BBQs. You only need the proper seasoning and cooking method.
Quick and Easy Steps for Grilling Asparagus
Few vegetables grill as nicely as fresh asparagus, and even fewer veggies provide the same level of nutrients. So, ensure you follow the next steps to get the most out of your grilled asparagus:
1. Preheat Your Hot Grill
The first thing you need to do is to let your grill preheat. It should be hot enough to hear a sizzle when you put the asparagus on the grill grates. There’s no specific temperature needed for this step, but we recommend around 350°F to 400°F.
Ensure the grill is hot so the asparagus develops a pleasant charcoal taste and the right tenderness. Remember, the proper cooking time for grilled asparagus is around five minutes. You’ll get a slightly burned flavor if you leave it for longer.
2. Cut Off the Ends
Asparagus are like small green spears that contain nutrients like potassium, folate, and high levels of fiber. However, when grilling these veggies, we recommend not cooking them whole. Instead, cut off the bottom end of each asparagus spear by an inch or so.
The bottom end of the asparagus is tougher to chew and even more so to swallow. Removing it before cooking can also help reduce the cooking time. If you still want to take advantage of this veggie part, add the ends to your compost!
3. Season Your Asparagus
Asparagus spears aren’t known for their delicious flavor, but it doesn’t mean you cannot make them taste good. Salt and pepper are your allies, and adding a pinch of parmesan cheese can make the dish a delicacy. However, we recommend adding the cheese after grilling the asparagus to save yourself from burned bits on the high-heat grates.
4. Be Patient
If you’ve trimmed your asparagus, the cooking time should be around five minutes. However, if you didn’t, and the asparagus spears are on the bigger side, it might take a couple more minutes. All the steps combined shouldn’t be more than fifteen minutes, depending on the size of the asparagus and the type of seasoning you choose.
Grilled Asparagus Seasoning Ideas
There are no rules for seasoning grilled asparagus. You can go classic and use some kosher salt or channel your inner experimental chef with exotic flavors. In the end, you and your family will eat it, so prepare the asparagus with your favorite seasonings.
Here are some popular ideas:
Freshly ground black pepper: Freshly ground black pepper is a perfect addition to your grilled asparagus. It provides a strong yet subtle flavor that mixes perfectly with the smoky taste of a BBQ.
Kosher salt: You can use regular table salt, but we recommend kosher salt. It has bigger flakes, which are easier to measure when applying. If you don’t have access to kosher salt, scale back the amount of salt you’ll be using.
Extra virgin olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil and a little lemon can also season your asparagus.
You can combine these seasonings by marinating the asparagus in extra virgin olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Let the seasoning soak in before placing the asparagus on the grill, and you’ll get a delicious smoky and savory flavor.
Topping Ideas for Grilled Asparagus
Besides the seasoning, other options can complement your grilled asparagus in foil. For instance, melted cheddar cheese can be a delicious addition. Or, you can sprinkle parmesan cheese and toasted bacon on the asparagus to create an entirely different experience.
Maybe you like more exotic flavors. Try the Asian style by adding a little ponzu sauce and toasted sesame seeds. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can do it the Mediterranean way. Add some feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and chopped kalamata olives.
As you can see, you can combine asparagus with a multitude of other ingredients. It all depends on your preference!
Tips for Making the Best Grilled Asparagus
You can place the asparagus straight on the grill. If you want the best results, we recommend covering them in foil to avoid char marks. If you forgot to buy a foil packet, the best thing to do is to place the asparagus perpendicular to the grates. This alignment prevents them from falling off the grill.
Thick asparagus spears are the best for grilling. The thinner ones are perfect for roasting, but they don’t have the same flavor when grilled. Always look for the thicker and greener asparagus spears.
Additionally, leftover asparagus is quite a versatile ingredient. You can use it in sandwiches, frittatas, salads, and egg bakes.
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