Asparagus is one of summer's staple vegetables and for good reason. It's extremely versatile and, most importantly, it's delicious when prepared properly. Get ready for veggie success with our favorite baked asparagus recipe plus some inventive variations and notes for food pairings.

bunch of wild asparagus

What You'll Need

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt & pepper
asparagus in baking dish

Instructions

Now that all the ingredients and kitchen items have been collected, it's time to tackle our classic baked asparagus recipe!

Step #1: Prep Step

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While it's reaching optimal temperature, rinse asparagus with fruit and veggie wash, and pat dry with paper towel. Break off the base of the spears using both hands, simply snapping where it breaks easily. Slice lemon in half and set one half aside; cut the remaining half into thin slices.

Step #2: Spice Is Nice

Place asparagus into baking dish, alternating tips and tails for even cooking. Squeeze half the lemon so juice pours over the vegetable. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the butter and lay over the seasoned asparagus.

Step #3: Baking Beauty

Bake for about 12 minutes, then carefully remove from oven. Add the parmesan and broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and crispy. That last addition will impart a pleasant textural effect and really ramp up the flavor of your favorite vegetable.

close up of asparagus tips

Variations

Now that you know the base recipe for heavenly baked spears, there are so many inventive variations you can make with this ingredient. We've broken down a few of your best options here.

  • Method: The first change we recommend is playing around with the way you cook your asparagus. While we've baked ours in this case, there's also great roasted asparagus recipes. In the summertime, grilling asparagus is another ideal option.
  • Spice Blends: We so enjoy the tried-and-true lemon, butter, parm combination we've already covered. But, there are tons of other ways to make asparagus flavor pop. Consider adding some garlic powder or fresh garlic to your recipe. This garlicky goodness goes a long way. For another cool twist, try Indian-spiced asparagus with cumin, ginger, and turmeric. We also like a garlic-chili-lime combination as a nod to Mexican cuisine; use chili powder and/or cayenne for a pleasant spicy note.
asparagus in white bowl

Food Pairings

There are lots of foods that would work well with asparagus, but we have focused on just a few of the best options.

  • Salty foods are an excellent way to ramp up the earthy tone of fresh baked asparagus. Some inventive ingredients that would work in this vein are bacon, blue cheese, or prosciutto. Parmesan is another salty cheese that's excellent with this veggie, which is why we already included it in our base recipe above.
  • Another great option for food that plays well with asparagus is sweeter seafood, especially shrimp and scallops. They work well with the woodsy vegetable by balancing out the strong flavors with their mild and sweet finish.
  • We also like salmon, with its meaty strong finish, as a pairing partner with the green goodness of asparagus. Salmon is strong enough to stand up to the strong-flavored asparagus, so any plate with this pairing is sure to pack a punch.

Overall, we hope this baked asparagus recipe becomes one of your staple side dishes. Remember, you can switch it up with some alternate ingredients or methods or simply enjoy the classic take. Bon appétit!

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