Learn how to grill asparagus. Its peak begins when grilling season starts. We'll show you two quick and easy techniques for perfect asparagus every time.
Now, I don't know about you, but I have always been a huge fan of grilling season. It's so funny that when people switch to a vegetarian diet, they forget that there are SOOOOO many things you can make out there besides just steak or chicken!
Veggie burgers, for a start. Or pesto-covered vegetables like eggplant and zucchini, beefsteak tomatoes and thick slices of onion. The list goes on and on.
But perhaps one of the BEST TASTING is asparagus. There's just something special about it, isn't there?
Okay, I'm getting hungry! :)
Select and Prep Your Asparagus
Before you begin, be sure you've selected the best asparagus, and cleaned it properly. To learn how to do all of this, visit our Asparagus Cooking Guide.
Okay, now no matter which technique you use, toss (or brush) the asparagus with a little extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with kosher sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Of course, you can use any seasonings you want. But kosher works particularly well here because the granules of salt are bigger. You can certainly add the flavors after they're done cooking too.
As I said, there are two different ways of making your asparagus in this way. Let's review them now...
The Grill Basket
So this is my favorite way to make grilled asparagus because you can also put other veggies in the basket along with your asparagus, and everything cooks perfectly with just the occasional shaking of the basket to "flip" the veggies.
This is the basket I recommend. Unlike many baskets you'll find out there, this one is made with stainless steel mesh so the contents stay put and won't fall through to the briquettes.
Skewers are definitely the less expensive option, but an ever-so-slight pain in the butt.
Firstly, it's important to be sure your skewers are NOT round, but flat.
That's because you will likely want to also use them for other types of veggies, such as mushrooms or cherry tomatoes, and believe me if you have round skewers those little round veggies will NOT nicely flip over for you, they'll just keep spinning on the rounded skewer. But if the skewer if flat, when you pick it up to flip it, your veggies flip over nicely with it.
I like (and use) these cheapo Shish Kebab skewers.They're 10-inches long and perfect no matter what size grill you have.
If you've ever tried making grilled asparagus, you might think you can just lay the stalks across the grates so they don't fall through. But the difficult part happens when you try to turn them over -- inevitably, one falls through the cracks.
The secret? Thread your asparagus through skewers, one through the center of the top of stalk just under the tip, and another through the center near the bottom of the stalk. Repeat for each stalk on the same skewer. You'll end up with 2 skewers threaded from top to bottom -- be sure to leave a little room between each stalk. Very easy to flip, especially with your flat skewers!
Alternatively, you can use two skewers for the job, threading one skewer through the tops of the asparagus, and one skewer through the bottom. This is really easy to flip as well, just turn them both at the same time.
Time To Grill
Grill until the asparagus begins to develop little brown spots, but be sure not to burn.
If using very thick stalks, you'll notice the outsides will start to burn before the insides even get tender. So for thicker-stalked asparagi (is that a word?) keep the heat of the grill verrrrry low and cook it for much longer. Alternatively, first lightly steam those thicker stalks until the veggie becomes al dente (tender with a bite), then finish off on the grill to get that YUMMY flavor we've all grown to love.
Before serving, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the top to refresh all the flavors. Lemon is an excellent match for asparagus.
Finally, check out our Asparagus Vegan Flavor Matches to create your very own asparagus recipe.
Here's one recipe that you can really sink your teeth into, Grilled Asparagus Wraps. OMG, you're going to LOOOOOVE them. Highly recommended!
Happy grilling! And...land sakes, be sure to save some for everyone else. :)