Roasted Asparagus

This, believe it or not, is a cake! I found it at Sweetopolita, where she'll tell you how to make it.

This, believe it or not, is a cake! I found it at Sweetapolita, where she’ll tell you how to make it.

Erik’s aunt just called to ask me how I cook my asparagus, because she wants to make it for company tonight. It’s so easy to make perfect cooked asparagus that I forget that some people find it intimidating. Maybe that’s because of those dedicated asparagus cookers they sell, and associations with silver tongs and Hollandaise sauce and hotel brunches. Yet the truth is all you have to do is roast it.

Here’s a universal rule: everything tastes better roasted. Even vegetables. I can’t think of one vegetable that doesn’t roast nicely, and asparagus is one of my favorites. All vegetables are roasted the same way, basically, but here’s an asparagus specific recipe.

Roasted Asparagus

Pre-heat your oven to 400F (is that 200C?)

Trim the pale, woody ends off of the asparagus. Lay the asparagi down on a cookie sheet or in a baking dish–or hey, even a roasting pan!  Somewhere they can spread out in a single layer. Drizzle them with lots of olive oil, then get in there with your hands and toss and massage that oil in, so all the stalks are completely coated. Lay them back down in a single layer. Give them a generous salting and a grind of pepper and chuck the pan in the oven.

Roast for about 30 minutes at 400F until tender but still retaining a bit of spine. Fat stalks might take longer, skinny, less long.

  • You may like to push the time in the oven until the asparagus browns, if you like that roasty, almost-burnt flavor, like I do.
  • You can roast them with lemon slices on top, too, if you swing that way.
  • While they’re good hot, they’re also fine at room temperature, or even cold out of the fridge in salad-like applications.

Leave a comment


  1. Roasted lettuce is a veg I don’t think I’m interested in, but if you find a recipe for it….well my chickens can always eat it 🙂

    • Well, roasted iceberg might not do so well, true! But sturdy greens–kale, endive, etc– actually do work.

      As an aside, there’s also this whole school of thought that treats romaine lettuce like a cooked vegetable which I need to investigate more.

  2. I roast most of my asparagus too, often with Parmesan cheese shavings on top (I use a potato peeler).
    I do have to boil some each year, for serving with boiled eggs. They have to have runny yolks so the asparagus can be dipped in them 🙂 I think if you fry the egg it’s called Asparagus Holstein, which sounds much more sophisticated!

    • Yes, yes! I love asparagus topped with a runny egg which in turn is topped with Parmesan. And olive oil. And lots of pepper. (and now I’m hungry and I have no asparagus 🙁 )

  3. Love roasted asparagus. Sometimes when we’re feeling naughty, we wrap it in a little phyllo dough.

    Also exceptionally good roasted: Broccoli and cauliflower.

    And, of course, kale “chips”. Yum.

    • Phyllo dough? omg. The decadence!

      And totally with you on the broccoli and cauliflower and kale. I’ll add Brussels sprouts to the list, roasted until their outer leaves are brown and the insides soft. And nothing is better than roasted sweet potato, though it’s so sweet it hardly even seems to count as a vegetable.

  4. Growing up I hated asparagus (boiled mush!). Then I started roasting it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and now I eat it as much as possible!

  5. I thought I hated asparagus until my grannie showed up with some fresh asparagus and some plants for me last spring. I planted the transplants and left the stalks in the fridge. Eventually I got to feeling bad enough about not eating it (gifted food!) that I googled something like “best way cook asparagus”. New favourite vegetable. I keep passing it in the grocery store and hating the price. If the snow ever melts here I might see some from my own garden.

  6. OOooo! So glad you posted this! About 5 years ago I planted 10 asparagus plants and haven’t really harvested much as I keep getting busy and forget! As they are about to pop up here (my daffodills are 6″), I need to keep an eye out! Thank you for reminding me!!! And thanks for the recipe… an alternative to the bbq.
    All my plants will be transplanted this year~ any suggestion as to the best time to do this?

    • Sorry, we’ve never grown asparagus, so I can’t help you with your question. Our timing would be different, anyway, I think. Our daffodils are almost done with!

  7. Asparagus intimidates me. Some people serve it too woody and I cannot even eat it. I never know if the hard unchewable asparagus is because of the original state of the asparagus. So, I keep passing it by at the grocery. I discovered whole, canned asparagus stalks and do love those, except for the unchewable end. What is happening with the unchewable stalks? Picked too early? Too late?

    • Asparagus does get woodier as it gets older – but often woody asparagus on your plate is just because someone neglected to snap the ends off. Just find the point on the asparagus stalk where it easily snaps off; eat the top ends, compost the bottoms.

  8. Great tip!

    I often use the broiler to give a quick hit of caramelization without over-cooking. This is easier in ovens where the broiler element is in the same enclosure used for baking, but isn’t too difficult in most cases.

    I usually sautee my asparagus, but roasting sounds a lot easier. I’ll have to do that next winter.

  9. Can anyone help me grow asparagus? Its planted just over six months ago and looks like a furry plant?

    • Hi Lynne,

      I don’t think this is the best post to look for advice–I don’t think many people visit it, as it is old.

      I’ve never grown asparagus, but I do know that you don’t begin to harvest asparagus until the 3rd year (ie it needs to years to establish), so maybe you are just fine. I’d recommend some googling of “growing asparagus” for more details.

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