Roasted asparagus has to be one of the easiest sides to make for dinner. They’re ready in 15 minutes and one of the few green veggies everyone likes to eat.
So go ahead and preheat the oven because this step-by-step recipe shows you how to roast asparagus for a simple and delicious side dish you can serve alongside your favorite main entreés.
With asparagus having so many nutritional and health benefits, you’ll want to keep this quick recipe for roasting in your back pocket.
How to Prep Asparagus for Roasting
It doesn’t take much to prep asparagus. Follow this easy two-step process:
- Gently rinse the asparagus under lukewarm water. Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.
- Break or cut off the woody (tougher ) ends of the asparagus spears.
Clean asparagus right before you plan to cook them, not when you get home from the store. Moisture will speed up the ripening process, resulting in them getting soggy, and going bad before you plan to cook.
How to Store Asparagus
If you plan on cooking the asparagus within a day or two from purchase, store the bunch in the vegetable drawer. If longer, keep the asparagus as you would fresh flower: trim the rough ends and place the bunch in a jar with an inch of water. Cover with a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Roasting Asparagus Step-By-Step
This green veggie can be steamed, grilled, and roasted; my preferred method. Fresh asparagus has a sweet flavor, which roasting further enhances; all you need is olive oil and salt. Herbs are optional. Here’s how to do it:
Preheat the oven to 425F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add your Seasoning
Add the asparagus to the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, black pepper, and your choice of spices and herbs.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the asparagus is cooked to your liking.
Remove from the oven and serve with something like this Bruschetta Chicken.
More of the visual type? Watch how it’s done in this video.
How to Select Asparagus
Asparagus comes in various shades of white, purple, and green. Since green asparagus is what we’re most familiar with cooking, I’m sticking to that for this recipe, but you can apply the same cooking directions to the other varieties.
Fresh asparagus should have a bright green color, firm to the touch, and the ends (tips) should be closed, with no “flowering.”
What Temperature to Roast Asparagus
A 425F oven is the sweet spot for roasting asparagus on their own. I’ll often add them to a sheet pan dinner with chicken or sliced sausage which are often roasted at 375F for longer periods.
Keep in mind that asparagus spears are thinner and more delicate than meat and other vegetables, which means they cook faster and need to be removed from the baking sheet before the rest of the ingredients are cooked.
How Long to Roast Asparagus
The roasting time depends on how you like your asparagus. If you prefer greener spears that are just cooked through, roast for 12 minutes, but for golden brown spears with crispy edges, they’ll need 15-20 minutes -depending on the oven temperature.
The width of the asparagus also affects the cooking time. Thinner spears will cook faster than thicker ones!
How to Know When it is Done
Similar to cooking time, asparagus is done whenever it reaches your preferred state. Bright green with a little snap in each bite? Or bronzed and tender? It’s completely up to you.
Keeping Roasted Asparagus from Getting Soggy or Mushy
The #1 culprit to soggy asparagus is overcooking. Vegetables continue to cook a few minutes after you’ve removed them from heat, which isn’t noticed when you eat them right away, but leftovers can often be stringy and mushy.
This can be avoided by removing the asparagus from the oven 2 minutes before you think they’re done or plunging them in an ice bath. The cold water shocks the asparagus, helps them retain a bright green color and disrupts the cooking process.
Keep in mind, the ice bath will remove some of the salt and seasoning added to the roasted asparagus, but it can be replaced by tossing the cooled spears with a pinch of seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil.
Spices for Roasted Asparagus
Speaking of, there’s more to roasted vegetables than salt and black pepper. Roasting is a good time to get creative with vegetables and your spice rack. Below are some ideas to add prior to roasting or just before serving:
- Parmesan: roast with olive oil + salt. Add shredded Parmesan cheese before serving
- Taco: roast with Olive oil + taco seasoning
- Italian: roast with minced garlic + Italian seasoning + olive oil
- Everything but the Bagel: roast with olive oil, lemon juice, Everything but the Bagel seasoning
- Greek: Chopped kalamata olives + feta cheese (before serving)
- Lemon Roasted: olive oil, lemon, salt + pepper