For me, two things really herald the beginning of Summer: Grilling and Asparagus! And when you combine the two? Heaven! Add a little fresh lemon and a toss a smidge of finely grated quality cheese over at the end and you’ll have a fun, “dressed” up Grilled Asparagus with Lemon & Parmesan with little to no effort at all.
So maybe you’ve tried to grill asparagus before? You know it can be a pain. It doesn’t grill right in the baskets and rolling it around forever of the grates until it’s done is a pain and sometimes the head (the best part) shrivels or singes off. So maybe you’re wondering when I say little effort?
About Grilled Asparagus with Lemon & Parmesan:
It’s because I’ve found the perfect answer to grilling Asparagus and having a lovely stalk that’s perfectly done and perfectly edible with a gorgeous head: I par-cook it. Perfectly. Ha. Just had to say perfect one more time, lol! The asparagus goes in the microwave for a short stint, but more on that below. For right now, I gotta tell you this is the best grilled asparagus, ever.
When you take that Asparagus off the grill, dress them with a good squeeze of lemon and a generous sprinkle of Parmesan. It’s heavenly. And so easy. You’ll end up with gorgeous slightly smoky Asparagus punctuated by the sharpness of the lemon and the richness of the Parmesan. My gosh, it’s so good!
I use this exact same method for one of my fave late Spring/early Summer salads, too, this Grilled Asparagus & Quinoa Salad. You might want to keep this little Microwave to Grill method in mind for any of your recipes that call for grilled asparagus. And once you cook your Asparagus this way, who knows, maybe there will be more grilled asparagus in your future.
Making Grilled Asparagus with Lemon & Parmesan:
So I par-cook the Asparagus, which is just pre-cooking it a little. It gives the Asparagus just enough of a head start to soften it a bit, then it’s ready to roll around on those grill grates (or spend a minute or two in a grill pan) to absorb all that subtle smokiness with little bother at all.
To par-cook, peel or snap off the ends of your asparagus, then pop your Asparagus in the microwave for three to four minutes. You’ll cook it standing up in a microwave-safe container (I like to use my pyrex measuring cup) and nuke it, not until it’s done, but just until it’s almost there. You’ll want to see my post on Asparagus Standing in the Microwave. It’s my fave way to do Asparagus and it turns out beautifully every single time. No mushy, mangled heads, no hard stalks. It’s a beautiful thing.
Then you’ll want to lay that asparagus out on an absorbent towel until dry (so this is a great do-ahead thing.) If you don’t’ have much time, just roll it across the towel a couple of times. When you’re ready to take whatever else you’re grilling off, put the asparagus on a dish, sprinkle with a little olive oil and salt and roll them right out onto the grill for a minute or two, perpendicular to the racks, of course. Nudge them around a bit for gorgeous grill marks.
Saving Money on Grilled Asparagus with Lemon & Parmesan:
Asparagus can be pricey – I tend to think, “Oh, look, asparagus is on sale” and buy it rather than think, “I’d like some asparagus tonight.” It’s often half price on sale in my area. I’ve noticed Aldi has great prices on Asparagus but in my area, the Aldi prices are usually higher than the grocery store sales price.
If you need just a bit of lemon juice, like for this recipe, “fork” it. Stab it with a fork and squeeze the juice out of the small holes, then wrap it and use it for something else, later. When picking out lemons, choose the heaviest, not the prettiest lemon. The heavier for the size, the more juice is inside. Sticking the lemon in the microwave for about 30 seconds will often let you coax out a bit more juice, and so will rolling it around on your counter with a good amount of pressure.
Look for your Parmesan at Aldi if you have one; your buyer’s club will have decent prices but usually, you’ll need to buy a larger package. Romano is often a little bit less than Parmesan and can be substituted. I think Romano is a bit more assertive. While the little packages of grated or shaved Parmesan might be handy, avoid them if you can. You’ll pay more per pound and the flavor is usually just not as good; they don’t last as long in the fridge, either.Print
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon & Parmesan
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: varies
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 to 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- salt and pepper to taste
Wash asparagus and either trim off the very end of each stalk and peel or snap off stems. Place stem end down in a microwave-safe container and add water to about two inches. Microwave on high for three to four minutes until just par-cooked. Softening but not completely done.
Remove and lay on an absorbent towel to dry. Roll asparagus across towel, gently, to speed up the drying process.
When ready to cook, place on a plate, drizzle with a little olive oil and place on a medium to medium-high grill for three or four minutes, turning or rolling as necessary.
Remove and squeeze lemon juice over the stalks, sprinkle with the cheese and use salt and pepper as desired.
Keywords: Asparagus, Lemon, parmesan
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