Have you ever had crispy grilled asparagus dusted in parmesan and asiago? If not, you need to try this grilled asparagus recipe. We are going to work through this simple, tasty recipe with eight easy steps. Along the way, we’ll talk about how to grill asparagus in foil and on the gas grill too! Let’s take a closer look.
This grilled asparagus recipe is gluten free, paleo, low carb, vegetarian and incredibly easy.
An awesomely easy grilled asparagus recipe.
A friend of mine, Erin, showed me how to make grilled asparagus about 15 years ago in New Jersey. Up to that point, I was boiling or steaming asparagus. She showed me how to wrap the asparagus in foil and add in some balsamic for a wonderful acidity that doesn’t overpower the asparagus flavor at all. I had never seen asparagus cooked like this before and I fell in love with my first bite.
All these years later, the grilled asparagus recipe is just about unchanged. When you find a simple recipe that just works, there is no need to change it. All I have done is add on some grated parmesan and asiago cheese as a finishing touch. It’s really good. Give this one a try.
How to make Grilled Asparagus in Foil
We are going to put the asparagus in foil for a couple reasons:
- We are going to add olive oil, balsamic and spices to the asparagus. The foil will keep everything contained.
- The asparagus will cook in the oil and develop some incredible flavor very quickly.
- We will eliminate flare-ups on the gas grill, giving the asparagus a chance to cook without being burned to a crisp or completely dried out.
- The foil pouch also builds some steam which will tenderize the asparagus while it is cooking.
If you have heavy-duty foil and prefer using that, go ahead. I used regular foil for this recipe but typically use the heavy duty stuff. One thing to keep in mind is that the heavy duty foil retains heat longer than the thinner stuff, so if you use your fingers to open the foil pouch on the grill just be careful.
How to Grill Asparagus on a Gas Grill
So we are going to start cooking the asparagus in foil on the gas grill. Some of the reasons are discussed in the previous section of this post. I have seen people skewer the asparagus into asparagus “rafts” that are grilled directly on the grill grate. To be honest, it looks like a lot of work to skewer all those asparagus. Bundling them in foil is just easier.
If you have a grill basket, you can use that as well. My suggestion is to NOT add the balsamic onto the asparagus in that case. There isn’t any moisture in a grill basket and the sugar in the balsamic will caramelize and burn before the asparagus is done cooking.
With the foil method, I always suggest that you add the packet with all the asparagus spears pointing in a perpendicular direction to the gas grill grates. This will provide enough support for the asparagus while it is cooking and now allow for any “valleys” to form in the foil. Asparagus that get stuck in a valley between the grill grates typically burn.
We want the spears to be perpendicular as well for when we open the foil pouch. Once you open the pouch (carefully to let the steam escape), I just grab the foil in one hand and push the asparagus off the foil with the other. If you are not comfortable doing this, use tongs for the same effect. You should have no asparagus loss to the grill gods either!
Lastly, with all the asparagus spears facing the same direction, when you go to flip them it is easy to see which have not been flipped yet. Sometimes it’s the simple things that make it easy.
QUICK COOKING TIP: There is a “woody” part of just about all asparagus. This part is chewy and fibrous, leading many people to not want to eat the bottom part of the asparagus. There are a couple ways to overcome this woody asparagus issue:
- Pick up the asparagus and bend it. Where it breaks is the end of the woody section. This works best in thin and medium-sized asparagus. You can do this for each asparagus individually, but I just estimate that for that particular bunch the woody part will end right about the same spot. I line up the TIPS of the asparagus and cut off the bottom part. Saves time and usually gets all the woody part off.
- For large, thick or white asparagus, you can use a vegetable peeler for the 3″ toward the base. This is labor intensive so I typically only do this with really large asparagus… which I also don’t buy very often just for this reason.
Let’s check out the eight steps to make this grilled asparagus recipe.
You’ll find a really easy, step-by-step guide on how to make grilled asparagus. You will be thrilled once you make this grilled asparagus recipe.
- 1 Bunch Asparagus (I use medium size asparagus for this recipe)
- 2 TBSP Olive Oil
- 1/2 TSP Kosher Salt (or 2 good pinches)
- 1/2 TSP Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 TSP Fresh Cracked Pepper
- 2-3 TBSP Grated Parmesan (more or less according to how much you like cheese)
Start your gas grill heating on high.
Find where to cut the asparagus by bending one and seeing where it breaks. Normally it is about 2″ from the base of the asparagus. We don’t want to eat this woody part. Once you have found about where the woody part ends, line all your asparagus up on the cutting board and chop off the amount equal to the part that broke off.
Take out some aluminum foil. Make it 2X as long as the asparagus plus about an inch. Lay the asparagus on top of the foil lengthwise.
Add the olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper.
Seal the foil as shown in the photographs.
Take the foil package out to the grill and lay on the grate with the asparagus perpendicular to the grill grates. Close the lid and allow to cook for 3 minutes on high. Reduce the heat to medium and keep cooking for another 2 minutes.
Carefully open the foil pouch- there is steam that has built up inside so it will be hot. The asparagus should be emerald green. If it looks good, open the pouch completely.
Using tongs, you can either pull the foil out from under the asparagus or grab the asparagus in bunches and lay right on the grill grate. Once all the asparagus are out of the foil, discard the foil and close the lid. Cook for 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 more.
Grab all the asparagus and place on a platter. Sprinkle with the grated parmesan.
Serve hot and happy eating.
There are a lot of variables in this recipe. The size of the asparagus will change how long it needs to cook. If you have very thin asparagus, cut down the cook time. Thicker asparagus, increase.
My grill gets exceptionally hot so my temperature settings will be different than yours. The key to this grilled asparagus recipe is listening and looking at the asparagus. It should be bubbling in the foil for before you open it, for about the whole cook time in the foil. What we are trying to avoid is scorching, which is why we are cooking it in foil to begin with.
** If you are going to make more than 1 bunch of grilled asparagus, it is best to make each bunch in its own foil pack. Adding more than 1 bunch adds too much moisture in the foil pack and makes the asparagus limp in the process.
Final thoughts on the Grilled Asparagus Recipe:
I’d like to thank Erin for showing me how to make this recipe. It’s been a long time and I’ve gotten a lot of mileage from this one. I think that we had lemon chicken with that meal 15 years ago. It was really good.
What to pair grilled asparagus with? Try it with pan seared pork chops or alongside some Lemon Artichoke Chicken. Asparagus and steak work great together as well. Give my Porterhouse Steak or Pan Seared Steak a try. Not into any of these? It pairs really well with fish too.
Whatever meal you make it with, I hope that you enjoy this simple grilled asparagus recipe.