Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan, Lemon and Garlic

by Shelley · May contain affiliate links

Published Updated February 15, 2024

~ This simple Grilled Asparagus recipe is easy and super flavorful! The perfectly crisp-tender spears cook on foil, right along with a speedy lemon-garlic “marinade” sauce. A sprinkling of parmesan is the perfect finishing touch. It’s a grilled side dish that pairs perfectly with practically any main course! ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Includes Make-Ahead Steps    Vegetarian (see note)    Gluten Free  

Overhead of grilled asparagus on rectangular platter with lemons and antique fork tucked in; parmesan nearby.

If your family’s like mine, then your grill gets a regular workout all year ’round … but especially during summer’s grilling season!

And when we’re already firing up the grill to make our main dish, it only makes sense to throw some veggies on, too. Why heat up the kitchen to cook a side dish on the stovetop or in the oven, when the grill is such a side dish rockstar?!?

So, of course, a Grilled Asparagus recipe had to happen!

You guys know by now that asparagus is my #1 go-to side dish choice, whether that means perfectly oven-roasted asparagus, ultra-fast air fryer asparagus … or this delicious recipe on the grill.

Asparagus is just so good with practically every main course I can think of, so I make it A LOT, in loads of different ways!

What You’ll Love About This Grilled Asparagus Recipe

It Saves Time!

What’s uniquely magical here is that the super-fast “marinade” or “sauce” cooks right along with the asparagus.

And unlike true marinades, you don’t have to waste time letting the asparagus rest in the sauce before cooking. Combine it all together, and head straight for the grill … with no waiting!

By the time you’re done grilling, the liquid has cooked down to practically nothing, infusing and sort of glazing the asparagus with wonderful flavor.

And, since you’re using a piece of aluminum foil to line your grill pan and keep the tasty marinade from dripping away, cleanup afterwards is a breeze, too. No need to scrub away at a sauce-encrusted grill pan!

Overhead closeup of top of serving platter heaped with cooked spears, on wooden board.

It’s Ohhhhh-Sooooo Good!

  • Your fresh-tasting, wonderfully crisp-tender asparagus develops some crispy tips and fabulous golden-brown spots. And it absolutely sings with …
  • A tangy, bright squeeze of lemon juice …
  • Plus a hint of roasty-toasty, savory garlic.
  • Then, you top it all off with a cascade of salty, savory parmesan cheese.

It’s truly delicious, yet also so very quick and simple! Just 5 minutes of prep, and then you let your grill do its thing. Easy!

And like I said, this Grilled Asparagus pairs so nicely with nearly any main dish. Super versatile. (I’ve got yummy suggestions for you toward the end of this article.)

Ok! Ready to get grillin’? Let’s do this!

How to Grill Asparagus

Ingredient Prep

  • Choosing Great Asparagus – I go into a lot more detail about this in my article on How to Buy Asparagus, but this recipe will be so much better if you purchase great asparagus to begin with.
Raw asparagus on cutting board with lemons, head of garlic and bowl of parmesan cheese.

Look for firm stalks, and skip bunches that feel soft or limp.

Check the tips to be sure they’re fresh-looking and tightly closed (not frizzled, dried out, or coming open).

Ingredient Tip: Quantity of Asparagus and Scaling This Recipe

I wrote this recipe for 2 pounds of asparagus, because that’s actually the right amount for my family of 4. (YES, we really LOVE this recipe, and 1 pound isn’t enough!)

Each bunch of asparagus is typically about a pound, although that can vary somewhat. But, in general, 2 standard-size bunches should equal roughly 2 pounds.

It’s very easy to cut the recipe in half, however, if you’d rather make only 1 pound. And, you can also scale it up for larger parties – although you may need to use a larger grill pan.

  • Trimming the Ends – To be honest, I typically just snap the tough ends off my asparagus. Quick and easy. Gently wiggle or slightly bend each asparagus spear near the bottom of the stalk, and it’ll naturally tend to snap at the right place.

If you want a more precision look, though, you can trim asparagus by cutting the ends off cleanly with a sharp knife instead.

Raw asparagus spears on wood cutting board, some with ends trimmed off by knife.

Even if you’re going the knife route, it’s still a good idea to snap at least a couple of the ends off with your hands first, so you can roughly gauge where most of the bunch will naturally need to be cut.

Once your perfectly selected asparagus is all trimmed, you’re ready to go!

Step #1

Preheat your grill to a medium-high heat.

While it’s preheating, cover a large grill pan or grill basket with heavy-duty aluminum foil. It’s sort of like a low, open foil packet.

The foil is super important to keep the marinade juices from falling through to the grill.

If your grill pan is totally flat (with no rim or sides), then create a little lip all the way around the edges by folding the foil up. Be sure there aren’t any holes where the yummy marinade can escape out of the pan and down through the hot grill grates!

Step #2

Spread your asparagus out across the grill pan.

Overhead of raw asparagus spread out on heavy duty foil on grill pan; bowl of marinade in background.

It’s all right if the spears overlap a little bit.

But you don’t want them to be piled several layers deep.

Step #3

In a small bowl, mix together your lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper.

Pour that delicious marinade sauce over your asparagus spears. Then give it all a toss, so the lemon sauce thoroughly coats all the spears.

Step #4

Grill your asparagus over medium-high, direct heat for about 15-20 minutes (or until it’s done to your liking).

Side view of tops of asparagus in pan on grill with steak cooking behind.

Flip or turn your spears in the marinade a few times, but otherwise leave the grill closed.

Technique Tip: Grilling Time

Remember that grill temperatures vary from one model of gas grill to the next (and certainly with charcoal grills). Also, this recipe can take different amounts of time to cook, depending on the thickness of the asparagus. So, use 15-20 minutes as a starting point for your cooking time, but be ready to adapt the timing a little and pull your asparagus off whenever yours happens to be perfectly done.

Step #5

After you remove your asparagus packet from the grill, drizzle it with any lemony marinade that happens to be left, and then toss it with your parmesan cheese.

Ingredient Swap

We’ve also made this recipe with Pecorino Romano. It’s a sheep’s milk cheese that’s somewhat similar to parm but often considered to be a bit more strongly flavored.

Do a quick taste test to check for seasoning, and adjust with a tiny bit more salt, if needed, to get your flavors really poppin’. Sometimes I find that I need another 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon of salt, but sometimes the asparagus doesn’t need it.

Tuck a few thin slices of lemon in amongst the spears, if you’d like, just to make your serving platter extra-pretty. Or sprinkle on a bit of lemon zest for extra tang and a finishing touch of enticing little yellow flecks.

And then, serve up that beautiful, flavorful, perfect grilled asparagus right away, while it’s still piping hot! Yum yum yum!

What to Serve with Your Grilled Asparagus

One of my family’s all-time most favorite grilled dinners is our Quick Flank Steak recipe, along with a packet of garlic-y Grilled Potatoes in Foil, and also this delicious asparagus. The whole meal comes together so easily, so perfectly … ALLLLLL on the grill!

Plated dinner of grilled asparagus, potatoes and steak with serving platter of asparagus nearby.

This easy side dish would also be perfect with our:

And, if you’re like me, you’re always thinking, “Hey … while the grill’s on, why don’t we just cook the whole darn meal outside???” So you’ll enjoy these ideas for additional sides, plus appetizers and desserts that you can grill along with this asparagus recipe. My family adores:

You can see the full lineup of our Favorite Grill Recipes HERE. Or click the button below to see even more grilling ideas and menu inspiration:

Make-Ahead Steps

So many times, the dinner hour is a blur as everyone dashes in the house after a busy day. You can shave some time off your evening prep by getting your asparagus all ready to go, earlier in the day!

Simply rinse the asparagus, and trim or snap off the woody ends.

Then, spread the spears out on your grill pan and cover it lightly with plastic wrap. Pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to add the marinade and fire up the grill at dinnertime.

Overhead closeup of asparagus and lemon slices sprinkled with parmesan cheese, still on pan after grilling.

You can also prepare the asparagus “marinade” earlier in the day or even the day before. Keep it in the fridge, too, and give it a stir right before you pour it over the asparagus and head for the grill.

So easy!

FAQs At-a-Glance

Can I Scale This Recipe Up or Down?

Definitely! As I mentioned above, I typically start with 2 pounds of asparagus for my family of 4, because we dearly love this tasty side dish recipe and I know 1 pound simply won’t be enough. But, it’s easy to cut the recipe in half to make only 1 pound of asparagus, if you prefer. Or, if you’re hosting a really big party, you can certainly increase the recipe. I do recommend, however, that you don’t heap the asparagus spears too high on top of each other (although it’s ok if they overlap a little). So if you’re making a larger batch, you may need to go with a larger grill pan.

What’s the Best Size of Asparagus for Grilling?

This is somewhat of a personal preference. And of course, sometimes you don’t have any control over whether your store has thin asparagus or thick asparagus spears available. But I definitely prefer medium-thin stalks for grilling, if I can get them, rather than really thick ones or super skinny ones.

How Do I Prepare Asparagus for Grilling?

People sometimes wonder if they need to parboil or blanch asparagus before proceeding with other cooking methods, like grilling. There’s no need for those types of extra cooking steps. Just rinse your asparagus and snap or trim away the woody ends, and it should be all ready to go!

Do I Peel Asparagus Before Grilling?

Nope! You shouldn’t need to do any peeling if you’ve bought fresh stalks of tender asparagus, and properly trimmed away the woody section at the bottom of the stalks. If you do end up purchasing overly tough asparagus, though, there’s no harm in using a vegetable peeler to remove any thick outer layer from the bottom inch or two of your spears after you’ve removed the woody ends.

How Much Does One Bunch of Asparagus Weigh?

There isn’t really a standard guideline for this, and it can vary from one grocery store to the next, or depending on the source. But, I’ve found that the fresh asparagus from my local store generally weighs in at about 1 pound per bunch (weighed before the tough, woody ends of the asparagus are removed).

What’s the Best Way to Store Raw Asparagus?

After a lot of testing, I’ve found that I get the best results by storing asparagus like a bouquet of flowers. Snap or cut off the dry ends (although, to be honest, I’ve been known to skip this step when I’m in a hurry). Then, stand your asparagus up in a wide-mouthed jar or drinking glass. Fill it with enough water to submerge the bottoms of all your asparagus spears. If you want to go a step further, you can tightly cover it in plastic wrap (don’t smash the delicate tips!). Store it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. I don’t remember where I first learned this trick, but it’s the same strategy used by experts at Food Network and The Kitchn.

Do I Have to Use Heavy-Duty Foil to Cover My Grill Pan?

If your grill pan has holes in it, you definitely have to cover it with a sheet of foil to prevent the marinade from escaping. You’re basically creating a rimmed, open foil pouch to keep all the liquid inside, so it cooks right along with your asparagus spears. Heavy-duty foil is best, since it’s less likely to tear when you stir and flip the spears during cooking. And, even if your pan doesn’t have holes, I still recommend covering it in foil to make cleanup easier.

So, next time you’re planning to grill some chicken or fish or a steak for dinner … toss together this oh-so-delicious, EASY grilled asparagus recipe along with it!

Closeup of Asparagus sprinkled with parmesan at edge of dinner plate with potatoes; fork nearby.

With such great, bright flavors and fantastic crisp-tender texture, it’s a family favorite, every time I make it for my own family. (Remember … that’s why I always have to make two pounds!)

And I just bet that it’ll be a hit with your family and friends, too. Happy grilling!

~ by Shelley

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Asparagus after grilling, served on platter with lemon slices and sprinkling of parmesan.

Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan, Lemon and Garlic

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

A family-favorite Grilled Asparagus recipe that's fantastic with practically any main dish you're throwing on the grill! I always start with 2 pounds of asparagus for my family of 4 (yep ... we love it THAT much), but it's easy to cut the recipe in half for just 1 pound, if you prefer.

  Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Includes Make-Ahead Steps    Vegetarian (see note)    Gluten Free  

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of asparagus (about 1 pound each before trimming), woody stems snapped/cut off
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese (grated or shredded)
  • extra pinch of salt to season, if needed
  • thin slices of lemon (optional) for garnish

Instructions

  1. Prepare and preheat the grill. Cover a large grill pan or grill basket with heavy-duty aluminum foil. (The foil is important to keep the marinade juices from falling through to the grill. If your grill pan doesn't have sides or a lip around the edge, then fold the piece of foil up slightly at the edges, so that the sauce can't escape.)
  2. Spread asparagus on the grill pan. (It's ok if the asparagus spears overlap a little.)
  3. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper. Pour over the asparagus spears and toss to coat the spears thoroughly.
  4. Grill asparagus in the marinade over medium-high heat for about 15-20 minutes (turning asparagus in the marinade occasionally), until it's done to your liking.
  5. Serve immediately, drizzling any remaining marinade left in the bottom of the grill basket (most will have cooked away), and tossing with parmesan cheese. Season with additional salt to taste, if needed (sometimes I sprinkle on another 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon, but sometimes it doesn't need it). Garnish, if desired, by tucking lemon slices amongst the spears.

Notes

Grilling: Remember that grills vary widely in temperature settings, so the settings and times you use may need to be adjusted according to your specific grill, the thickness of your asparagus spears, and how done you prefer your asparagus.

Parmesan cheese: To make this recipe truly vegetarian, be sure to select a parmesan cheese made with non-traditional enzyme alternatives from microbes or fermentation, rather than the traditional rennet.

Make-ahead steps: You can rinse your asparagus, cut/snap the woody ends, and spread it on your foil-lined grill pan earlier in the day. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until you're ready to grill. You can also prepare the marinade/sauce earlier in the day or the day before – cover and refrigerate until needed, and then stir again before pouring over the asparagus.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 58Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 134mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

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