Roasted Asparagus with Lemon and Olive Oil

1 lb fresh asparagus
1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil. Drizzle the olive oil in the middle of the sheet. Break of any tough bottoms on the asparagus*. Place on the baking sheet and roll them around in the oil. Sprinkle with the kosher salt. Zest a lemon over the asparagus. Bake about 6 minutes or until the spears are bright green and tender, but not browned**. Serve immediately.

*An easy way to do this: hold an end in each hand. Bend the spear gently from the bottom, and the tough part will break right off where it meets the edible part.
**I like to take them out of the oven before the asparagus browns so avoid them drying out the tiniest bit. You can leave them in there longer but I don’t think they are a vegetable (at least not when served on their own) that benefits from any sort of carmelization.

My thoughts:

This is my absolute favorite way to eat asparagus. If you fed it even to a hardened asparagus critic, I bet they’d love it. The asparagus is so bright, tender, crisp and the flavors are clear and simple. It is like Spring on a plate. To make it even easier, they are sort of self-saucing, their juices, the lemon zest, salt and olive oil mingle together while baking to form a light sauce that clings to the spears when you remove them from the pan.


  1. I prepare my asparagus in a similar fashion, except I pan sautee. I will have to try your method and compare results.

  2. AmenamenamenAMEN! I LOVE asparagus cooked this way. Absolutely the best.

  3. asparagus can benefit from carmelization! when we grill it ouside we let the tops get nice and crispy and they takes on a much deeper flavor. mmmm.
    long time reader of your blog – love it!


  4. Lisa: Oddly, I like the asparagus a little more well done when it is cooked with other vegetables, but alone, I like it unbrowned.

  5. This is actually very similar to how we eat it in our home. I cook it almost twice as long and I go one step furthern. I take a peeler to the base of the asparagus and take off hat layer of skin. It makes them even more tender.

  6. I followed your link from the ‘recipes to share’ group on flickr. What a beautiful blog!

  7. My favorite way to eat it too.

  8. Susan from Food Blogga

    I love the freshness of lemon on asparagus. Sometimes I add some toasted breadcrumbs too.

  9. I LOVE roasted asparagus. I’m not a big lemon fan though> I usually make mine with a balsamic butter sauce.

  10. lovely and simple recipe. some of the best ways to eat food are simple prep with little added to it.
    love this recipe.
    i actually prepare many veggies in this fashion…string beans and brussels are my fave aside from asparagus. i think if you get asparagus “off season” then it might benefit to carmalize it.. but fresh spring asparagus deserves to be served in this fashion

    thank you rachel!

  11. I love this too – though, like Lisa, we do it on the grill!

  12. Our local Harris Teeter had asparagus (the nice pencil thin ones) on special and I can’t wait to try this method of cooking it! One of my favorite comfort foods (and a quick and light lunch or dinner) is creamed asparagus on toast.

  13. Thank you. I have been lurking for awhile and made these on Sunday. They were wonderful and welcomed, even the non-asparagus eaters enjoyed.

  14. I didn’t think I liked asparagus until I had it pan roasted (and then later roasted in the oven). My step mom always steamed asparagus which I think makes it taste similar to lima beans which I don’t like. The only reason I tried it this way was because I was having dinner at my inlaws and this was the only veggie my MIL served.

  15. I love roasting asparagus as well, and I’ve become addicted to adding dried tarragon to the olive oil before roasting, and squeezing lemon on after. SO GOOD.