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Classic roasted asparagus is a side fit for nearly any meal.

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Credit: Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Recipe Summary

active:
10 mins
cook:
10 mins
total:
20 mins
Yield:
Serves 8 to 10
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Looking for a quick-and-easy, oh-so delicious side dish? The search is over. Oven-roasted asparagus with slivered almonds pairs beautifully with a variety of main dishes, and it's one of those go-to vegetable recipes that even the kids will enjoy!

Want to know the best part? It takes little to no effort. Simply trim the ends of the asparagus, season, and pop the crispy green veggie in the oven. Just like that, you'll have a go-to side dish for your holiday celebration or weeknight supper. Of course, one side dish is never enough, so be sure to check out some of our other favorite party side dishes.

All About Asparagus 

Everything you need to know about asparagus before you start cooking. 

How Asparagus Grows

Oddly enough, asparagus is a member of the lily family. It grows extremely quickly, as much as six to ten inches in one day, and has to be harvested the day it sprouts from the ground. Stalks can reach several feet high if left to grow, but become so tough, they're inedible. 

Through Thick and Thin

Not all spears of asparagus are created equal. Thin spears are typically younger, with a more mild and fresh flavor, while thicker spears, which were left to grow longer, have a stronger asparagus flavor. Both are delicious. Just stay consistent with what you buy to cook, because cooking with some thick and others that are thin will make it hard to cook all the asparagus evenly. 

Types of Asparagus

You're probably familiar with green asparagus, but the veggie can be found in grocery stores and farmers markets in two other common varieties, purple and white. White asparagus is covered with dirt while growing to prevent it from developing its green color. This results in a much more mild flavored asparagus that is sweeter and less grassy tasting.

Purple asparagus is nuttier and also tastes sweeter than its green sibling. While the stalks are purple on the outside, the interior is the same as green asparagus. 

How to Store Fresh Asparagus 

Not unlike herbs, it's best to store asparagus standing up in a cup of water in the fridge until ready to cook. Makes sure to trim the ends first and cover the upright spears loosely with a plastic bag.

Best practice is to use asparagus soon after buying, as the sugars naturally found in the stalk will migrate to the ends and can make the spears tough and stringy, but the water glass technique can make fresh asparagus last three to five days. Want to store it for longer? Try freezing it. 

When Is Asparagus Season?

Asparagus is best (and cheapest) when in season. It's a spring veggie and ready to harvest from February through June with peak months in April and May. 

How to Trim Asparagus 

The ends of asparagus need to be trimmed before cooking because they are tough and woody. The 'snapping' method you've probably been taught isn't really the best way to go about it. Instead, try lining up all of the spears on a cutting board and slicing off the ends all at once, cutting where the stalks turn from white into green. It's not always necessary to trim asparagus, for example super fresh, pencil-thin stalks are fairly tender throughout, but generally it's a good step to do in order to avoid chewing on inedible ends. 

trimmed asparagus on a cutting board
Credit: Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Ingredients for Oven-Roasted Asparagus

This side requires only a handful of ingredients, most of which are pantry staples. Of course you'll need asparagus, as well as olive oil, garlic, slivered almonds, salt, and pepper. 

ingredients for roasted asparagus
Credit: Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

How to Make Oven-Roasted Asparagus

Making roasted asparagus is just three simple steps:

Step 1. Wash and Trim

Wash and trim the tough ends of the asparagus. 

Step 2. Season 

Place the asparagus on a lightly greased baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, to evenly coat. 

raw asparagus on a baking pan ready to be roasted
Credit: Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Step 3. Roast

Roast the asparagus at 350°F for 10 minutes or to desired degree of tenderness. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with almonds.

roasted asparagus on baking tray
Credit: Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Other Seasonings for Oven-Roasted Asparagus

Ginger, soy, and sesame seeds are delicious ingredients to season the roasted asparagus with, or you could try wrapping the asparagus in bacon before it hits the oven. A touch of lemon juice or a sprinkle of any tender herbs after the asparagus comes out of the oven is another delicious way to finish the dish instead of adding almonds. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I soak asparagus before roasting?

No need! Give them a good rinse to get rid of any dirt, trim, and roast. It's that easy. 

Should I blanch asparagus before roasting?

While blanching is a great technique to use before adding asparagus to a salad or stir-fry, it's not necessary to do before roasting.

Should I peel asparagus before roasting?

No, unless you're working with very old or tough asparagus. It's an old-school technique for removing the fibrous outer layer of the spears. If you do peel your asparagus, note that it will cook faster. 

Why is my roasted asparagus mushy?

You're overcooking it. Asparagus cooks fairly quickly, so take it out of the oven a minute or so before you think it's done to avoid a mushy mess.  You can always test how tender it is by poking it with a fork; it should have just a slight resistance. 

Editorial Contributions by: Alana Al-Hatlani.

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus; place asparagus on a lightly greased baking sheet. Drizzle evenly with olive oil; sprinkle evenly with garlic, salt, and pepper.

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  • Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or to desired degree of tenderness. Transfer asparagus to a serving dish; sprinkle with almonds.

Tips

For a more roasted texture, roast the asparagus at 400°F for 8 minutes.

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