Lemon Asparagus – Easy lemon asparagus seasoned with fresh lemon & other delicious flavors. You’ll love this simple healthy side dish! (Vegan, Paleo, Whole30)
I genuinely enjoy vegetables, but also sometimes they’re just. so. boring. when I get stuck in a rut!
Thank goodness for vibrant salads, and seasoning mixes, and quick flavor tricks to mix things up! Now that spring’s here, asparagus is back in season and at its best. We took a flavor cue from our Lemon Shrimp & Asparagus Skillet and dressed this green veggie up with some MAJOR flavor.
It cooks in 10 minutes or less and tastes amazing. The perfect way to break out of a veggie rut!
Here’s all you need to get started on this easy lemon asparagus recipe…
Here’s What Goes Into Our Easy Lemon Asparagus Recipe:
- Fresh Asparagus. Asparagus is in season in the spring until about June in the United States, so spring and summer are the best time to make this asparagus side dish! I prefer thinner stalks to thicker ones when I have the choice, but use what you can find!
- Olive Oil. Next up, to cook your asparagus, you’ll need a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (or butter, if you prefer!).
- Fresh Lemon Zest & Juice. That vibrant, sunny citrus flavor comes from using both lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Salt & Pepper. Critical for perfectly seasoned asparagus. I like layering the flavor by adding a small pinch while I cook the asparagus, then another pinch to finish the dish.
- Red Pepper Flakes. A tiny pinch adds warmth without adding too much heat. If you like yours spicy, feel free to add extra red pepper flakes!
- Optional Extras: Then, you can play with the flavor a bit by adding extras, like a clove of garlic or some Parmesan cheese or vegan Parmesan cheese.
How To Make Easy Lemon Asparagus, Step By Step:
- TRIM YOUR ASPARAGUS. Start by trimming your asparagus stalks. Look for the place on each stalk where the green turns to white or purple. (The white/purple part is the woody end) Use a sharp knife to trim the woody end off of each stalk and discard. (You can line up several stalks at a time to make things easy!)
- CUT INTO 1-2″ PIECES. Cut the trimmed asparagus into small, bite-sized pieces. We usually cut ours in 1-2″ lengths.
- HEAT YOUR OIL & COOK THE ASPARAGUS. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the cut asparagus with a pinch of salt and pepper, and sauté, stirring regularly. Cook 5-8 minutes or so, until the asparagus is vibrant green and crisp-tender. The exact amount of time will vary based on how thick your asparagus is–thicker asparagus takes longer to cook than thinner asparagus.)
- SEASON & FLAVOR. Turn off the heat and stir in a clove of garlic (if using), the red pepper flakes (if using), and 1-2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice.
- GARNISH & ADJUST TO TASTE. Finish the asparagus with the fresh lemon zest, and another sprinkle of salt and pepper.
TO SNAP OR TO CUT? Some folks prefer to bend their asparagus stalks until they snap, saying that they tend to naturally snap at the woody end. This works, but in lately we’ve taken to trimming our asparagus with a knife instead for more accuracy & speed. Use whichever method works best for you!
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Lemon Asparagus:
The Best Way To Store Asparagus: To help your asparagus stay fresh in the refrigerator longer, store it upright in jars of water like flowers in your refrigerator. The water will keep the stalks fresh and hydrated, so they don’t wilt!
Zest The Lemon Before Squeezing Out The Juice. Although you’ll use the lemon juice first in the recipe, I recommend zesting your lemon BEFORE you squeeze out the juice. It’s easier to zest a whole lemon, which means you’ll get more zest and reduce your risk of getting scraped or cut. Just set the zest aside till you’re ready to use it!
Our Favorite Olive Oil. We’re big fans of the olive oil at Queen Creek Olive Mill (not sponsored!)Their balanced olive oil is our go-to everyday olive oil, but we also love their flavored oils for salads, dressings, and finishing dishes. Their Meyer Lemon oil is lovely here!
Serving Ideas. Serve this lemon asparagus next to a hearty main dish, like Gluten-Free Pot Roast, something light like salmon. Pair it with eggs or an avocado toast recipe for brunch, toss it into a quiche, and more!
Variation: Try Roasting Or Air Frying The Asparagus!
One variation I make on a regular basis is roasting or air-frying this lemon asparagus. I set my oven or air fryer to 400 degrees and roast or air fry in a single layer for 15-20 minutes, turning the asparagus halfway through the cook time for even browning. Then finish the asparagus with lemon juice, lemon zest, etc. as directed. Easy-peasy!