Simple Roasted Asparagus

If you’ve ever taken a bite of raw asparagus, you know it’s naturally a bit bitter. High-heat roasting coaxes out the vegetable’s sweet, earthy undertones and tames its natural bitterness. Roasting is also the easiest way to prepare asparagus – you only need four simple ingredients, a sheet pan, and 15 minutes of time. The key is to use the thickest asparagus spears you can find and don’t overcook them. When cooked properly, the spears won’t take on much color, but the leafy ends will get soak up the olive oil and become slightly caramelized and crispy. Roasted asparagus is good plain, but if you want to dress it up, sprinkle it with lemon zest or freshly grated Parmesan cheese. One bunch of asparagus is perfect for 4 people; the recipe can easily be doubled and the cook time will be the same.

What You’ll Need To Make Roasted Asparagus

roasted asparagus ingredients

When selecting asparagus for roasting, make sure to choose thick spears; the thin ones can overcook quickly and become limp. If you’re only able to find thin spears, consider making a raw asparagus salad instead. In terms of freshness, look for stalks that are firm to the touch and have tips that are tightly closed.

If you’re not preparing the asparagus for a few days, when you get home from the supermarket, put it in a drinking glass or jar that has about an inch of water in it, then place a plastic bag over top (no need to seal the bag).

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by trimming the tough ends off of the asparagus. I think it’s easiest keep the spears in their rubber band bundle and cut off the ends with a knife. If you’re not sure where to cut, grab one spear and bend the stalk until it snaps; it will naturally snap where the stalk starts to get woody.

cutting ends off of asparagus spears

Make sure to dry the asparagus thoroughly before cooking; if the asparagus is wet, it will steam instead of roast.

Preheat the oven to 425°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place the asparagus spears on the prepared pan, drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Shake the pan to coat the asparagus evenly.

asparagus tossed with oil and seasoning

Roast the asparagus until crisp-tender, about 6 to 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus.

roasted asparagus

Transfer the asparagus to a platter and serve.

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