Lemon parmesan asparagus is a simple side dish with a fresh, light flavor - perfect for spring and summer! Ready in about ten minutes and made with only four ingredients.
What's the best way to eat more veggies? Find some quick and easy recipes that are filled with flavor! You're going to love this recipe for lemon parmesan asparagus.
The asparagus is lightly blanched, then tossed in melted butter with lemon zest and topped with parmesan cheese. Lemon zest adds a bright and fresh citrus flavor that's perfect for spring and summer.
Ingredients and substitutions
For this recipe, you'll need:
- Lemon zest
- Parmesan cheese - I highly recommend freshly grating your cheese from a block. Pre-shredded cheeses are often coated in anti-clumping powders that, when melted, can become grainy. Freshly shredded cheese adds the best flavor and texture.
- Unsalted butter - If using salted butter, reduce the salt by half.
- Salt & pepper
Can I use other vegetables?
Want to substitute the asparagus? This recipe is an easy way to add flavor to any cooked vegetables you have on hand. Try tossing steamed broccoli, cauliflower, or cooked green beans in this same lemon butter mixture for a quick and easy vegetable side dish.
Choosing your asparagus
Asparagus comes in many sizes, from pencil-thin to thick and woody. The ideal asparagus will fall somewhere in the middle - you're looking for medium sized asparagus stalks. This size is ideal for boiling and has a good amount of flavor.
Very thin asparagus is easy to overcook - I recommend using this size in a raw salad instead. Thick asparagus is best for oven roasting or grilling. Thick asparagus also has less flavor, so it's not ideal for boiling.
If you've never worked with asparagus before, it is very easy to prepare. An asparagus spear will have a harder, woody end, which needs to be trimmed before preparing.
To do so, hold the woody end of the asparagus between two fingers, and use the other hand to gently bend the asparagus spear, so that it snaps off where the woody part ends. This should be about 1-2 inches into your asparagus spear. This piece can be discarded.
Take care not to waste too much of your asparagus spear - it should not break halfway through. Between 1-2 inches is all that should break off.
Feel free to break each spear by hand if desired. For a quicker method, take note of where your first spear broke. Bundle the rest of your asparagus spears together and slice them with a knife in the same spot.
Lemon Parmesan Asparagus
- 1 pound asparagus
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- In a pan over high heat, bring salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare your asparagus for blanching. Gently bend each asparagus spear until it breaks naturally (or, bend one spear, take note of where it breaks naturally, and slice the remainder with a knife in the same spot). Discard the woody ends, then slice each spear into 1 to 2 inch pieces.
- Once water is boiling, add asparagus and blanch for 2-3 minutes (depending on thickness). Test with a fork for your desired firmness. Remove from heat immediately and drain.
- In a large bowl, add unsalted butter, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Add hot asparagus and allow butter to melt. Toss to coat.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
- Any cooked vegetables can be substituted for asparagus - skip to step three and toss vegetable of your choice in lemon butter mixture.
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese is best for this recipe. Store bought parmesan cheeses (in a canister) often contain anti-clumping powders, which causes a grainy texture when cheese melts.
- Cooked asparagus will keep for three days or more in a sealed container in the refrigerator.