It’s the side dish that always goes: Lemon Asparagus spears roasted with Parmesan, olive oil, and tangy lemon pepper seasoning. This is simple but pairs well with virtually any meal, takes just 10 minutes, and is so easy and hands-off to make.

Oval ceramic plate piled with roasted lemon asparagus served with Parmesan and extra lemon wedges.

I’ve tried making asparagus many different ways, but we always come back to this method! Roasting vegetables is hands-down my husband’s favorite, and I think the sprinkle of Parmesan goes a long way to making this palatable to even my kids. Plus I love that this:

  • Takes just 10 minutes.
  • Is fuss-free on prep. Chop, sprinkle, toss.
  • Requires minimal clean-up. One pan to scrub, or even line it with parchment if you like, and there’s literally nothing to wash.

Ready to give this humble veggie a try? Roasted lemon pepper asparagus is the way.

Let Asparagus Surprise You

Asparagus is, I think, an-oft maligned food. Perhaps you’ve had it prepared poorly, or simply don’t know a way to prepare it that makes you want to actually, you know, eat it. Fair enough.

However, if either of those applies to you, it’s time to learn a better way to make it. Not only is asparagus nutritious – packed with vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, plus folate, iron, copper, calcium, protein, and fiber – it also can be truly delicious. Plus it complements countless main dishes and is SO easy to prepare. All major wins for the home cook.

Also, asparagus is said to be an aphrodisiac. So, there’s a hidden bonus for you. 🙂

Ingredients & Substitutions

Labeled overhead image of asparagus spears, olive oil, lemon pepper seasoning,

Here are a few notes and shopping tips about what you’ll need, as well as possible substitutions. Full amounts are noted in the print-friendly recipe card below.

  • Asparagus. Pretty obvious!
  • Lemon pepper seasoning. This is a pre-mixed spice blend that usually contains dried lemon zest, black peppercorns, and salt. These three ingredients are typically crushed to enhance and emphasize the citrus and pepper flavors. Some brands also include garlic and onion powder; if so, it ought to be listed on the label.
  • Olive oil.
  • Parmesan cheese. Grated, shredded, or shaved Parmesan all work for this.
  • Kosher salt or fine sea salt.
  • Fresh lemon wedge. This is technically optional, because you’ll have plenty of citrus aroma and flavor from the lemon pepper seasoning, but a squeeze of fresh lemon juice does brighten up asparagus after roasting.

Related: Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken

How to buy the best asparagus?

When shopping, look closely at your asparagus bunch before buying. The asparagus tips should be compact and tightly closed, not droopy or damp. The stalks should appear bright green and feel firm. A purple tinge is OK. If the stalks are already soft or flopping over, the asparagus is over the hill and even roasting may not save it.

It can also help to purchase a bunch of asparagus that has individually spears that are pretty close to one another in size. This will help them to roast at the same rate.

What can I use in place of lemon pepper seasoning?

If you happen to have a fresh lemon, simply use a mix of lemon zest and black pepper – fresh-cranked if possible, but ground if needed. Be prepared to add additional salt to taste.

More Optional Extras

Craving more kick? Toss a pinch of red pepper flakes, sumac, or za’atar on your asparagus before or after roasting for an extra layer of flavor. I also sometimes like to toss the roasted asparagus with a few toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds for crunch.

How To Season Roasted Asparagus

It’s no secret that roasting veggies is a wonderful way to bring out their best flavor, not to mention a super simple and hands-off way to prep a side dish.

In fact, this is so simple, I almost hesitate to describe it as a recipe at all. But I always think back to my own process of learning to cook, and know that I’ve really relied on and benefited from reading “recipes” for even the simplest dishes. Because, well, if you don’t know how to make something, you don’t know!

All you really need to do to prepare asparagus this way is trim off the tough ends. It’s even possible that your asparagus, if packaged, is “pre-trimmed” – look at the label.

Spread the trimmed spears out on a large, rimmed baking sheet. You want them to be mostly in a single layer for even, quick roasting. Drizzle olive oil, lemon pepper seasoning, and salt on top. Give everything a quick toss with kitchen tongs or with your hands, then roast at 400 degrees F for about 8 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender.

Sheet pan filled with asparagus ready to roast.

Remove the baking sheet and turn your oven to broil. Sprinkle the asparagus with a dusting of Parmesan, then return to the oven to broil for just 1-2 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the asparagus is slightly crisp on the ends.

Add a last squeeze of lemon juice if you like, and more salt to taste. That’s all there is to it!

Pro Tip

Try grilling this lemon asparagus instead! Simply prepare on a sheet pan as directed, then grill over high heat for 6-8 minutes. Add Parmesan near the end of the cooking time and continue to grill until melted and tender.

Recipe FAQs & Expert Tips

When is asparagus in season?

The prime season for asparagus is the spring, with peak months of April and May, so that is when you can expect to find the freshest and most plentiful bundles popping up in stores and farmers markets. That said, it’s grown throughout the United States and is typically available year-round.

Is it better to snap or cut asparagus?

Although conventional wisdom holds that you can simply hold an asparagus spear by the end and easily snap off the tough, woody ends, I have not personally found this method ideal. The snaps are not always clean, and also I often get a lot of waste, because the spears don’t easily “snap” until midway or higher up.

I was gratified, therefore, to read last year in Southern Living that the best way to cut asparagus is, indeed, with your knife. I usually just make a good guess based on the thickness and toughness of the spears, which usually means discarding anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of the large ends.

An added bonus: cutting is faster! 🙂

Which tastes better: thin or thick asparagus?

Thick vs. thin asparagus is really a matter of personal preference. One is not naturally or always better in taste or texture. Just keep in mind that thicker asparagus spears will take a bit longer to roast (9-11 minutes) and extremely thin spears will take less time (possibly less than 8 minutes).

Close up of lemon asparagus roasted and served on a white platter.

Related Recipes

This is one of my favorite sides to pair with lemon thyme chicken, lemon chicken pasta, or a simple creamy tomato pasta. It’s also great with garlic butter shrimp or really any other seafood.

Love the ease and taste of vegetable sides made in the oven? Me too! Roasted baby carrots, roasted garlicky green beans, and roasted broccolini are some of our favorites.

Interested in more uses for asparagus? This lemon asparagus shrimp pasta is a perennial favorite, and I love this chicken asparagus stir fry for a change of pace.

If you try this Roasted Lemon Asparagus recipe, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.

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5 from 10 votes

Roasted Lemon Pepper Asparagus

One of the simplest and most delicious ways to prep a green veggie side.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch (about 1 lb or 500 grams) green asparagus
  • 1-2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese grated, shredded, or shaved

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C). Trim asparagus by cutting off the thick, woody ends with a sharp chef's knife.
    1 bunch (about 1 lb or 500 grams) green asparagus
  • Spread asparagus stalks on a large baking sheet in a single even layer. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle evenly lemon pepper seasoning and salt. Toss quickly to combine.
    1-2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
  • Roast for about 8 minutes, until the asparagus spears are tender enough to be pierced with a fork.
  • Remove the baking sheet and turn your oven to broil. Sprinkle the asparagus with Parmesan, then return to the oven to broil for just 1-2 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the asparagus is slightly crisp on the ends. Serve and enjoy!
    2-3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Notes

  1. For extra-easy clean-up, line the baking sheet with parchment paper before preparing asparagus. And voila: zero dishes to wash!

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 65 kcal, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Protein: 3 g, Fat: 4 g, Cholesterol: 2 mg, Sodium: 331 mg, Potassium: 229 mg, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 2 g, Vitamin A: 880 IU, Vitamin C: 6.4 mg, Calcium: 55 mg, Iron: 2.5 mg
Did you make this recipe?Leave a review below, then snap a quick picture and tag @nourishandfete on Instagram so I can see it!

This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been updated with new photos and more helpful information on how to shop for and prepare asparagus spears.