Quick and easy asparagus recipe! How to cook asparagus spears perfectly, dress with olive oil, Parmesan, and lemon zest.

  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 bunch of medium sized asparagus, about 1 lb
  • 2 Tbsp of the most exquisite extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese (omit if cooking vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 Heat blanching water: Fill a medium saucepan halfway with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil.

2 Prep the asparagus: While the water is heating, prepare the asparagus. Rinse them thoroughly; break off any tough, white bottoms and discard.

Cut the spears into 1 to 2 inch sections, slicing the asparagus at a slight diagonal.

3 Blanch the asparagus: Add the asparagus to the boiling water and lower the heat slightly to maintain a simmer. Parboil the asparagus for exactly 2 minutes.

4 Toss with olive oil, Parmesan, lemon zest: Drain the hot water. While the asparagus are still hot, toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, Parmesan, and lemon zest.

Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or room temperature.

Note that when you are working with so few ingredients, it's important to make sure they are of the highest quality.

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  • [email protected]

    Excellent method for asparagus — easier than stir-frying or grilling! 2 minutes cooking time is just PERFECT, and this is great served right away, or served at room temperature. Thank you so much for another winner from your kitchen !

  • Sharon Reeve

    This is my go-to vegetable recipe. I use organic ingredients. The raw milk parmesan at Trader Joe’s is excellent for this too. I also make it with broccoli and it is just as delicious! You are right, about using the best quality extra virgin olive oil with the richest flavor. Thank you.

  • Adam

    Awesome recipe. I just paired it with salad and steak – best. asparagus. ever.

  • Sarah

    I just finished eating this. Wow. It tastes so good and yet so simple to make! I also added pre cooked bacon to it. So good and easy

  • TCN

    I used this recipe last night and it was awsome. Definately, the best asparagus I’ve ever made and clean up was a lot easier than cooking with other methods.

  • Jennifer

    I made your recipe (which was perfect!) and then I added pre cooked bacon (broken into large pieces and sprinked throughout) to it. I covered and baked it at 350 degrees for 15 minutes! Very Yummy!

  • Broderick

    I love this recipe and have used it a number of times now with a variety of different cheeses. So easy to adapt and commit to memory

  • NoRecipeRequired

    I loved this recipe and this time of year I am always looking for asparagus recipes. Also loved you comments about cooking to taste…truer words were never spoken. I’ve been working on an asparagus recipe with gnocchi and bacon, which I just posted on NoRecipeRequired…thought you might enjoy it.

  • Charla

    Very similar to the way I prepare asparagus. I love to add capers to the lemon zest, olive oil and parmesan cheese then toss in the asparagus.

  • Joan K.

    Such an easy & delicious way to prepare perfect asparagus. As an avid farmer’s market shopper, we eat what is in season and it is always nice to have another variation in preparing asparagus. I often oven roast or grill but I really like this.

  • Dottie

    I just tired this tonight for the first time. I wish I would have made more. It’s wonderful! Of course all your recipes are wonderful. Thanks so much!

  • Dana

    An easy recipe that is wonderful! Anyone can make this and it tastes delicious. I wish that I would have made an extra batch for a healthy snack. Next time I may add sliced toasted almonds as I’ve put in asparagus in the past. Thanks for posting the recipe!

  • Garana

    Simple and delicious. My entire family now looks forward to asparagus!

  • Nancy

    Great fast easy recipe. I usually like my asparagus grilled or roasted and not steamed or boiled, but this parboil is the happy medium. I learned that depending on the cooking method either wet or dry, it brings out a different flavor compound in asparagus. Have you heard of this before?

    Well I know when you roast asparagus, that definitely brings out new flavors. ~Elise

  • Linda F

    Just made this for a South Beach lunch for my husband and myself. It was not only easy, but fabulous. Will no doubt enjoy this very often as we embark on our weight loss program!

    And BTW, for the most outstanding flavor be sure to use lemon ZEST as called for in the recipe. (Not juice.)

    Thanks Elise.

  • Priya

    I tried the recipe with balsamic vinegar and increased cooking time by 1 min (since my asparagus were not thin) as suggested by the readers and it turned out very tasty.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  • Tell

    Really simple and delicious. If you can’t find young thin asparagus, add a minute or two to the cooking time.

  • Brianna

    Would this work with frozen asparagus? What would I need to do differently? Thanks!

    I have yet to cook with frozen asparagus, so don’t know what to tell you. ~Elise

  • Serge

    I love asparagus and may I just mentione that it goes very well with balsamic vinegar (instead of the lemon zest you suggest).

  • Sarah

    This was extremely easy and extremely tasty. The asparagus was still a bit crunchy, which is how we like it, and the flavor was outstanding. I used Bertolli olive oil and the kraft pre-shredded parmesan and it was great!! Our guests raved about it and their 7 year old son even like it!! We paired it with salmon and garlic mashed potatoes.

  • Barbara

    The recipe was quite simple, I think I added too much lemon juice, next time I use lemon pepper.

  • Cory Kayser

    This is the best asparagus recipe! My husband does not usually like asparagus but loves this recipe.

  • Kayla

    I found this recipe a few months back and tried it, and I can’t wait to make it again tonight! :)

  • Judy Hart

    The asparagus were easy to make and tasted so good. The lemon zest just added a zing that was wonderful. Will definitely make again.

  • chris

    I have followed this recipe several times now and it just gets better every time! thank you for posting this!

  • Kelly

    This has become a favorite in my house! So simple and so delicious!! Thanks, Elise.

  • Nick

    I am not much of a cook and my wife is very paticular about how she likes her veggies. I made this recipie and she loved it (as did I). Thanks!

  • Stacia

    I don’t know why I’ve never commented on this entry, but this is one of my favorite ways to fix asparagus! Sadly I don’t have access to really exquisite olive oil, but have found the Colevita in the tin tastes fine. The only change I sometimes make is using shredded asiago instead of Parmesan, but that’s just if I have a chunk of asiago sitting around in the fridge.

  • amy

    I found some beautiful asparagus at Trader Joe’s and used a very slight amount of organic lemon juice because I didn’t have a fresh lemon around. Turned out wonderful.
    Even my 4 year old loves this one. My asparagus phobia husband will eat it. Great side dish!

  • tastyeatsathome

    I tried this recipe a while ago (in fact, it was my first encounter on your blog) as I was looking for a unique way to present asparagus as a side dish. It was Mother’s Day, so everything had to be extra-special for Mom! This asparagus was sooo delicious. I loved the parmesan and lemon. Will definitely make this again!

  • Sara

    Wow! Just had this and it was soooo good!

  • Michele

    This was wonderful! My entire family loved it, even my son who usually dislikes asparagus. Thank you!

  • naomi

    so yummy, I’m eating it right now! two minutes is the perfect cooking time to keep it crunchy, and the parmesean and lemon give it a nice zip.

  • amanda

    So easy and so tasty! The asparagus was cooked to perfection. I will use this recipe again for sure

  • lorri hayes

    This was the perfect spring side dish! We just loved it very fresh

  • Seven

    Made this last night, and it was perfect. My new favourite. Even my husband said it was ‘actually edible’ – a huge compliment from a non-asparagus guy. We only ate about half of it, so I used the leftovers tonight in your Smoked Salmon Pasta (in place of the fish – I didn’t have any) and that recipe also turned out delicious.

  • Mary Russell

    Thank Heavens! My family is simply not into vegetables except me! However, I found a vegetable they actually fight over! Keep them comming! Delicious!

  • Walter

    Very yummy recipe! As a single dad, it’s great to find such an easy, quick, delicious, and healthy side dish. Thanks

  • atom prober

    Thanks–this was a great side dish for my birthday meal this weekend. I seared some Wagyu prime rib and made you perfect mashed potatoes and had a bottle of Shiraz.

    I usually prefer to broil asparagus, but I wanted to parboil or steam it, so that I could reuse the water, pot, and stovetop from the potatoes. This was easily the best boiled asparagus I’ve had; the parmesan was nice and subtle & my girlfriend didn’t even realize it was there. She loved the lemon too (and I always use some when I broil or grill asparagus).

  • Janet

    Yum, thanks for this recipe. I used white truffle oil, imported parmesan, and a meyer lemon from my yard. It’s so simple and fresh and delicious.

  • shannon

    i have tried this recipe. it also works well with natural slivered almonds and basil.

  • Mariya

    I was looking for an easy asparagus recipe for a long time. Now I think I found the best one. I managed to surprise a lot of my friends with the unusual heavenly taste. Thank you!

  • barrie allen

    Perfect and delicious………….loved it and way way easy!

  • Nelson

    So simple, yet so delicious. Thank you for the recipe!

  • upasana

    Dear Elise,

    I tried this recipe twice and it tasted absolutely wonderful!!it was sooo easy to make. The second time I made it as accompaniment to our barbequed pork and chicken at the beach…everybody loved it!!

  • susan

    This was amazing! Perfectly light and delicious.

  • Sachin Kundra

    This was great! I made it for dinner last night and then got the bright idea to throw it into some pasta and cheese…WOW to say the least.

    Thank you so much for the post!

  • julie

    Is there an optimal time to cook Asparagus, before using in a tart? Just curious as to how to perfect my normal tart…Thanks!

  • keiko

    Hi Elise – such beautiful asparagus, I like adding a little balsamic too. I can’t wait to go for PYO at nearby farms, it’s one of my favourite vegetables…

  • Helen

    Hi Elise,

    It’s funny, I made almost exactly the same dish this weekend :) The only thing I do differently is shock asparagus in ice-water after boiling it. Isn’t it the most awesome spring dish! I guess great minds do think alike ;)


  • Erin

    I had this at Kalyn’s house, the other night, it was, by far, the best asparagus I’ve had. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Rita

    I oven bake my asparagus with a mixture olive oil, crushed fresh garlic, salt, cracked black pepper and a little balsamic vinegar (using a large ziplock bag to coat the asparagus makes it easier). Spread it out on a baking sheet and bake it at 350 for about 20 minutes or until it’s to the doneness you prefer. It’s so yummy, I could just eat that for dinner. I have a fresh bunch in the fridge for tonight. This same recipe is good for any fresh veggies you like. You can also throw in some fresh chopped herbs of your choice too. It’s fun to experiment.

  • Janni

    Lauren: How long do you bake the bacon wrapped asparagus? I tried this last night with blanched green beans and by the time the bacon got done, the tips of the green beans had transformed into dark, wizened tips. Not good. I even nuked the bacon for 1 minute before wrapping.

  • Brad

    I’ll have to try this. Aspsaragus is my favorite vegetable. One way that I like to cook it is to rub the spears down with oil and lightly salt and pepper them. Then, take about three spears and bundle them up with a slice of bacon. You could spiral wrap the bacon down the length of the spears, or wrap the bacon around the middle and tie it in a knot (this is typically what I do). Bake @ 350 until the bacon is cooked through. The flavor that the bacon fat imparts to the asparagus is out of this world. Then again, bacon fat gives just about anything an out of this world flavor. :)

  • Sheeijan

    I just made this a few minutes ago – I’m sitting here enjoying it right now! It’s lovely. It tastes so fresh, it’s a wonderful summer recipe. The asparagus I had bought was pretty young and therefore thin, so I ended up using about 2 lbs. I liked it with a more subtle lemon and Parmesan cheese flavor anyway.