Get Your Grill On: Vegetarian Style With Asparagus

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April 23, 2013

With Spring well underway you are probably considering, if you haven’t already, breaking out the grill. There is nothing that solidifies the beautiful weather more than a freshly grilled meal. But that doesn’t mean you have to stick to hamburgers, hot dogs, or steaks. In fact, there are a number of fantastic vegetarian meals that can be prepared on the grill.

One of my favorite things to grill is asparagus. Asparagus is simple, tasty, and perfect for adding a little elegance to your grilled meal.

Prep Your Asparagus

The first step to awesome grilled asparagus is ensuring you are cooking the right portion of the asparagus. The tips have a different distinct flavor than the stalk. You can technically grill the entire stalk of asparagus, but I prefer to cut off the bottom 1-2 inches of the asparagus because it tends to be tougher than the rest.

As with any vegetable, don’t forget to wash your asparagus before cooking.

Choose Your Grilling Method

Asparagus can be cooked by placing it directly on the grill or it can be cooked in tin foil for a steamed taste. I prefer the tin foil method so you can easily cook with oils and vinaigrettes. Place your asparagus in center of a square piece of tin foil, add butter, vinaigrette or other toppings now, and wrap loosely. Place the tin foil directly on the grill. Cook about 6 minutes for a firm texture, or 8-9 minutes for a nice and soft steamed asparagus.

Add Some Flavor

You can really change the taste of your asparagus when you add toppings. Give it a kick with citrus, add tang with vinaigrette, or flavor it with cheeses or nuts. Here are some toppings to consider for your grilled asparagus.

  • Lemon juice
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Parmesan
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Hollandaise sauce
  • Garlic
  • Panko

There really is no end to your topping choices. Once you have chosen a topping consider adding some elegance to your presentation by adding some garnishes. If you are making a citrus asparagus, plate the asparagus with lemon wedges or orange slices.

Add a Little Protein

Do you prefer meat in your dishes? No problem. Bacon goes perfectly with asparagus and can make for beautiful presentation. You can cut your bacon into smaller pieces and individually wrap your asparagus spears, or you can bunch your asparagus into small bunches of 5-6 spears and tie them together with a strip of bacon. The bacon should be cooked on the asparagus for added flavor. If you are cooking your bacon on the asparagus you will want to grill the asparagus until the bacon is thoroughly cooked.

Asparagus prepared on the grill can make the perfect side dish to any outdoor party. How do you prepare your asparagus on the grill?

photo credit: KayOne73 via photopin

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