Looking for a vegetable side dish that goes with nearly everything? This Lemon Pepper Asparagus is so easy to make and adds a deliciously bright touch to all of your spring dinners!
I seem to always be ready with awesomely delicious entrees, but often totally forget about side dishes. Some evenings I'll have my dinner well underway before I realize I haven't thought through what I'll serve along with it.
My fridge is always well stocked with produce, so I usually just end up roasting a vegetable or two. And though roasted vegetables are always delicious, sometimes I want a bit more pizazz in my side dishes.
This Lemon Pepper Asparagus is a simple roasted vegetable... But with a couple ingredients that add a whole lot of brightness and take the spring vegetable from boring to absolutely delicious!
💚 Why you'll love this recipe
This asparagus is SO easy to make and adds a serious spring brightness to any meal. It can be served for dinner or brunch and makes the ideal side dish for so many different entrees.
As with most good side dishes, the ingredients for this asparagus are super simple. Here's everything you need:
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Lemon zest
🔪 To cut or snap?
I always recommend removing the tough ends of your asparagus before roasting it, but how you do so is up to you. However, there is a bit of a debate over whether it's better to cut the ends off or to snap them.
I'm a big proponent of cutting the ends off since it's quick and easy and it makes for fairly evenly sized stalks.
Lots of people say that asparagus stalks have a natural breaking point, but according to this Serious Eats article, that's not really true. Not only does snapping the ends off take longer, but it can result in wasted asparagus and/or uneven stalks.
I think the quickest method is lining the stalks up on a cutting board and slicing the ends with a sharp knife.
🍋 How to make lemon pepper asparagus
If you've ever roasted asparagus (or any vegetable) before, this will be incredibly easy for you.
Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees and lining a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Place the asparagus on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle on pepper, salt, and garlic powder.
Toss the asparagus until they're evenly coated and then arrange them in a single layer.
Bake for 8-12 minutes, until tender, but still crispy.
Baking times will vary depending on how thick your asparagus stalks are. Mine here are pretty thin, so they only took 8 minutes.
Once you arrange the asparagus on a platter, top them with all of that fresh lemon zest.
When it comes to vegetables like asparagus, I'm all about the more lemon, the better!
And the lemon pepper combination is just so perfect for spring. But really, it works for any time of year.
🥘 What to serve with
If you're the kind of person who plans your entrees around your side dishes (which is totally understandable when you find a side dish this good!), I have lots of recommendations for what you can serve this lemon pepper asparagus with. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
- Sizzling Garlic Chicken Wings
- Spinach and Brie Chicken
- Creamy Grapefruit Salmon
- Pork Cutlets with Olives and Capers
- Quinoa Fried Rice
- Jalapeño Roast Chicken
- Everything Bagel Salmon
- Jalapeño Eggs Benedict
- Cornmeal Biscuits with Chorizo Gravy
- Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Crepes
- Eggs Benedict Pizza
Yes, this asparagus makes the perfect dinner side dish, but it's also so delightful as a spring brunch side and can go with pretty much any egg dish.
It's perfect to serve for Easter or Mother's Day brunch.
Sure! I happen to think using freshly ground black pepper and fresh lemons makes for the best flavors in this side dish. But if you have lemon pepper seasoning in your spice cabinet and prefer to use that, it will work just fine.
You can use fresh minced garlic in place of the garlic powder if you want. I find that garlic powder allows you to add just a touch garlic flavor to the asparagus without overpowering it. But if you prefer minced garlic (I often add it to my other roasted asparagus dishes!), you can certainly use it.
The important thing is to eat as much of that fresh asparagus as you possibly can while it's in season! And when the price is really, really good.
If you're looking for another unique was to enjoy it, I make this shaved asparagus salad all the time. If you've never tried raw asparagus before, you need to!
And now excuse me while I add freshly cracked black pepper and lemon juice and zest to every food in front of me this spring!
What is your favorite way to enjoy asparagus?
Lemon Pepper Asparagus
- 1 lb asparagus
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Cut or break off tough ends of asparagus and place on baking sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkle on pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Toss until the asparagus is evenly coated and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes, until tender, but still crispy. Arrange on a platter and top with lemon zest.