Lemon herb roasted asparagus is an easy and quick (yet elegant!) way to prepare asparagus. Asparagus is roasted in the oven, then tossed with a simple vinaigrette made of lemon, herbs, and garlic for a burst of fresh flavor. You can make this easy side dish in less than 25 minutes!
Note: this post was originally published in 2020 and updated in 2022 with new photos and improved instructions.
This recipe for lemon herb roasted asparagus is one of my favorite ways to prepare asparagus. The tangy, fresh, and bright flavors of the dressing really perk up the slightly bitter and earthy flavors of the roasted asparagus.
Plus, the bright green dressing looks so beautiful on the serving plate! And, it's easy to make, and pretty quick too. You can have this gorgeous side on the table in a little over 20 minutes. For a complete meal, pair this roasted asparagus with my recipe for garlic herb baked turkey meatballs!
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- Olive oil: You will need oil to both roast the asparagus and make the vinaigrette. I used extra virgin olive oil for both, because I like the flavor and pretty much use it whenever I can! However, some people don't like using extra virgin olive oil in higher heat applications. So, just use whatever kind of oil you like to roast, and your favorite kind for making dressings.
- Fresh herbs: you can use your favorite type of soft, leafy herb, or a combination of two or more herbs! I discuss herb suggestions in the Recipe FAQs section below.
- Lemon: you will be using both the zest and juice from the lemon. If you don't have a whole fresh lemon, you can skip the zest and substitute bottled lemon juice for the fresh.
Step by step photos
1. First, pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
Then, we will move on to prep the asparagus. There are two main ways that I know of to prepare asparagus (i.e. should I snap the ends off or cut?). I, personally, am a cutter, not a snapper. I'm sure there is much debate over this, but I just find it much faster and easier to cut all the stems at once.
Also, I feel like I can actually save more edible asparagus by cutting. (Have you ever snapped the asparagus stalk and it just seems like you lost half the thing?) Anyways, here is how I like to do it:
- If there are rubber bands around the bunch, leave the bottom one on.
- Rinse the asparagus. (I do this with the band still on, I haven't had a problem getting the water all around the veggies, you can just stretch it a bit to help the water get in between).
- Then, put the bunch on the cutting board. Look for the spot where the lighter colored stalk transitions into green. This is where I like to cut. If you really don't like any hint of woodiness, you can cut a little bit higher up on the stalk.
- Chop through all the stems at once. And, because you left the band on, just take all the ends to the trash or compost pile in one neat bundle!
Again, this is just my way I like to do it, and I've found that I get to keep a lot of the edible, non-woody asparagus without the annoyance of having to snap each one individually.
That being said, I'm open to other ways! If you have a favorite method of preparing asparagus, let me know in the comments!
2. After you have cut (or snapped off) the woody stems, be sure to blot off any excess moisture from the asparagus with a clean kitchen towel or a paper towel. (If you didn't leave on the rubber band, you can do this before you trim the ends, it doesn't matter.) You just want the asparagus to be dry because it helps them get more crispy and brown in the oven.
After making sure the asparagus are nice and dry, place them on a baking pan. Drizzle about 2 teaspoons of oil on top of the asparagus.
3. Toss the asparagus with the oil so each piece is evenly coated.
4. Spread the asparagus out evenly on the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place the baking pan in the pre-heated oven and roast for between 7 - 12 minutes, until the asparagus are tender and starting to brown on the ends.
5. While the asparagus are roasting, prep the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Mince the garlic, and finely chop the herbs.
6. Next, zest the lemon and cut it in half so you can squeeze out the juice. For dressings, I much prefer very finely grated zest, rather than strips of zest you get from a traditional citrus zester. I recommend using a Microplane (affiliate link) to get this lovely fine zest!
7. In a small bowl, squeeze in the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and add the remaining oil, lemon zest, garlic, kosher salt and pepper. Whisk everything together so it's evenly combined.
Here I used my mini whisk (affiliate link). I highly recommend it - it does a great job for small quantities and it's fun to use!
8. Next, add in the chopped herbs and give the vinaigrette a stir to combine. Set the vinaigrette aside until the asparagus are done cooking.
9. When the asparagus are tender and slightly browned on the tips, take them out of the oven.
10. Right away, while the asparagus are still hot, scoop about ¾ of the vinaigrette overtop the asparagus. Toss the asparagus and vinaigrette together with tongs.
11. Once the asparagus are nicely coated in the vinaigrette, use the tongs to move them to a serving platter. As a finishing touch, drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the top. You can garnish the asparagus with extra lime wedges and sprigs of herbs if you like!
Tips and tricks
- The recipe card below includes guidelines for how long thin and thick asparagus should take to roast. This is only a guideline; you will need to adjust the roasting time based on not only how thick your asparagus are, but also variances in your oven, and your own personal tastes (whether you like the asparagus more or less cooked).
- It's also a good idea to keep an eye on the asparagus during the last few minutes of cooking to make sure they don't overcook, especially for thin asparagus.
As I mentioned in the Recipe ingredients section, you can use your favorite type of herb or even an assortment. This time I used a combo of parsley and dill, but I also like using a combo of chives, dill and mint.
You should stick with soft, leafy types of herbs however, rather than woody types like rosemary and thyme. These can get too strong when eaten raw, unless using only a small amount. Some other good herbs to use include cilantro, basil, or even scallions! For more herb inspiration, check out this extensive list of 27 types of herbs!
And, if you plan on using mint and/or other strongly-flavored leafy herbs such as tarragon, fennel, etc., it may be preferable to mix these with other, more mild herbs such as parsley so the flavor doesn't become overpowering. This is a matter of personal taste of course - go with what you like!
According to Cook's Illustrated, thicker asparagus is preferred for roasting because they hold up better to the intense, dry heat of the oven without shriveling.
I've made this recipe with both thin and thick asparagus, and I do slightly prefer the thicker asparagus, simply because there is more substance to bite into with each piece. On the other hand, thinner asparagus provide more overall surface area for the delicious dressing to cling to!
So, I think whether you should choose thick or thin asparagus is a matter of personal preference, and of course, what you can find available at your local store. Either will work for this recipe, especially if you are aware not to overcook the thinner asparagus. The recipe card provides guidance on cook times for both thin and thick asparagus.
This recipe tastes best when served immediately after roasting. If you have leftovers, you can store them, tightly covered, in the fridge for 3 - 4 days.
Rather than reheating the leftovers, I like to cut them into about 2 inch (5 cm) pieces and serve them on top of a green salad. Delicious!
If you’ve tried this recipe, please leave a star rating and/or review in the comments section below, I would love to hear from you! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And sign up for my weekly newsletter to get recipes delivered straight to you!Print
Roasted asparagus tossed with a quick vinaigrette with fresh lemon, herbs and garlic. An easy and quick side that's way more interesting than regular roasted asparagus!
- 1 pound (454 g) fresh asparagus
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided (see note 1 for oil alternatives)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste, plus more for sprinkling
- black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- ⅓ cup (16 g) finely chopped fresh herbs (see note 2 for herb suggestions)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- optional garnish: additional fresh herbs and lemon slices
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
- Rinse the asparagus and blot them dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
- Trim the woody ends off the asparagus. Place the trimmed asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle the 2 teaspoons oil over the asparagus and toss gently to coat. Spread the asparagus out evenly on the baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and roast until the asparagus are tender and slightly browned on the tips. Very thin asparagus may take about 7 - 9 minutes. Medium asparagus may take about 9 - 11 minutes, and very thick asparagus may take about 11 - 13 minutes. Based on these guidelines, begin checking on the asparagus a few minutes before you expect them to be finished to avoid overcooking them. Cook times will vary based on your oven, the size of the asparagus, and personal preference (how tender you like the asparagus).
- While the asparagus are roasting, prepare the vinaigrette ingredients. First, finely chop the fresh herbs and mince the garlic clove. Zest the lemon and measure out ½ teaspoon. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze out 2 tablespoons of juice into a small bowl.
- In the same small bowl, add in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, minced garlic, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Whisk together until evenly combined. Add in the finely chopped herbs, stir with a spoon to combine. Set aside.
- When the asparagus are finished roasting, remove them from the oven but leave them on the baking sheet. Give the vinaigrette another stir, and then drizzle about ¾ of the vinaigrette over the asparagus. Toss gently with tongs to coat the asparagus with the vinaigrette.
- Remove the asparagus to a serving platter, and drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over top. Garnish with additional fresh herbs and lemon slices (optional) and serve immediately.
- I used extra virgin olive oil to both roast the asparagus and for the vinaigrette. If you don't like roasting with extra virgin olive oil, you can use any other neutral oil, like vegetable oil, canola oil, etc. But, I do really recommend extra virgin olive oil for the vinaigrette if you've got it, because it really enhances the flavor of the dressing. Otherwise, you can use your favorite oil for making dressings.
- Dill, chives, parsley, cilantro, mint, basil, scallions, cilantro, or a combination of any of these would work well. Although, if using mint, you may want to mix it with another herb because the flavor is rather strong (unless you really like mint!). Avoid woodier herbs like rosemary and thyme because these can also be overpowering.
- Kosher salt is coarse grained; if you want to substitute fine grain salt, use a little less than the ½ teaspoon called for in the vinaigrette.
- The nutrition information below was calculated to include a total of 1 teaspoon kosher salt in the entire recipe (including the vinaigrette and salt sprinkled on the asparagus). This nutrition information is an estimate only, provided by an online nutrition calculator, and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice. See our full disclosure policy.
- Serving Size: ¼ recipe
- Calories: 105
- Sugar: 2.3 g
- Sodium: 284 mg
- Fat: 9.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 4.8 g
- Fiber: 2.4 g
- Protein: 2.6 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: roasted asparagus, lemon herb asparagus