If you have never tried grilled marinated Asparagus with Gremolata before then you are in for a real treat!
Imagine fresh asparagus that has been marinating in lemon, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil and then when grilled to perfection, topped with Italian gremolata.
This quick side dish is ready in less than 15 minutes, tastes amazing, and pairs well with a variety of fish and meat entrées.
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Asparagus with Gremolata
The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. I highly recommend reading the blog post all the way through so that you don’t miss any tips or substitution suggestions; to ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required, and to understand the steps and timings involved.
This grilled marinated asparagus is a quick and easy side dish enhanced by the addition of a simple, yet tasty, Italian gremolata.
This vegetable dish pairs perfectly with our Grilled Tuna Steaks with Preserved Lemon Gremolata, but is also a great accompaniment to a wide variety of fish and meat dishes.
What is Gremolata?
Gremolata is a green sauce made with just three ingredients – fresh parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. It is the standard accompaniment to the Milanese dish Ossobuco alla Milanese. Gremolata is also used as a garnish to top meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetables.
In this recipe, we’ve used preserved lemon rind for an added pop of flavor.
Preserved lemons are made by curing the fruit with salt. The sharpness of the citrus mellows, but the flavor intensifies and can add such a depth of flavor to dishes. Preserved lemons are a staple ingredient in Moroccan and North African dishes.
You can buy preserved lemons in jars in grocery stores, delis, or online. And you can actually make your own too!
Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe
While most ingredients can be bought in grocery stores, for your convenience, any specialized or notable ingredients (and equipment) needed for this recipe have been listed below and linked to Amazon or other stores if available online. The complete list of ingredients with measurements is found in the recipe card.
- Fresh Produce – Asparagus, Lemons, Flat-Leaf Parsley, Garlic.
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Mediterranean-Spiced Sea Salt – this is a herb blend of garlic, basil, oregano, red bell pepper, lemon peel, and red pepper flakes.*
- Preserved Lemons
How To Make Mediterranean-Spiced Sea Salt
*If you can’t source this ingredient, it is very simple to make your own batch. Mix together the following herbs and spices and store in an airtight container – you may already have some of the ingredients on hand. Use in recipes as required, or to add the flavors of the Med to your food.
- 3 Tbsp Mediterranean Sea Salt
- 3 Tbsp Dried Oregano
- 2 Tbsp Dried Lemon Zest/Peel
- 1 Tbsp Dried Red Bell Peppers
- 3 Tbsp Dried Basil
- 3 Tbsp Dried Garlic Granules
- ½ tsp Crushed Red Chili Flakes
Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog use both cup measurements and/or weighted measurements. American cups and kitchen food scales are handy pieces of equipment to have in your kitchen as it means you’ll be able to make all of the different recipes on my blog. I try to give American, imperial, and metric measurements in my recipes. You can mix cup measurements with weighted measurements, but never mix imperial (pounds, ounces, pints, etc.,) with metric (kilograms, grams, litres, etc.,).
Asparagus crops are harvested from February to June, but spring is the absolute best time for this vegetable. Depending on where you live in the world, the peak season will vary. However, asparagus is available year-round.
Asparagus is labor-intensive to grow and harvest, and the price tag will match that – but the savory flavor is very much worth it!
When buying asparagus choose bright green stems (which may have slightly purple tips) which are firm with no signs of shriveling or being limp.
You will want to cook asparagus as soon as possible after buying it, ideally the same day or within a day or two.
Do not wash or soak the asparagus before storing – this will speed up the deterioration process and we don’t want that.
As I said earlier, you want to cook this vegetable as soon as possible after buying it – this is when it will taste its best.
But if that isn’t possible you can store it the fridge:
- Cut a small piece of the ends of the asparagus and place in a glass or jug with an inch or so of water – think of them a bit like cut flowers! Loosely cover with a plastic bag and keep in the fridge. This is the best method and the spears should keep for up to a week. If the water turns cloudy, just change it.
- You can also wrap the trimmed ends with some damp paper towels and place them in a loose-fitting plastic bag. Store in the crisper/salad drawer section of your fridge.
You will know when asparagus has gone bad because it will go abnormally soft and mushy, and may develop black spots. Discard immediately and use more quickly next time.
Preparing Asparagus for Cooking
Asparagus is easy to prepare for cooking – start by washing away any of the dirt, and if the stems are thin, that is pretty much it.
The thicker stems of asparagus will need to be trimmed as the ends can become woody. This is a quick thing to do, you simply bend the spear and the tough end will snap away. You can then continue to do that with all of the spears, or use that as a template for cutting the rest.
You can, if you need to, use a vegetable peeler to pare away the tough exterior to reveal the tender flesh beneath.
More Recipes Using Asparagus
The hero ingredients in this dish is asparagus, so here are some more recipes using the same:
- Sheet Pan Steak Dinner: Garlic Parmesan Steak with Asparagus
- Simple Oven Roasted Asparagus – A Delicious Side Dish for Fish & Steak!
- Instant Pot Creamy Asparagus Soup Recipe
More Side Dish Recipes
Looking for more sides to make? Check these recipes out next:
- Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice
- Butter Parsley Baby Potatoes in the Instant Pot
- 5-Ingredient Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze
- For easier turning (and to prevent asparagus from falling through the grill grates), thread two pre-soaked wooden skewers through several spears lined up side by side to hold them together.
- In this recipe, the asparagus is cooked on a barbecue grill. But you could use the grill/broiler in your oven. Or even a grill pan/plate on the stovetop.
How Do I Make Asparagus with Gremolata?
Check out the printable recipe card below with full ingredients and instructions. Any demonstration photos do not print out to save your ink.
- 1 lb (450g) fresh asparagus, trimmed
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1½ tsp Mediterranean Spiced Sea Salt
- Black pepper, to taste
- 2 whole lemons, cut in half
- Shaved Parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)
For the Gremolata
- ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, washed, dried thoroughly, and finely chopped
- 1 tsp organic lemon zest
- 2 tsp preserved lemon rind, rinsed and finely chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, grated
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Place the asparagus in a wide, shallow bowl and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with Mediterranean Spiced Sea Salt and black pepper, to taste. Gently toss to combine and set aside for 15-20 minutes to marinade.
- Prepare the gremolata by combining all ingredients in a small bowl. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and set aside.
- Spray grill grates with non-stick cooking spray and preheat grill to medium-high. Place asparagus and lemon halves over direct heat and grill for 3-4 minutes per side, or until they are crisp-tender. Alternatively use a cast-iron skillet or frying pan to cook the asparagus.
- Remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish. Top with gremolata and serve immediately with grilled lemons for squeezing and shaved Parmesan cheese, if desired. Enjoy!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 185Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 724mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 11g
This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
Make It A Full Meal!
You’ve made the side, but what about the rest of the courses?
Here are additional recipes to make a full meal for a dinner party or special occasion:
- Appetizer: Strawberry Fennel Salad
- Main Dish: Grilled Tuna Steaks with Preserved Lemon Gremolata
- Side Dish: Butter Parsley Baby Potatoes in the Instant Pot
- Beverage: Fresh & Delicious Grapefruit Margaritas
- Dessert: Mango Lime Frozen Yogurt
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy – please feel free to check them out too!