One of my go-to weeknight side dish recipes, caramelized broiled asparagus is served with a creamy tahini-lemon dipping sauce.
Asparagus is one of my favorite seasonal veggies. The first sign of spring here in West Michigan, nothing makes me happier than seeing that first bunch of asparagus hit farmers market stands. I am not a gardener, and I appreciate the patience it takes to grow asparagus – 3 years from seed to harvest!
Asparagus is packed full of health benefits. It’s low in calories and a great source of fiber and vitamins A, C and K. Additionally, eating asparagus can aid in weight loss, improved digestion, healthy pregnancy outcomes and lower blood pressure.
When shopping for asparagus, look for stalks that are firm, smooth, and can stand up. You don’t want wilted or limp asparagus and the tips should not be spread out or soft. Bright green is a good indicator of freshness. And the thinner the stalk the more tender. Big, thick stalks of asparagus tend to be chewy and woody.
Tahini is a sesame seed paste common in many cuisines around the world, particularly in the Mediterranean. It’s most often used in sauces (with lemon and garlic, my favorite) with savory dishes, but can also be added to sweet dishes to balance the flavors.
If you plan on shopping for tahini for this recipe but don’t regularly eat it, don’t worry – it won’t go to waste. Try these other recipes of mine that use tahini as well:
- Grilled Eggplant with Tahini Sauce
- Roasted Vegetables with Tahini Lemon Sauce
- Beef Shawarma Pitas with Tahini Dipping Sauce
- Lebanese Kafta Kebabs with Tahini Sauce
- Filet Burgers with Tahini Garlic Mayo
- Freekeh with Tahini, Chickpeas and Pomegranate
How to make Broiled Asparagus
The key to eating delicious veggies is choosing the right ones. Once you’ve found the perfect asparagus, wash and trim the bottoms if needed and lay out on a baking sheet lined with foil.
Sprinkle the asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Feel free to mix it up and add other seasonings too if you like: garlic, cayenne, and red pepper flakes come to mind.
While the asparagus is cooking, whip together the tahini sauce ingredients. I like to use freshly squeezed lemon, but bottled juice works just as well. There are lots of different variations of tahini dipping sauce too, so feel free to experiment with other ingredients.
Broiling the asparagus on high heat in the oven caramelizes the naturally occurring sugar in the vegetable making them extra tasty without having to add much. That’s why broiled and grilled things are so delicious and good for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I store asparagus?
Asparagus is best eaten the same day, but if that’s not possible you should store it in your fridge the same way you would fresh flowers. Trim the bottoms and stand the spears up in an inch of water in a container. Refrigerate them for up to 4 days, covered with a plastic bag.
What are different ways to cook asparagus?
While this recipe calls for broiling in the oven, I also love to grill asparagus or saute on the stovetop in a pan with olive oil.
Where can I buy tahini?
You can find tahini online or at your local grocery store, often in the Mediterranean section.
Can I substitute the tahini sauce?
Sure, you can dip asparagus in any kind of your favorite sauces, or eat them alone.
No fork needed.
Broiled Asparagus with Tahini Dipping Sauce
- 1 bunch asparagus (trimmed)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper (to taste)
Tahini Dipping Sauce
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 lemon (zested and juiced)
- 1 clove garlic (grated)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- ¼ cup warm water
- Pre-heat oven to broil and line a broiler pan with foil. Spray with cooking spray.
- Toss asparagus well with olive oil, salt and pepper then lay in a single line on pan. Broil on high until caramelized, about 6-7 minutes, tossing once halfway through.
- While asparagus is broiling, make tahini sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, lemon juice/zest, garlic, and salt. Slowly add in the hot water until desired consistency is reached. Serve with warm asparagus.