Tender and crispy on the outside with a slight bite on the inside, and covered in cheesy garlicky breadcrumbs (with hints of lemon!), our Easy Roasted Asparagus with Breadcrumbs is the perfect way to up your roasted veggie game this spring. Make a double or triple batch to feed a crowd, or scale it back to feed a family of four.
Easy Roasted Asparagus with Breadcrumbs
Like many children, asparagus wasn’t a love at first sight kind of vegetable for me. It took some warming up to, and the moment I truly fell in love with it was when I discovered the super-green veggie often cozied up to my favorite sauce of all time – hollandaise.
As much as I love and adore hollandaise sauce (who doesn’t?), the copious amounts of butter make it something I reserve solely for special occasions. So after many years of consuming this dynamic duo, I evenly graduated to eating asparagus grilled, roasted, and blanched sans hollandaise sauce.
Today’s Easy Roasted Asparagus with Breadcrumbs is certainly dressed up enough for a special occasion (hello Easter), but it’s casual enough to serve any night of the week. It’s grown up, but sure to pull kiddos in with the promise of cheese and crunch. Plus, it’s a healthy side dish that feels a little bit indulgent thanks to the addition of crispy cheesy breadcrumbs nestled throughout the crisp roasted asparagus.
We take thick spears of asparagus and simply roast them with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. While the oven does its thing, we sweat garlic in a bit of olive oil and butter and toss it with panko breadcrumbs.
When the panko is golden brown and toasty, we pull it off the heat to cool for a bit before adding a handful of parmesan cheese, fresh tarragon, and a sprinkling of lemon zest.
What we’re left with is a garlicky, lemon-infused roasted asparagus side dish that screams spring and will certainly carry us well into summer.
Asparagus. Try and look for asparagus on the thicker side. This time of year you shouldn’t have a problem finding it. If you can’t, thin asparagus will also work.
Olive oil. Any olive oil – virgin or extra virgin will work great.
Salt and pepper. The only seasoning we need to roast the asparagus.
Butter. Unlike the copious amounts of butter used in hollandaise for our garlicky breadcrumbs, we only need a few teaspoons. Use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt that goes into it.
Garlic. We used one medium garlic clove, but by all means, up it up to two.
Panko. I highly recommend using panko breadcrumbs for this recipe. They are ultra crispy, unlike regular breadcrumbs and can stand up to the roasted asparagus.
Parmesan. Make sure you use FRESHLY grated parmesan cheese. I like to grate mine on a microplane for this particular recipe because it yields fluffy, almost cloud-like parmesan shreds that melt seamlessly into the warm breadcrumbs.
Tarragon. Tarragon is one of my favorite herbs to use in the the springtime and I throw it in everything from chicken salad to green goddess dressings and dips. (We also love it in these lobster rolls.) I’m willing to be tarragon is probably one of the most underutilized fresh herbs out there, but we’re here to change that!
If you aren’t familiar, tarragon has an anise flavor to it, similar to fennel. I’m not normally one to gravitate towards something licorice in flavor, however, tarragon is subtle and really enhances dishes, so don’t be afraid to give it a try.
Roast the asparagus
Trim the asparagus. If you’ve ever cooked asparagus, then you know the end of an asparagus spear is very fibrous and inedible. This may be common knowledge, but just in case it’s not, here’s how to trim it:
Hold the asparagus in your hand and bend the end. Where it naturally breaks is where the fiber ends, and the good stuff begins.
You could do this for every spear of asparagus, but let’s make things easy. Simply use the pre-trimmed asparagus as a guide and trim the rest of the asparagus at the same time.
Spread on a baking sheet. This recipe calls for two pounds of asparagus and to properly roast asparagus, you can only fit about one pound per sheet pan. This means we’re using two sheet pans to roast two pounds of asparagus. Spreading them out between two sheet pans ensures we roast the asparagus and don’t steam it.
Evenly divide the asparagus between the two sheet pans and spread them out so no two spears are touching.
Coat in oil. Drizzle the olive oil over the asparagus. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Use your hands to to toss evenly in the olive, salt and pepper.
Roast! Pop in the oven and roast for 10 minutes (for thinner spears) to 12 minutes (for thicker spears). You want the asparagus to get crisp on the edges and start to brown, but it should still have some nice structure to it.
Make the breadcrumbs
You’ll want to do this while the asparagus roasts.
Sweat the garlic. Add the butter and oil to a small sauté pan set over a medium-low heat. When the butter melts, add the garlic. Sweat the garlic for a minute or two until it becomes fragrant and starts to soften. If it starts to brown, turn the heat down.
Add the panko. Add the panko to the butter, oil, and garlic. Toss to coat the breadcrumbs evenly. Turn the heat up to medium. Let the breadcrumbs toast and turn golden brown. Be sure to stir every 30 seconds to a minute to prevent them from getting too brown.
Add the rest of the ingredients. When the breadcrumbs are golden, take off the heat. Let them cool for a minute or two and then add the parmesan, lemon zest and tarragon. Toss.
When the asparagus comes out of the oven, let them cool for a minute or two. Get your serving plate or platter and arrange a layer of the asparagus. Sprinkle with some breadcrumbs and then layer more asparagus. Sprinkle with more breadcrumbs. Repeat again and finish off with a topping of bread crumbs.
Squeeze a little bit of lemon juice on top and garnish with more parm. Serve warm or room temp!
Can you make Roasted Asparagus with Breadcrumbs in advance?
Yes! Roast the asparagus up to a day in advance, but be sure you undercook it a touch. The breadcrumbs can also be made a day in advance.
Do not assemble in advance, as the breadcrumbs will get soggy.
Does it need to be served warm?
No! I love serving easy roasted asparagus with breadcrumbs at room temperature as an alternative option to a salad.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Do not overcook the asparagus! Check them at 10 minutes, if they are bright green and tender, but still have a bite to them, they’re done. Mine were a medium thickness, and they took 12 minutes to cook.
- If you don’t like tarragon, you can swap out fresh basil or even mint.
- Use pecorino, romano, or asiago cheese in place of parmesan.
Tools/Pretty things used in today’s post
What to serve with Easy Roasted Asparagus with Breadcrumbs
- Pork Saltimbocca is just screaming to be paired with our Roasted Asparagus
- This 5-Ingredient Chicken Piccata is one of our favorite easy meals to throw together.
- Double up the green veggies with our Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken
- 2 lb asparagus If you can, find asparagus 1/4-inch in size or larger
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil, divided
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp freshly shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- lemon juice
- sheet pan
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Optional: Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper to prevent a mess.
- Hole one asparagus spear in your hand. Gently bend the asparagus on the end and let the asparagus break nautrally. Use this as a marker to to trim the ends off the rest of the asparagus.
- Add half of the asparagus to one sheet pan. Add the remainder to the other sheet pan. Drizzle each pan with two teaspoons olive oil. Sprinkle each with 1/4 teaspoon salt and some freshly cracked pepper. Use your hands to evenly coat the asparagus. Spread the asparagus out on the sheet pan.
- Roast in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Thicker asparagus will need longer to cook, thin asparagus should cook in a shorter amount of time. They are done when they are bright green and slightly crispy on the edges, but still have a nice bite to them. Let the rest for 1-2 minutes before assembly.
- Meanwhile, make the breadcrumbs. Add the butter and olive oil to a small skillet set over a medium-low heat. When the butter melts, add the garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant and soft, if the garlic starts to brown, turn the heat down to low.
- Add the panko and a pinch of salt to the garlic. Toss to coat in the butter and oil. Turn the heat up to medium and toast the breadrumbs, stirring often. Watch carefully as they can burn easily. When th breadcrumbs are golden brown and toasted, remove from heat. Let the rest for a minute or two.
- When the breadcrumbs have rested, add the parmesan, tarrgaon, and lemon zest. Toss to combine.
- Layer 1/3 of the asparagus on a plate or platter. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top. Layer another 1/3 of the asparagus on top and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Repeat one more time. Squeeze lemon juice top. Garnish with extra parmesan cheese.