Roasted asparagus with charred lemon dressing

Roasted asparagus with charred lemon dressing

roasted asparagus charred lemon dressing platter

BBQ season is upon us – well, at least in theory (it’s been bitterly cold and rainy all week here this week) so I figured a BBQ friendly side is in order. Since we are nearing the end of British asparagus season I decided to make the most out of it and made a platter of roasted asparagus with charred lemon dressing, it’s super easy and quick to make and a delicious way to enjoy this early summer vegetable.

Since it’s raining over here, I made my roasted asparagus on my trusted griddle pan, but if you are lucky enough to live in a sunnier climate and moved all your cooking to a BBQ, you are in luck. All you need to do to get going is to throw a bunch of asparagus spears and a couple of lemon halves on a hot griddle pan or a barbie and char them to perfection.

You want the asparagus to be still quite crunchy so don’t keep it on the heat for too long, what you are looking for is vibrant green colour and just a few grill marks and you should be good. As I’m sure you are aware, not all asparagus spears will be the same thickness even in a single bunch so attend to those thinner ones first as they will cook way quicker than the rest.

The next, equally important component of this super simple recipe is charred lemon, which will enable us to whip up a quick yet delicious dressing with a fantastic texture and bags of umami. To make the dressing, start off with grilling some lemon halves until their undersides are nicely charred. Resist the temptation to check up on them too soon or too often as this will stop these beautiful grill marks from developing.

Make sure the heat isn’t too aggressive and give them a few minutes before you lift one of the halves to check the progress. While your veggies are grilling, fire off a small pan on a stove top and toast some almond flakes until fragrant and gloriously golden. Once your lemons are done and cool enough to handle, squeeze the juice into a few simple dressing ingredients and whisk quickly to emulsify.

Once that’s done, arrange roasted asparagus on a plate, drizzle with charred lemon dressing, top with toasted almonds and serve, it’s that easy! This roasted asparagus with charred lemon dressing is a stunner and makes for a perfect accompaniment to some quality bread, some dips, grilled tofu or whatever else you have going.


roasted asparagus charred lemon dressing ingredients

ASPARAGUS: Asparagus, alongside lemon, is the star ingredient here. I used fairly thick asparagus spears as opposed to thin asparagus tips, which is what I recommend and they are sturdier and therefore more suitable for grilling. You want to grill your asparagus a little but not too much. Take it off the pan/grill while it’s still vibrant green and firm with a few grill marks, don’t wait until it becomes muddy green and limp – although this may be just my personal preference, I like it to retain a little bit of a bite. If asparagus is no longer in season where you are, how about runner beans, charred and then cut into bite size pieces on a bias.

roasted asparagus charred lemon dressing asparagus raw

OLIVE OIL: I used two types of olive oil here for two different applications. I used extra virgin olive oil to make the dressing with and regular (cooking variety) olive oil to toast the almonds and to coat the asparagus with.

LEMON: Lemon is another key ingredient here. I recommend using an unwaxed lemon with a thin skin for best results and best flavour. I zest my lemon first and then char it, cut side down, on a hot griddle pan to give the dressing another dimension and depth of flavour. Charring makes lemon juice more potent in my opinion, which is why I recommend only 2 tbsp of charred lemon juice in the dressing, but you can use more if you would like more tang.

ALMOND FLAKES: Almond flakes provide nice textural element to this simple roasted asparagus side dish. I toast them on a hot pan in a tiny amount of olive oil, which makes them more crunchy and then season them lightly. If you cannot have nuts, use a mixture of pumpkin and sunflower seeds instead.

MISO: I used white miso (shiro miso) to flavour the dressing. It adds a nice depth of flavour and works beautifully with sour lemon and sweet maple syrup and it thickens the dressing a bit too, which is an unintended side effect. Miso is salty so depending on your tastebuds, you may not need to add any more salt to the dressing at all. Finally, if you are making this roasted asparagus dish for someone who is gluten-free, be sure to buy gluten-free miso paste. They are usually available in health food shops and, as opposed to traditional miso, are based on a range of gluten-free ingredients such as brown rice, chickpeas or millet.

WHOLEGRAIN MUSTARD: I added a dollop of mustard to the dressing for a bit of a kick. I went for wholegrain mustard but you can also use Dijon mustard (you may need a little less in that case) if that’s what you have.

GARLIC: I added a tiny amount (half a clove) of garlic to the dressing as I thought it needed it, but you can skip it if you are not a fan.

MAPLE SYRUP: I used a tablespoon of maple syrup to add a bit of sweetness to this simple dressing and to contrast tanginess of charred lemon juice. You can use another neutral sweetener if you like, of course and adjust the amount to your liking.

PARSLEY: Fresh parsley is just once of the herbs that works with the flavours used here. If you are not keen or have other herbs on hand, you could try coriander or basil instead.

roasted asparagus charred lemon dressing almonds

Start off by toasting almond flakes in a tiny bit of olive oil until golden and crunchy. Season them lightly and set aside to cool. If you want to make this roasted asparagus with charred lemon dressing side without nuts, use a combination of pumpkin and sunflower seeds instead.

roasted asparagus charred lemon dressing asparagus

Snap tough woody stems off the asparagus spears. Coat the asparagus with a bit of oil – I like to put it on a large plate, drizzle the oil on and then roll the asparagus in it until fully coated with my hands. Arrange prepped asparagus and lemon halves on a pre-heated griddle pan (or a hot BBQ) and grill until charred. Try not to disturb the lemon halves for a bit so that they caramelise and char nicely.

roasted asparagus charred lemon dressing charring

Take your asparagus off the pan while it’s still vibrant green and firm with some subtle char marks – it should be cooked but with some bite left. Cut it into smaller segments on the diagonal. Take the lemon off the pan once the underside is beautifully charred. Set it aside to cool for a few minutes before you make the dressing.

roasted asparagus charred lemon dressing

In a small bowl combine dressing ingredients with 2 tablespoons of charred lemon juice and whisk until smooth. Drizzle in olive oil and whisk quickly to emulsify, taste and add more lemon juice if liked.

roasted asparagus charred lemon dressing plate

roasted asparagus charred lemon dressing macro

4-6 as side
10 min
10 min
4-6 as side
10 min
10 min


  • olive oil
  • 50 g / scant ½ cup almond flakes
  • 500 g / 17.5 oz green asparagus
  • handful of parsley, coriander or basil (optional)


  • 1 unwaxed lemon (ideally with a thin peel)
  • 1 tbsp / 15 g white miso (shiro miso)
  • 1 tbsp / 15 ml maple syrup
  • 10 ml / 2 wholegrain mustard, more to taste
  • ½ garlic clove, finely grated
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  1. Heat up a small frying pan, add 1 tsp of oil – allow it to heat up – then add almond flakes. Coat them in olive oil and toast them on low heat until golden, stirring frequently. Season with a little salt and set aside to cool.
  2. Snap/cut tough, woody ends off asparagus spears and coat the spears in ½ tbsp of olive oil.
  3. Zest your lemon into a small bowl, cover and set aside. Cut the lemon in half.
  4. Pre-heat a griddle pan* (you can also use a BBQ) or a cast iron skillet (or an oven – see NOTES). Place asparagus spears and lemon halves (cut side down) on the hot pan. You may need to grill the asparagus in two batches.
  5. Allow the lemons to grill slowly for a few minutes until the undersides are nicely charred – check up on one of the halves after 2-3 minutes.
  6. Turn asparagus after 2-3 minutes (depending on thickness) and carry on charring. Asparagus is ready once it’s still vibrant green and a bit crunchy yet with some nice char marks here and there.
  7. Cut each asparagus spear into 3-4 segments on a bias, season lightly with salt and toss with lemon zest.
  8. Arrange on a platter. Drizzle with the dressing and garnish with chopped herbs and toasted almonds.


  1. Whisk miso paste, maple syrup, mustard and grated garlic in a small bowl.
  2. Once your lemon is cool enough to touch, squeeze 2 tbsp of juice into the bowl (if there is more juice in your lemon, wait with adding it in until you’ve tasted your dressing), then whisk in olive oil slowly.
  3. Taste and season with pepper and a little more salt if needed. Add more lemon juice if liked – for me, 2 tbsp was a perfect balance.

*GRIDDLE PAN: if you don’t have a griddle pan, you could also do your asparagus and lemon in an oven. Brush them both in a little olive oil and bake in a 200° C / 390° F (no fan) oven. Start off with lemons as they will need about 30 minutes in total, after 20 minutes, add in asparagus, which depending on thickness will need between 8-10 minutes.

5 g
12 g
1 g
4 g
8 g
*per 1 out of 6 portions
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