Recipe: Lemon Basil Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan & Walnuts

Lemon Basil Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan & WalnutsOften new acquaintances ask me, “Well, what do you cook for dinner?” On one particular occasion, I nonchalantly mentioned that I might cook salmon, corn and asparagus on the grill. Et voila. Dinner is served. Their eyes nearly popped out of their heads, “You can grill asparagus?” Well, uh….yes, you can. For super speedy dinners, I simply toss asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper. I created something a little more special, with pizzazz, for you. In this recipe, I deconstruct pesto (all my favorite ingredients), without having to drag out the food processor.

The intense, fresh flavor of lemon zest really makes this dish pop. Added bonus: while more evidence is needed, preliminary animal lab studies show how limonenes, found in oils in the peels of lemons, oranges, and grapefruit, may block cancer-forming chemicals and ward off cancer cells. Be sure to wash the lemon well before cutting into and cook the zest as I do in this recipe to take the edge off and tenderize the peel.

Have you ever grilled asparagus? If not, what is your preferred method of cooking? How do you season and flavor asparagus? Do you peel off the skin or leave it au natural? I’d love to hear about it.

Recipe: Lemon Basil Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan & Walnuts

1 bunch asparagus, bottom woody third discarded

2 teaspoons (10 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons (15 g) chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (8 g) lemon zest strips (yellow part only – white rind is bitter)

3 tablespoons (15 g) thinly shaved Parmesan cheese (use a vegetable peeler) broken into pieces

4 fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled and very thinly sliced (chiffonade)

Preheat grill on medium, or 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Place trimmed asparagus on a large plate or sheet pan. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper, and drizzle on top of asparagus. Toss asparagus with hands to coat evenly with the oil mixture. Shape two small pieces of heavy duty foil into shallow “dishes” and place walnuts in one and lemon zest in the other.

Place asparagus on the grill with the tips pointing away from the hottest area of the grill, to prevent drying out. Place walnuts and lemon zest on the cooler part of the grill. Close lid and cook 4 minutes until the asparagus has grill marks. Turn asparagus, stir lemon zest, and remove walnuts from the grill, since they should be well toasted at this point. Cook asparagus and lemon zest for 2 more minutes and remove. Sprinkle asparagus with lemon zest, walnuts, Parmesan and basil and serve hot or at room temperature.

Prep time:  10 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Makes 4 servings, 5 spears each with toppings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 80 calories, 6 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 178 mg sodium, 3 mg cholesterol, 4 g total carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein, 4% DV iron, 7% DV calcium, 16% DV Vitamin A, 12% DV Vitamin C.

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Lemon Basil Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan & Walnuts

Lemon Basil Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan & Walnuts

By Team Michelle Published: May 11, 2012

  • Yield: 4 servings, 5 spears each with toppings (4 Servings)
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 7 mins
  • Ready In: 17 mins

Grilled asparagus with lemon zest, walnuts, Parmesan and basil.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill on medium, or 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Place trimmed asparagus on a large plate or sheet pan. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper, and drizzle on top of asparagus. Toss asparagus with hands to coat evenly with the oil mixture. Shape two small pieces of heavy duty foil into shallow “dishes” and place walnuts in one and lemon zest in the other.
  2. Place asparagus on the grill with the tips pointing away from the hottest area of the grill, to prevent drying out. Place walnuts and lemon zest on the cooler part of the grill. Close lid and cook 4 minutes until the asparagus has grill marks. Turn asparagus, stir lemon zest, and remove walnuts from the grill, since they should be toasted at this point. Cook asparagus and lemon zest for 2 more minutes and remove. Sprinkle asparagus with lemon zest, walnuts, Parmesan and basil and serve hot or at room temperature.
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4 Comments

  1. Donna Cagle
    Posted May 12, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    after cooking can this be kept in ice box and how would you recommend reheating it as I only cook for myself hate to waste food thanks

    • Posted May 14, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Hi Donna,

      Thanks for stopping by! Yes, you can definitely store this in the refrigerator and enjoy later. In fact, I did that after shooting this photo. If your intention is to reheat leftovers, you could only sprinkle on the walnuts, Parmesan, and basil on the serving you will eat right away. Then, when you reheat it, sprinkle on the rest of the Parmesan, walnuts, and basil to retain optimal textures for each ingredient. Sliced basil will bruise and darken pretty quickly, so you could wait to cut that until right before you eat it, if you wanted to.

      It also tastes very good cold. In that case, you could just sprinkle the walnuts on at the end so they are crunchy.

      Enjoy.
      Michelle

  2. Posted May 13, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    It’s great that you are naturally bringing out the flavor of asparagus with just that hint of citrus and a little parm. So delicious.

    • Posted May 14, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Thanks for noticing, Carlene. I seriously love this dish. I ate half of the whole recipe right after I shot it!
      Michelle

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