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Roasted Lemon-Parmesan Asparagus

Quick & Easy
Makes 4 servings10 minutes hands on time22 minutes total time

By Catherine Newman

Hands-on time: 10 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

Total carbohydrates: 5 grams per serving

At the beginning of asparagus season, when it’s so fresh and exciting that I can’t believe I get to live on the same planet as it, I like asparagus cooked as simply as possible. For me that means barely boiled in a shallow panful of salted water and dotted with a bit of butter before serving. Later, though, I like to expand my repertoire. In this case, roasting brings out all the sweetness of the vegetable, and the cheese and lemon add a bit of richness and tang. If you’ve never prepared asparagus before, here’s a tiny note about trimming them: the bottoms are woody, so you’ll want to snap them off. Pick up an asparagus, bend it gently, and you’ll feel the natural snapping place. I’m sorry – does that sound like directions for reading a crystal ball? I swear it won’t feel mystical when you actually try it.

If you’re looking to:

Lower the fat: Use only 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Lower the salt: Skip the salt.


1 bunch of asparagus (around 1 pound)

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt (or ¼ teaspoon table salt)

½ cup grated parmesan

Juice and grated zest of around ¼ of a lemon


  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse the asparagus in a sinkful of cold water, trim or snap off the bottoms, then dry them briefly on a clean dish towel.
  3. Put them on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle them with the olive oil. Toss them around with tongs, then spread them out and sprinkle with salt.
  4. Put them in the oven and roast until they’re starting to color and seem mostly tender when you pierce one with a knife – usually around 10 minutes (thinner ones may take less time, so check them at 5).
  5. Sprinkle the cheese over the asparagus, toss again, then roast another 2 minutes until the cheese has mostly melted.
  6. Sprinkle on the lemon zest and juice and serve right away or at room temperature.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Her book "How to Be A Person" was published in 2020. She also helped develop Sprout, a WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as Seasoned, their senior version. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health, happiness, and real food at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]