How to Prepare Grilled Balsamic Asparagus That Is Perfect for Your Meal Plan

Grilled balsamic asparagus offers exquisite flavor and remarkable versatility. Grilling imparts a smoky char that complements the natural sweetness of the asparagus due to the caramelization process. The tanginess of the balsamic vinegar ties together the medley of flavors and textures.

You can use it as a pizza topping, add it to your salads, or serve it as a side dish. The deliciousness of grilled balsamic asparagus knows no bounds.

Benefits of Grilled Balsamic Asparagus

Grilled balsamic asparagus with carrot and sauce

Nutritional Value

Asparagus contains a variety of essential nutrients and minerals, including vitamins B5, C, E, and K, folates, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and riboflavin.

It is low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. A 100g serving has only 20 calories and contains 2.1g of dietary fiber—8% of your daily recommended intake. In addition, asparagus contains 3.9g of carbohydrates, of which 1.9g is sugar. It has 2.2g of protein.

The various nutrients in asparagus offer significant health benefits. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps eliminate free radicals circulating in the blood. Free radicals damage cells and cause illness and aging.

Asparagus helps lower blood pressure due to its high potassium levels. It also has mild diuretic properties promoting urine production to flush out toxins from the body.

Asparagus is a key source of inulin. Inulin is a type of dietary fiber that supports healthy gut bacteria. Inulin inhibits bacterial endotoxins, which are attributed to certain gut diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).

Balsamic vinegar further enhances the nutritional value of asparagus. It contains calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and phosphorous to support your daily health.

According to the Diabetes Council, balsamic vinegar helps regulate blood sugar levels and promotes cardiovascular health.

Versatility in Meal Planning

Grilled balsamic asparagus shines in many delicious recipes and is the perfect veggie for any occasion. It is ideal for quick casual meals and elaborate dinners but also fits in well with most meal plans.

For example, you can incorporate your asparagus into a vegan or vegetarian diet, a low-carb or keto diet, a gluten-free diet, a Mediterranean diet, or a low-calorie diet.

Grilled balsamic asparagus also offers serving versatility. It is suitable as a standalone meal, side dish, or topping. It can be incorporated into your favorite salads, grain bowls, and pasta dishes or used as a yummy topping on pizzas.

Preparing the Asparagus for Grilling

Proper preparation is essential for unlocking the full potential of grilled balsamic asparagus. Before you lay the asparagus on the grill, there are various steps you should undertake to ensure you achieve a good char, tenderness, and great flavor.

The first step is determining how much asparagus you need per person. Then, proper preparation of your asparagus for grilling starts with selecting the freshest spears, trimming them, and finally, seasoning them.

Selecting Fresh Asparagus

Fresh asparagus is the key to the best flavor and texture. It impacts the overall taste and tenderness of your dish. Here are tips for choosing the best asparagus spears at the grocery store or farmers’ market:

  • Check the overall appearance of the asparagus. It should appear crisp, vibrant, and firm.
  • Fresh asparagus has a bright green color. Avoid bunches that appear dull or have yellowish or brown spots. It is an indication of aging and quality deterioration.
  • Check the tips. Fresh asparagus has tightly closed and compact tips.
  • Examine the stalks. You want the stalks to be firm and crisp. Avoid wilted asparagus or those that have slimy stalks.
  • Gently squeeze the bottom end of the spears to check for sponginess and softness, which may indicate that the asparagus is older and less fresh.
  • Check for signs indicating that the asparagus was recently harvested, such as moist ends and a dewy appearance.
  • Look for signs of dehydration. Avoid asparagus with shriveled or wrinkled stalks; it will have a less tender texture when grilled and may even dry out. Instead, choose asparagus that appears plump and tender.
  • Pay attention to the thickness of the asparagus spears. You want to go for thicker asparagus spears — about ½- ¾ inch in diameter. They hold up better on the grill and retain their structure without becoming overly soft. However, they take slightly longer to cook than their slimmer counterparts.
  • Opt for locally sourced asparagus. It is more likely to be fresh as there are shorter transport times.

Quick Note: Spears with a medium thickness balance a shorter grilling period and tenderness. Although grilling thin spears less than ¼-inch in diameter is possible, these are more delicate and tender.

As a result, thin spears tend to break easily when turned or wilt from the grill’s high heat. That said, if you can grill them, they cook quickly and have a tender texture. Ultimately, choosing asparagus thickness will depend on your preference and grilling skills.

Prepping the Asparagus

Now that you have selected the freshest asparagus, it’s time to prepare it for grilling. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Start by rinsing each asparagus spear thoroughly with cold running water to remove dirt and debris.
  2. Then, gently pat each asparagus spear dry with a kitchen towel or paper towel.
  3. If they are not trimmed yet, trim off the woody ends of the stalks. Trim one spear at a time. Hold the bottom of the spear and bend it until it naturally snaps. Discard the bottom, woody end.
  4. If you prefer, peel the stalks. This step is mostly applicable if the stalks have tough skin that may be fibrous when grilled. To achieve a more tender texture, use a vegetable peeler to lightly peel the stalks. Peel from just below the tip and work to the bottom portion of each asparagus stalk.
  5. Marinate and season the asparagus. Marinating infuses flavor into the asparagus. In the case of grilled balsamic asparagus, make a balsamic vinegar marinade.

Note that there are numerous vegetarian and vegan-friendly asparagus marinade alternatives. For example, lemon herb marinade, balsamic maple glaze, Asian-inspired sesame marinade, Mediterranean medley, and a spicy chili lime marinade.

The Ultimate Recipe for Grilled Balsamic Asparagus

Grilled asparagus on a white plate

Let’s get down to making some delicious grilled balsamic asparagus. Here is a simple recipe to try.


  • 1 bunch of fresh asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh chopped herbs (optional)


  1. Preheat the grill to medium high heat (375-400°F) for 10-15 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the balsamic vinegar marinade. Put the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, salt, and black pepper into a small bowl and whisk until well combined.
  3. Put the prepped asparagus spears into a shallow dish or a sealable plastic bag.
  4. Pour the marinade over the asparagus, ensuring it is well distributed over each spear.
  5. Let them marinate for 15-30 minutes at room temperature.
  6. Remove the asparagus from the marinade, shaking off any excess. Reserve the excess marinade for basting later during the grilling process.
  7. Place the marinated asparagus perpendicularly to the grill grates to prevent them from falling through.
  8. Grill for 5-10 minutes, occasionally turning and basting the asparagus until tender and slightly charred.
  9. Once done, transfer to a serving platter or baking dish.

Serving and Pairing Suggestions

Time to dig in! Check out my suggestions for plating and pairing your freshly grilled balsamic asparagus.

Grilled asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini on a wooden board

Plating the Grilled Balsamic Asparagus

There are various ways you can plate and present the grilled asparagus beautifully. For example, you can tie the grilled asparagus into small bunches using a blanched leek or chive.

You may also stack the grilled asparagus into a small tower-like formation. Add some visual interest by serving your asparagus with stylish plates and cutlery.

Garnishing also makes the grilled asparagus more appealing. For example, you can add colorful accents with roasted red peppers, cherry tomatoes, or edible flowers for a varying contrast. Or sprinkle freshly chopped herbs, toasted nuts and seeds, edible microgreens, sauce, or drizzle on the rest of the balsamic vinegar marinade.

Pairing With Other Dishes

Grilled balsamic asparagus goes well with grilled chicken or seafood, pasta dishes, grain salads, and bowls. Its versatility also pairs well with different cuisines. You can serve grilled balsamic asparagus as part of Mexican dishes, Middle Eastern delicacies, Asian-inspired dishes, and more.


It is not necessary to boil asparagus before grilling. But, if you prefer, you can boil it. Boiling is a way to precook it and achieve a more tender texture. However, if you do it for too long, it results in soggy asparagus.

Various factors can result in soggy grilled asparagus. The most common causes are overcooking, indirect grilling, and crowding the grill.

Asparagus should be blanched for 1-2 minutes in boiling water. Blanching helps you achieve your desired level of tenderness as it pre-cooks the asparagus. It also helps to preserve its vibrant green color during grilling.


Asparagus is a versatile vegetable, and there are many ways to prepare it. Grilled balsamic asparagus has a vibrant flavor and tender texture that goes well with different ingredients and meal plans.

Whether you serve it as a standalone dish or incorporate it into other dishes, you are in for a delightful treat.

Furthermore, grilled balsamic asparagus has numerous nutritional benefits. So, fire up the grill and make some balsamic asparagus to enjoy with your next meal.

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