Grilled Asparagus & Red Onions with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

Asparagus red onion 1

Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Grilled asparagus and grilled red onions are both fine dishes on their own – simple, delicious accompaniments to just about anything – but together they’re even better. The distinct green flavor of slightly charred asparagus marries beautifully with mildly sweet caramelized red onions and, as you can see, it’s as pretty as food can be.

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For the asparagus, simply toss the spears with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook directly on the grill. For best results, buy medium or thick asparagus. They’ll brown nicely and maintain a tender-crisp bite.

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The red onions are prepared much the same way: thick slices are coated with olive oil, salt and pepper and then grilled to tender, sweet perfection. They take a bit longer to cook but have patience, the payoff in flavor is worth it.

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To put it all together, cut the grilled asparagus into bite-sized pieces, toss with the grilled red onions and brighten the flavors with a little balsamic vinegar and sugar.

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Delicious, healthy, and you gotta love the colors. Enjoy!

Asparagus red onion

Grilled Asparagus & Red Onions with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 medium red onions, peeled
  • 1-1/2 pounds asparagus (about 24 medium stalks), ends trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Disposable grill pan (see note)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the grill to high.
  2. Prepare the red onions: Cut onions in half from root to tip, then cut the halves into ½-inch slices. Pull the slices apart and place them into a disposable grill pan. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  3. Prepare the asparagus: Place the spears in a baking dish and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  4. Place the pan of onions on the grill, along with the asparagus spears (be sure to place spears perpendicular to grates so they don't fall through). Set the asparagus dish next to the grill (do not clean). Cover and cook the vegetables for 2-3 minutes. Open the cover and, using tongs, turn the asparagus. Cover and cook 1 -2 minutes more, until the asparagus spears are nicely browned and tender-crisp. Remove the asparagus from the grill and place back in the baking dish. Stir the onions, cover, and continue cooking for about 15 - 25 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until tender and caramelized. In the meantime, transfer the asparagus spears to a cutting board and cut into 1½-inch pieces. Place back in the baking dish and toss with finished grilled onions. Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary (I usually add a good ¼ teaspoon more salt). Transfer to serving platter and serve hot or room temperature.
  5. Note: Make your own disposable grill pan. Shape two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil over a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Remove foil from pan.

Reviews & Comments

  • If you can’t grill, what would be another good way to cook the asparagus?

    - London on October 30, 2014 Reply
    • Hi London, You can definitely broil it.

      - Jenn on October 30, 2014 Reply
  • Making this for our Memorial Day BBQ! Your website is my go-to place for great recipes when I’m entertaining or just for the family. Thank you!

    - Beth on May 26, 2014 Reply
    • So nice to hear, Beth! Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on May 26, 2014 Reply
  • I absolutely loved it!!!

    - Tejal Ellis on February 25, 2014 Reply
  • Great recipe! Didn’t have the balsamic vinegar (I know it is the key of the recipe), but used red wine vinegar instead and it turned out to be an amazing dish. Thanks for sharing! Will definitely do this again.

    - Eliza on March 26, 2013 Reply
  • I add sweet potatoes, cut small, to this for another dimension. Sooo good and your guest will be amazed at your cooking prowess.

    - Debbie on May 16, 2012 Reply
  • This is a great way to eat asparagus. We love grilled vegetables of all kinds, and we eat asparagus weekly when it is in season. I love it with cheese sauce, but often want a more healthier version. This recipe did it for me. The sweetness of the grilled onions and balsamic vinegar added just the right touch to make it a very special side dish to any meal. We had it with grilled filet mignons topped with gorgonzola cheese. Thanks for this tasty recipe. ( I tried a small portion size of this during the winter on my panini grill, and it turned out very tasty—not like the outdoor grill, but a welcome treat on a cold winter day!)

    - Kathy on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • Simple and easy to make…good balsamic vinegar is the key to this dish. Thank You!

    - Asha Rao on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • This is mouthwatering delicious!

    - Shannon on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • This was absolutely yummy. I didn’t have red onions, so I used vidalia, and it came out great!

    - Chris Tucker on May 11, 2010 Reply
  • Healthy and delicious!!!!! wonderful!

    - leslie on April 29, 2010 Reply

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