Grilled Asparagus & Red Onions with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

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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

Printable Recipe

Serves 4


2 medium red onions, peeled
1 ½ pounds asparagus (about 24 medium stalks), ends trimmed*
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, best quality such as Fini
Disposable grill pan**


1. Preheat grill to high.

2. Prepare red onions: Cut onions in half from root to tip, then cut halves into ½-inch slices. Pull slices apart and tumble into disposable grill pan; toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

3. Prepare asparagus: Place spears in baking dish and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

4. Place pan of onions and asparagus spears on the grill (be sure to place spears perpendicular to grates so they don’t fall through!). Set asparagus dish next to grill (do not clean). Cover and cook vegetables for 2-3 minutes. Open cover and turn asparagus  (use tongs to press and roll). Cover and cook 1 -2 minutes more, until asparagus spears are nicely browned and tender-crisp. Remove asparagus from grill and place back in baking dish. Stir onions, cover, and continue cooking for about 15 – 25 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until tender and caramelized. In the meantime, transfer asparagus spears to cutting board and cut into 1½-inch pieces. Place back in baking dish and toss with finished grilled onions. Add sugar and balsamic vinegar and toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (I usually add a good ¼ teaspoon more salt). Transfer to serving platter and serve hot or room temperature.

*To trim ends, bend one spear near its base to see where it naturally snaps off. Use a knife to trim remaining spears to the same length.


**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.

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  • Healthy and delicious!!!!! wonderful!

  • This was absolutely yummy. I didn’t have red onions, so I used vidalia, and it came out great!

  • Shannon

    This is mouthwatering delicious!

  • Asha Rao

    Simple and easy to make…good balsamic vinegar is the key to this dish. Thank You!

  • Kathy

    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!)

  • I add sweet potatoes, cut small, to this for another dimension. Sooo good and your guest will be amazed at your cooking prowess.

  • Eliza

    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.

  • Tejal Ellis

    I absolutely loved it!!!

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