This simply prepared sweet onion oven roasted asparagus is a flavorful side dish that takes no time to whip up for a casual weeknight dinner and is elegant enough for company!
Main dishes get all the love in this world. But a thoughtfully-prepared side dish can complement your entrée and really make your meal feel complete.
Most of the time, not too much is really required to make a knockout side dish. Vegetables are pretty amazing on their own, and if you do something that enhances and complements the natural flavor of the veggies you’re cooking, you really don’t need to mess with them too much. A little butter or olive oil and some spices, combined with not overcooking the vegetables, is really all it takes to make a memorable side.
One day a few years ago, I was at The Spice and Tea Exchange (one of my favorite places in all the land) ogling at all the flavored sugars they had. They had little spoons with each one so you could taste them all: vanilla sugar, blueberry sugar, chocolate sugar, espresso sugar. All were delicious, but the one that stood out to me was onion sugar. That’s right, onion sugar.
I bought a small bag, not knowing what I was going to do with it.
I hung onto it for a while before deciding it would pair wonderfully with some oven roasted asparagus – and I was right!
I haven’t bought any more of the actual onion-flavored sugar, but combining onion powder and sugar in this recipe gives a very similar effect and is something you probably already have in your pantry. And salt and pepper rounds out the whole thing.
I made it this way with some of this foil packet salmon not too long ago and it was a great combo! I just cooked the salmon for a few minutes first, took the pan out, added the asparagus, and popped it back in the oven. Everything was done at the same time and I only had to use one sheet pan!
The oven time and temperature is just enough to brown the tips and edges of your asparagus while still leaving the vegetable perfectly tender-crisp. And your homemade onion sugar will get all caramelized and delicious.
Be sure to adjust your cooking time depending on how thick your asparagus is! I like to find asparagus that’s about the size of my pinky finger – too much thicker and it tends to be very fibrous, and thinner stalks are easy to overcook and can get stringy if you’re not careful. Take the asparagus out of the oven not long after you can start to smell it, and test a piece for doneness.
Menu Suggestions for Sweet Onion Oven Roasted Asparagus
Pair with other easy-but-elegant mains and sides for an impressive meal you can serve company or whip up on a weeknight!
Sweet Onion Roasted Asparagus
- 1 bunch asparagus about a pound, stalks about as big around as your pinky finger
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Snap ends of asparagus by holding each piece in the middle and at the end. Bend until it snaps on its own. Repeat for the whole bunch of asparagus and discard ends. This will get rid of the woody, fiberous ends without getting rid of the good part!
- Mix together sugar, onion powder, kosher salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.
- On a sheet pan, toss together asparagus with olive oil and spice mix. Bake for 10-12 minutes, just until tender (time will vary depending on how thick your asparagus is). Take it out of the oven not long after you can start to smell it and test a piece for doneness.