Roasted Asparagus with Caramelized Onions & Blue Cheese


Asparagus has been a favorite of mine since back in the day when we picked it wild, growing along the side of country roads. Grilled, roasted, steamed, or stir-fried it is welcome at our table. Thankfully, it was one of the vegetables our kids would eat, though somewhere along our homeschooling journey they read that asparagus heads can be toxic and refused to eat them. They were happy to munch on the rest of the stem, but the tips were always left behind. Pretty sure it was the texture that turned them off, but they were adamant in their reasoning. It’s funny what stays with kidsnot sure if they remember all the states and capitals, but the possibility of being poisoned by asparagus, stuck.

Okay. Don’t eat the heads. Whatever.

Like any parent happy their kids would eat any part of a vegetable, we decided that wasn’t a hill to die on and accepted the rejected heads. Besides, I’m happy to trade ya a spear for your heads. 😉

In the wide world of side dishes, roasted asparagus is my go-to side because it pairs well with grilled, roasted, or braised meats, and its distinct flavor needs little more than extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Though traditionally served with hollandaise, which is glorious, it doesn’t have to have heavy sauces to be elegant. In this recipe, caramelized onions add a delicate sweetness and balance the tangy blue cheese, while pine nuts bring an extra dimension of texture. It is a simple, yet gorgeous dish for a dinner party or dinner with a few friends on the patio.

Since the recipe starts with caramelizing onions, which takes an hour to reach deeply browned splendor, there’s lots of time to tend to the main course. I’m not even sure this should be called a recipe at all; it’s more like an idea, a notion of combining separate delicious things into a single bowl of inspired goodness. One more way to serve asparagus, one more way to enjoy caramelized onions, and one more reason to carve off a hunk of Blue cheese before it goes bad. (I’ve always wondered how anyone would know when Blue cheese went bad…) Blue, Gorgonzola, or feta cheese all work here—the amount is up to you.

For information about storing, prepping, and cooking asparagus, check out my earlier post Asparagus: Coveted Spears of Spring.

Roasted Asparagus w Caramelized Onions & Blue Cheese (close-up) | Savoring Today

Roasted Asparagus with Caramelized Onions & Blue Cheese
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil -- melted
  • Caramelized Onions (see recipe below)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts -- or more as desired
  • ½ cup blue cheese -- or more as desired
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  1. Begin caramelizing the onions first, as that will take the longest. (See Caramelized Onoin recipe.)
  2. Position top oven rack approximately 12 inches under broiler and turn broiler on HI. Prepare asparagus by trimming fibrous ends, about 2 inches from the bottom. Discard ends and cut the remaining stalks into 2 inch pieces. Arrange asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet so it is spread out a little without crowding. Drizzle with oil and using your hands, roll asparagus to coat well. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Set asparagus under the broiler for 10-12 minutes, checking every few minutes until lightly browned in spots and crisp tender. Cook slightly longer if a softer texture is preferred.
  4. When asparagus and onions are done, toss together in a large bowl with pine nuts and top with blue cheese crumbles.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Serves 4

Caramelized Onions
Serves / Yields: Approximately ¾ cup
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2½ cups sweet yellow onion -- sliced (Vidalia or Maui type, if available)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon coconut palm sugar (optional) -- or other unrefined sweetener
  1. Heat olive oil and butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until oil covers the pan evenly and is hot. Add the sliced onions and stir enough to coat the onions with the oil and butter. Continue to cook onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally until onions begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
  2. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt and unrefined sugar, spread onions evenly over bottom of skillet, reduce heat to low.
  3. Allow onions to gently caramelize over the next hour, stirring occasionally to ensure they caramelize evenly. Onions should be deep, golden brown when done.
Notes & Suggestions
When using Vidalia, Maui, or other super sweet onions, omit any sweeteners, as they are not necessary. There is no exact time when the magic happens, some let onions caramelize for up to 2 hours. Caramelized onions can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or frozen until ready to use.

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26 Responses to Roasted Asparagus with Caramelized Onions & Blue Cheese

  1. Hotly Spiced July 23, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    What a lovely looking asparagus dish. So much colour! I love asparagus but it’s not in season right now which is a shame. The asparagus would be wonderful with the cheese and the caramelised onions – yum! xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..Japan City, ChatswoodMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell July 30, 2013 at 9:27 am #

      I look forward to asparagus season almost as much as peach season in the summer … so yum!

  2. Nusrat Azim July 24, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    Sounds and smells inviting, alluring :) Lovely flavor combo. Gorgeous pictures. Adorable recipe :)
    Nusrat Azim recently posted..Symphony of Shrimp & SpinachMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell July 30, 2013 at 9:28 am #

      Thanks Nusrat, it is all those things, you have a lovely way with words dear. :)

  3. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef July 24, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    I’d take the whole plate and call it dinner. I love this!
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef recently posted..Easy MacaronsMy Profile

  4. Karen (Back Road Journal) July 24, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    The photo alone makes you want to prepare this…love the mixture of flavors and textures.
    Karen (Back Road Journal) recently posted..The Loon, A Magnificent BirdMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell July 30, 2013 at 9:30 am #

      Thanks Karen, been working on the photos … that is what we want right?!

  5. Giovanna July 24, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    Looks delicious! I love asparagus 😉 thanks for sharing!
    Giovanna recently posted..In the summer timeMy Profile

  6. john@kitchenriffs July 24, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    I’ve always wondered when anyone would know blue cheese has gone bad too! Anyway super dish – lovely flavors. And I’ll be eating my asparagus heads, thank you very much. 😉
    john@kitchenriffs recently posted..The Cuba Libre CocktailMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell July 30, 2013 at 9:33 am #

      I’ve only pitched it once, when it just didn’t smell right … call it a hunch. 😉

  7. mimi July 24, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    I love this recipe, and especially the addition of pine nuts!
    mimi recently posted..Berry’d CrespellaMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell July 30, 2013 at 9:34 am #

      Thanks! I know I don’t highlight the pine nuts in the title or the post, but they really do bring a wonderful texture. :)

  8. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen July 24, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    How gorgeous and decadent does this dish look?! I love every ingredient and have pinned it so I can give it a try. I love asparagus, poisonous or not:)
    Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen recently posted..Boho Gypsy Sling Bag with Leather Belt StrapsMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell July 30, 2013 at 9:37 am #

      Thanks Smidge! Hope your week is going well.

  9. My Kitchen Stories July 28, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    A delicious combination that I am sure would go with so many things……or just alone. Funny your kids thought they might be poisoned when you were munching on the heads and living to tell the tail
    My Kitchen Stories recently posted..The road trip My Kitchen Stories and 3 ItaliansMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell July 28, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

      I know, right?! Absolute silliness, but it turned into an inside joke after a while. Life at the table is like sometimes.

  10. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book July 30, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    I am not a big blue cheese fan but and a big asparagus fan – what a fantastic dish – I could always sub the cheese out with something a little milder.
    :-) Mandy xo
    Mandy – The Complete Cook Book recently posted..Orange Poppy Seed MuffinsMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell July 30, 2013 at 9:40 am #

      Hi Mandy, thanks for stopping by. It can really depend on the brand for me. The sweetness of the onions needs a little balance of saltiness the blue cheese brings, but I think feta would be good too. :)

  11. Pure Complex July 31, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    You are completely making me day with recipes that have bleu cheese in it :). I have to print this one out to make Next Monday when I’m off of work. Delish
    Pure Complex recently posted..Design / A Teenager’s SuiteMy Profile

  12. mjskit August 5, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    What a delicious side dish! The caramelized onion with the bleu cheese sounds wonderful!
    mjskit recently posted..Red Chile PasteMy Profile

  13. Lizzy (Good Things) September 8, 2013 at 1:07 am #

    Judy, we are coming into asparagus season now! Bookmarking this beautiful recipe.
    Lizzy (Good Things) recently posted..On Eton Mess and MeringuesMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell September 8, 2013 at 8:28 am #

      Oh good! Asparagus season means springtime around here ~ love the new life of spring!

  14. Mandy - The Complete Book March 18, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    Fantastic recipe, well except I don’t eat blue cheese, no matter, I can easily swap that out with something a little lighter. I love asparagus. Scrumptious.
    Have a super day Judy.
    :-) Mandy xo
    Mandy – The Complete Book recently posted..More Running updatesMy Profile

  15. Adri April 12, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

    Well, call it a recipe, an idea or a even a concept, this dish is making an appearance on my table soon. It looks wonderful!

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