Meatless Monday – Grilled Asparagus with Candied Lemon Yogurt Sauce

Grilled Asparagus with Candied Lemon Yogurt Sauce

Celebrate spring by savoring the culinary treasures that pop up during this season. Even with the dreary weather outside, this recipe for Grilled Asparagus with Candied Lemon Yogurt Sauce will brighten your day with its vibrant colors and zesty flavors.

1 bunch asparagus, 2 to 3 inches of the fibrous stems trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
1 lemon
⅔ cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups water
¾ cup whole yogurt
Pinch cayenne pepper
¼ cup pine nuts or sunflower seeds, toasted in a dry pan for 4 to 6 minutes

Place the trimmed asparagus stalks in a shallow dish or on a sheet pan. Drizzle the stalks with the olive oil, salt, and pepper; toss to combine.

Remove the lemon’s outer layer of zest with a vegetable peeler and place those strips in a small sauce pot with the sugar, 1 tablespoon salt, and water. Set the pot over medium heat and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes. Drain the lemon zest from the liquid and allow it to cool completely. Mince the lemon zest and add it to the yogurt along with the cayenne pepper.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Place the asparagus stalks across the grill’s grates in a single layer and cook for 7 to 9 minutes, rolling the asparagus to achieve even grill marks on all sides.

Spread the three-quarters of the yogurt mixture on the bottom of a large platter and arrange the asparagus on top. Drizzle the remainder of the yogurt over the asparagus then sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds.

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Kerry Stanton is a recipe writer, culinary instructor, and restaurant consultant. She writes for Dirty Water Media and the Boston Herald. “I will not settle for anything less than exceptional food at every meal. This doesn’t mean that I demand excessive extravagance or prized ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner - I just want well-cooked, properly seasoned food, presented beautifully. I think we all deserve this much.”