Grilled Asparagus Plate & Cilantro Pepita Pesto

Grilled Asparagus Plate & Cilantro Pepita Pesto

Tender, smoky, and sweet, this grilled asparagus is best served on a generous pillow of cilantro pesto, a healthy 15-minute side dish.

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, about 1 1/2 lbs. (medium-thickness stalks)
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup toasted pepitas

Cilantro pepita pesto

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup toasted pepitas
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 jalapeno (keep a few seeds for heat)
  • 1/4 tsp. chipotle powder, to taste
  • one large bunch (about 4 super packed cups) of cilantro, ends cut, the stem is fine
  • juice of two large limes
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • splash of water

 Heat your grill, or indoor grill, over medium heat.

Cut off the dry bits of the asparagus and use a vegetable peeler to gently shave the end stalks. Toss the asparagus in the olive oil and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Grill the asparagus, covered, turning a few times, for about 7-9 minutes. Time will vary based on the thickness of the stalks. I like mine on the snappy side.

To make the pesto, pulse the garlic, toasted pepitas, and sea salt in a food processor to chop. Add the jalapeno, chipotle, cilantro, and lime juice and run the processor to combine. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive and a splash of water. Taste and adjust as you wish. Add more chipotle for heat, citrus juice, and/or salt to brighten it, and water if you prefer it thinner.

Serve the asparagus on a generous pillow of cilantro pesto. Garnish with the minced red onion and toasted pepitas. Serve warm or at room temperature.