This simple bacon and blue cheese asparagus is perfect for holidays or date night! Topped with crispy bacon and creamy blue cheese for an easy side dish that's simple to make but feels rich and elegant.
You knowwww those days when you feel like you should eat a vegetable, but you also feel like that vegetable should maybe be covered in bacon and cheese? (Yup. You are for sure our people).
This easy (but elegant!) asparagus recipe is the perfect blend of bright spring veggies and rich, cozy toppings. It's also ultra-simple: Just crisp up some bacon in a skillet, sauté a bunch of asparagus in the bacon drippings, and add a handful of blue cheese for a quick, hearty side dish.
Ingredients You'll Need
A few quick notes on ingredients before you dive in:
- Wash your asparagus (use fresh, in-season spring asparagus if you can!) and trim or snap off any tough, woody ends.
- Dice up a few strips of bacon - it will cook more quickly and be easier to scatter over the final dish if it's diced (vs. cooking full strips of bacon).
- Crumbled blue cheese gives an earthy, tangy flavor to this asparagus recipe.
For a full list of ingredients and exact quantities, scroll to the recipe card below.
Swaps and Substitutions
This is a pretty simple side dish, but there are still a few ways to riff on this base recipe! Some of our favorite variations:
- Swap the asparagus for green beans, broccoli florets, diced butternut squash, or other veggies if you like (the bacon and blue cheese combo goes well with just about any vegetables you have on hand!)
- Sauté some thinly sliced onion or shallot in the bacon fat before you add the asparagus.
- Add extra toppings. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar glaze or hot honey give this dish an extra punch of flavor. You can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a handful of toasted walnuts or almonds!
- Swap the blue cheese for crumbled gorgonzola, goat cheese, or feta. You can also use shaved or shredded parmesan or asiago cheeses here if you prefer, or serve this asparagus over a swirl of whipped feta or whipped goat cheese.
How to Make This Asparagus
First, Cook the Bacon
Start by crisping up your bacon in a large cast iron skillet (Image 1, below). We recommend using a 10-12" cast iron skillet (in these photos, we used a 10" skillet); you can also use a stainless steel or nonstick skillet if you prefer.
Cook the bacon bits until they're nice and crispy (Image 2, above), then use a slotted spoon to remove them to a separate bowl (Image 3, below).
Set the bacon aside while you cook the asparagus (you'll add the bacon bits as a topping later on!)
Remove Extra Bacon Grease
When the bacon is cooked and set aside, take a look at how much grease is left in your skillet. We'll use some of our leftover bacon grease to cook our asparagus in the next step, but you don't need a ton of it: Just a thin layer on the bottom of the skillet is plenty (too much bacon fat can make the asparagus greasy and oily).
Take a moment to carefully pour any extra grease into a bowl or a glass measuring cup (Image 4, below).
Keep just a thin layer - about 1-2 teaspoons - of bacon grease in the skillet (Image 5, above). Use an oven mitt here - the pan and the bacon fat will be hot!
Cook the Asparagus
Return the skillet to the stove over medium high heat. Gently tip the asparagus into the hot pan (Image 6, below) and add a pinch of salt.
Let it cook for 5-10 minutes, using tongs to toss the asparagus occasionally, until the veggies are bright green (Image 7, above).
Try not to disturb the asparagus too much while it cooks - we want to let it develop a nice char if possible:
Add Toppings and Serve
When the asparagus is cooked, it's time to assemble! Transfer asparagus to a serving platter (Image 8, below), then top with crispy bacon and a sprinkle of blue cheese crumbles.
Plating Tip: We like to arrange the asparagus in a relatively straight line and add a single line of toppings down the center (Image 9, below). This method makes for a beautiful presentation, but it also makes it a little easier to transfer the asparagus to individual plates without knocking all of the toppings off!
Store cooled asparagus in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, spread asparagus on a large baking sheet and bake at 350° F for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through. (Any remaining blue cheese may melt in the oven - leave it as is or add some fresh blue cheese crumbles after the asparagus is reheated!) You can also dice up leftover cheesy bacon asparagus and mix it into a frittata, quiche, or omelette (these leftovers are excellent in our easy leek frittata!) We do not recommend freezing this recipe as it can alter the texture too much.
Yes! Omit the bacon and sauté asparagus in a Tablespoon of butter or olive oil instead of the bacon fat. If you skip the bacon, we recommend adding some chopped, toasted nuts (walnuts, almonds, and pistachios are all good) as a topping so you still have plenty of that crispy texture.
More Spring and Summer Side Dish Ideas
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This simple bacon and blue cheese asparagus is easy to make but elegant enough for holidays and date nights!
- 2 strips thick-cut bacon, diced
- 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed (about 12-14 large spears, often the amount that comes in one bunch at the grocery store)
- salt to taste
- ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
Cook the Bacon:
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced bacon and cook, stirring frequently, for 6-10 minutes until crispy.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer crispy bacon bits from the skillet to a small bowl. Set aside.
- Carefully pour excess bacon fat from the skillet into a separate bowl or measuring cup, leaving a thin layer (about 1-2 teaspoons) of fat in the skillet. Save or discard this extra bacon fat.
Cook the Asparagus:
- Return skillet to the stove over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and a pinch of salt. Cook, flipping occasionally, for 8-10 minutes until asparagus is bright green and lightly charred. Asparagus spears should be softened and cooked through but should still have a bit of a bite to them at the center. Note: If you like your asparagus softer or more well-done, you can extend the cook time here.
- Transfer cooked asparagus to a serving platter. Top with the crispy bacon you made earlier and a sprinkle of crumbled blue cheese. Serve immediately.
Additions and Substitutions. Use green beans, broccoli, or another favorite seasonal veggie instead of asparagus here if you like. Swap the blue cheese for gorgonzola, goat cheese, feta, or parmesan. Add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, hot honey, or a squeeze of lemon juice to the finished dish for extra flavor. Top with toasted nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios) or caramelized onions. Omit the bacon and cook the asparagus in a bit of butter or olive oil for a vegetarian dish.
Cooking time may vary slightly depending on the size of your asparagus spears - just keep an eye on it while it cooks!
- Serving Size: For 4 servings
- Calories: 111
- Sugar: 2.3 g
- Sodium: 482.3 mg
- Fat: 8.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 4.8 g
- Protein: 6.1 g
- Cholesterol: 15.6 mg
Keywords: side dish, thanksgiving, sides, entertaining