The arrival of spring is exciting on many levels. Warm weather, sunshine, flowers blooming, trees getting leaves, sandals… I look forward to these things all winter. But for me, perhaps the most exciting thing about spring is fresh spring produce. There are only so many potatoes and citrus fruits you can eat before you start craving the delicate green produce that spring offers.
So when I checked my HEB flyer last week and saw that asparagus was on sale for 97 cents (97 cents!!), I knew spring had finally sprung.
And so, this recipe was born- a simple three-ingredient side dish that tastes as decadent (and delicious) as it sounds. My three greatest loves on one plate! Bacon Wrapped Asparagus with Goat Cheese. It couldn’t be easier to make, yet it’s super fancy looking, which makes it perfect if you want to impress some dinner guests. You need to make this as soon as humanly possible.
The flavors are so rich and complex that, even though this is a side dish, you’ll want to pair it with a relatively simple main. Simple seared chicken breasts or fish seasoned only with salt and pepper would be perfect.
First, you should wash and trim your asparagus. I usually just snap the ends off where they naturally break. After washing it, pat it dry. This will ensure the tips get super crispy and roasted in your oven.
Give the asparagus a light coating of olive oil, salt, and pepper. You don’t need much- this is mostly to ensure it’s properly seasoned and the entire length of the asparagus crisps up. The flavor and fat from the bacon will also infuse into the asparagus while it cooks.
Divide the asparagus into eight even groups. I’m a bit OCD when it comes to perfect portioning, so I like to do this in advance so each bundle is the exact same size. If you are a risk-taker, you can just divide them up as you go (but please don’t tell me about that unless you want to make me go crazy!).
Now- in case you were thinking that this was going to be ridiculously unhealthy because of the bacon, here’s where I’m going to make your day! Each bundle only requires 1/2 a strip of bacon. That’s it! Considering how easy it is to take down 2, 3, or 4 slices when it’s served at breakfast… this is a pretty moderate way to enjoy one of the greatest foods on earth.
I used thick sliced bacon. It holds up better and is just tastier, in my opinion. Any kind of bacon will work. And as much as I would like to say to try and get bacon without added sugar, since it’s healthier… I actually don’t recommend it for this recipe. The slight sweetness of the bacon helps balance the bitterness of the asparagus and the tanginess of the goat cheese. Oh goodness, it’s good. But don’t worry: it will still be pretty darn tasty with sugarless bacon!
All you do now is wrap each bundle in the bacon and place on a parchment covered rimmed baking sheet to roast. The bacon will stick to itself and create a secure asparagus bundle- no need to add a toothpick or skewer for support. I wrapped it on a slight diagonal in order to cover more of the asparagus with the bacon.
Roasting will take about 30 minutes at 425 degrees F. When it’s done, transfer the asparagus bundles to a serving plate and sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese. This is where it gets ridiculously tasty. The goat cheese will become melty and stick to every delicious bite. You’ll want a fork and knife to eat these to ensure you get a bit of bacon and goat cheese with every bite of asparagus.
One quick trick when it comes to crumbling goat cheese: if you’ve ever tried it, you’ve likely become frustrated because it’s so soft and doesn’t exactly “crumble” per se (even though so many recipes call for crumbled goat cheese!). I suggest sticking it in the freezer for a few minutes before using it- that way you’ll be able to divide it up a bit easier without it smushing so much.
It’s 8:04 am right now and I really want some of this after writing about it. Seems like an appropriate breakfast food… right?
This recipe is almost Paleo/Whole30 compliant. Just use bacon without added sugar and omit the goat cheese to make it paleo. Although, some people on a Paleo-ish diet will actually eat goat cheese, since it’s not made from cow’s milk. It’s considered healthier, especially since conventional cow’s milk often has added hormones. I like this exception to the rule. I’m going to stick to it :-)
Recipe below- enjoy!
Bacon Wrapped Asparagus with Goat Cheese
- 1 bunch asparagus trimmed and washed and patted dry
- 4 slices bacon cut in half
- 2 oz. goat cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Season asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and mix well to coat in a bowl.
- Divide the asparagus into 8 equal portions.
- Wrap each portion in 1/2 piece of bacon and place on prepared baking sheet.
- Roast for 30 minutes, or until bacon is beginning to brown and asparagus is getting crispy.
- While it's cooking, put the goat cheese in the freezer so it's easier to crumble.
- Transfer asparagus bundles to a serving plate and sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese.