(Gluten-free, soy-free)

Makes 4-6 servings

Asparagus shines when roasted until fork-tender, and the addition of toasted hazelnuts and a drizzle of balsamic reduction takes it over the top! This side dish looks far more complicated than it actually is. Make this simple dish and prepare to knock your loved ones’ socks off. A Chef Sara Boan recipe from the Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s Compassionate Cuisine program.


One 1-pound bunch fresh asparagus

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

¾ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2-4 tablespoons Balsamic Reduction (see below)

¼ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts


  1. Preheat the oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Line a baking tray with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Rinse the asparagus and pat it dry. Cut off the bottom two inches of the asparagus stalks, then arrange trimmed stalks in a single layer on the baking tray. Toss together with the olive oil, salt, and pepper, using your hands to mix until the asparagus is evenly and lightly coated. Transfer to the oven and roast for 12- 15 minutes, until the asparagus is just tender when pierced with a fork.
  3. Drizzle with Balsamic Reduction, sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts, and serve immediately.

To make the Balsamic Reduction:

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup balsamic vinegar to a boil. Allow to vigorously boil for 8-12 minutes, until reduced to roughly ½ cup and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. (Use your stove’s fan and open a window if you can. The vinegar fumes can be strong!) The reduction will thicken a bit as it cools. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.