Asparagus never had it so good: Grilled Asparagus Stromboli

grilled-asparagus-stromboli

Smoky grilled goodness, sweet caramelized onion, a hint of sharp cheese. Next time you’re grilling, grill up some extra asparagus for stromboli, a super simple dinner any night of the week, great for parties on the deck or at the beach.

Stromboli, or “boli” as they are known, are gaining in popularity. They have been a long-time staple in many areas of the country, but are unheard of in others, rather like the New England Whoopie Pie or southern Sweet Tea. Stromboli is flavorful pizza dough literally wrapped around a filling, often quite similar to pizza toppings. Popular stromboli are pepperoni, sauce and cheese, or salami and cheese. Today, with eyes on summer and bathing suit season, we are going with the vegetarian option. Besides, asparagus is out in force and nothing beats fresh asparagus in season.

The best asparagus I ever had came from a roadside stand, actually more of a table really, set up at the end of the farmer’s driveway. The table held bunches of asparagus, a coffee can, and a sign with the price per bunch. There was no one attending the table, it was strictly honor system. Those thin, tender sweet stalks  were simply divine and I ate them with my fingers. Even Miss Manners says you can eat asparagus with your fingers, so I’m good. Of course, I probably break more of her rules than I follow, so it’s good to know I meet the mark once in awhile.

The worst asparagus I ever had was on my honeymoon cruise. The menu described the appetizer as “tender asparagus wrapped in ham, with a delicate creamy white dressing”. What I got was CANNED asparagus wrapped in limp boiled deli ham with a squirt of mayonnaise on top. You could almost make out the ridges on the mayo from the edges of the foil packet they must have squeezed it  from.  Needless to say, it was awful. (Between you, me and the lamppost the whole trip was pretty awful, but that’s a story for another time).

One of my mother’s favorite dinners in spring is steamed asparagus on buttered toast. That’s it. No meat, no sides. Asparagus, butter and toast. Pretty darned good in my book. She also used to make a killer Pasta Primavera with fresh asparagus and early sweet peas. The days of wine and heavy cream ended with my dad’s first bypass, but we all remember that dish fondly, and I’ve never quite been able to duplicate it. Besides, it’s better to have Dad here than any food in the world.

It wasn’t until more recent years that we began cooking asparagus on the grill.  My husband David got one of those veggie grilling trays for Christmas, and we grilled everything we could get our hands on. I discovered that leftover grilled asparagus, caramelized onions and Italian sausage made for one dynamic pizza and that became the inspiration for this stromboli. Now when we buy asparagus for the two of us, we need to buy at least 2 pounds to make sure there is enough for all the treats we want to make.

Well, now that you are just dyin’ to have some asparagus, let’s get started on our Grilled Asparagus Stromboli. First, the dough.

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Check out our new weighing station in the test kitchen. This was Susan Reid’s special project, and it rocks! Scales, bowls, measures, pitchers, everything you need to measure out all your ingredients in one place.  Thanks a million Susan!

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This dough can be made by hand or in your bread machine on the dough cycle. In goes the flour, water, yeast, Pizza Dough Flavor, garlic oil (or olive oil) and salt.

If you look closely at this picture, you won’t be able to see the salt. Not because it’s at the bottom, it’s because I forgot it. Keep that in mind when we get to some of the final pictures, there’s a lesson to be learned here.

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For this recipe, one pound of asparagus works well. You can grill the whole pound and then snack on some while you assemble and still have plenty for the filling. Oil the trimmed spears and place on the hot grill. Cover and grill for several minutes, turning occasionally. Our panini grill would also work beautifully for this.

You can place several thick slices of onion on the grill at the same time if you have room, or you may have to grill in stages.

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The finished asparagus will be tender, and well caramelized and very very fragrant.

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If you don’t have a grill or if you are still buried in snow, you can roast the asparagus and onions on a sheet pan in the oven.

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Wash and trim the asparagus, add the onion in large chunks. Drizzle oil over the whole pile of veggies, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and roast in a 300°F oven. The timing will depend on the size of your veggies, but plan on at least 30-40 minutes.

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Nothing smells so good as caramelized onions! The sweet/smoky flavor is really going to make this ‘boli sing. Set the veggies aside to cool slightly. You could even do this step a day or two ahead of time and then just warm the veggies before using for the filling.

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Here’s our dough, ready to go. If you used the dough cycle on your bread machine, that will include the mix, knead and first rise. If you did the dough by hand, this would be after the first rise.

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Gently pat the dough into a rough rectangle. For ease in rolling, let it rest for 5 minutes before beginning to roll, to let the gluten relax.

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Roll the rectangle to 10″ x 15″, approximately. This is a rustic type of bread, so don’t worry about being too precise. The dough should be about 1/8″ thick.

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While I love to use freshly grated cheese on top of pizzas and pasta, a pre-packaged cheese blend can offer you a lot of flavor for a small investment. I like the 6 cheese blend, but use what you are happy with.

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Spread the cheese in an even layer over the dough. Leave 1″ uncovered  around the edges for sealing the dough.

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Add the grilled veggies.

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I happen to love artichoke hearts, so I’ve added one small jar, drained. Break up the hearts with your fingers and distribute the leaves evenly over the veggies. If you aren’t a fan, just leave the hearts out.

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Beginning on one of the 15″ sides, roll the stromboli up, cinnamon bun style.  Keep the tension even and tuck in any stray bits that try to escape out the sides. Remember, you want this bread to rise again, so avoid too tight a roll, or you’ll get thin spots in the dough and blow-out in the oven.

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When you reach the end, pinch the end seams well.

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And use your fingers to press the long seam firmly. Seams are weak spots and you need to seal them well so that the steam doesn’t blow them open.

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Place the ‘boli seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet and rub the surface with garlic oil or olive oil. Garlic oil is olive oil that has been infused with garlic, so it adds another layer of flavor to your stromboli.

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Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 40-45 minutes. Be sure your oven gets preheated to 400°F  during this time.

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Bonus! A little bit of artichoke heart escaped the ‘boli. Guess I’ll just have to eat it myself!

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Checking the dough, you’ll see that the ends are nice and puffy. You can see that I have a bit of a thin spot on the side, we may see some leakage here during the bake.

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Remember the missing salt? Well, one of the biggest benefits of salt in yeast dough, besides flavor is that it keep the yeast from consuming all the sugars during the fermentation/rise periods so that during the bake there are still sugars left to brown.

Not knowing that the salt was missing at the time, I baked this ‘boli a bit long. I checked it for browning, nothing. I checked again and again until it finally dawned on me that the bread HAD to be done, and there must be something else going on. Sure enough, the dough was dull, pale and bland. Bingo! No salt.

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The filling however, was just beautiful and really saved this bread from disaster. We just sprinkled Maldon salt on individual servings to compensate, but learn from my mistake and add that salt!

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Here’s my stromboli from a later date, with salt added. See the difference in the browning? The dough had better structure too, no thin spots or holes.

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Serve the stromboli hot, with marinara for dipping. The sweetness of the onion and asparagus pairs beautifully with the creaminess of the cheeses and the tang of the tomato sauce. Despite its size, this bread will disappear in no time. Good thing they are so easy to make. Stromboli also freezes beautifully, so you can make and bake several with different fillings for parties and as the lucky host, keep all the leftovers for yourself for those lazy summer nights. Just be sure to tell the mosquitoes to find their own meal!

Please bake, rate and review our recipe for Grilled Asparagus Stromboli.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. Amy

    My asparagus started popping up this week in the garden. If the weather is nice I should have enough fresh asparagus to try this recipe out next week. DH doesn’t like asparagus, so more for me!
    Lucky you! We are always fighting over those last few spears. Luckily, my DH doesn’t like lobster, so I get to have those to myself. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  2. Alissa

    This looks amazing. We love boli and asparagus. I am asked to make Chicken Asparagus Pasta (cooked chicken, asparagus, penne drained and tossed with olive oil/lemon juice/garlic mixture and then topped with bread crumbs) at least once a week. Will have to try this soon. The outdoor stands at our local farmer’s market just opened again. I also have a recipe for a Roasted Red Pepper Dip (very healthy Cooking Light recipe with balsamic vinegar, piquillos, garlic, basil and beans) that might make a good sauce as well. THANK YOU!!
    oooh, the red pepper sauce does sound good. The antipasto platter we can get locally often comes with red pepper dip and crostini. I never thought to use it with a boli though. Thanks for the idea~ ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. Cynthia

    THANK YOU!!!!! I make pizza for dinner (using a variety of KAF flours…AP, White Whole Wheat or Italian) every Sunday night and this just looks like a wonderful variation! My husband just had open heart surgery in January and we’ve been watching his diet a lot more carefully, this vegetarian version will be Sunday’s dinner… fer shure!!
    Hi Cynthia,
    I hope your hubby is well on the mend. With recipes like this, it’s easier to get away from meat based eating. Turkey sausages and turkey pepperoni have come a long way too so you get the taste without the fats. Best of health to you both.
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. Joyce

    Wow, Mary Jane. That looks wonderful. I have made many stromboli but never thought to make one with Asparagus. I have some in the fridge and now I know what I am going to make tomorrow. Can’t wait. Keep these great recipes coming. I have tried many things and I always have great success. Have a wonderful weekend.

    Joyce
    Thanks Joyce. I’m a big stromboli fan and I’m always happy when I find new ideas for them. Have fun! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  5. claire

    Thank you for this recipe. I will DEFINITELY be making it this weekend. I love ALL your recipes; but, I especially adore reading your blogs. Wish I could brew you up a cup of coffee and hear the rest of that honeymoon story!

    But, thank you most of all for the “salt information”. Even this old dog is still learning! And that is so great!
    We’d all like to hear that story! Are you listening, Mary Jane? Molly @ KAF

    Let’s see, should we begin with the cabin and it’s twin beds? The fact it was so small we couldn’t both stand up to get dressed at the same time? The morning I opened the curtains only to find we were already docked, and the smiling man on the quay could see right into my room (remember, it was my honeymoon and I was *ahem* dressed for the part!). I could go on and on, but you are getting the idea. I guess we survived, we’ll celebrate our 19th anniversary in Sept. Love you honey!
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  6. Cynthia

    THANK YOU!!!!
    I asked and you delivered – you are totally awesome!
    A caterer brought a stromboli to a party we hosted a while back and it was a huge hit. And finding recipes for them is just not that easy! This one, however, looks delicious! And since pizza is our standard Sunday night dinner, this will be a cool riff on a theme. KAF flours make phenomenal pizza… AP for a regular crust, White Whole Wheat for a more full bodied, nuttier flavor and Italian for … my idea of heaven!
    We had our ESP on extra high this past week, can you tell? For a heartier version, try a bit of turkey Italian sausage in the filling. mmm mmm mmm! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  7. Liz from Ocean County, NJ

    I second Claire on wanting to hear the rest of that honeymoon story. My brother and sis-in-law have been on a number of cruises and love them. DH and I have been on ONE, a short one, and aren’t anxious to do another cruise soon (although not because of the food). At least ours wasn’t our honeymoon and you and DH seem to have survived it.

    Thank you again for the blogs. I haven’t really baked since Christmas since we are preparing our house for sale and moving to a new state this summer. I am baking vicariously through the blogs – you’re a life saver!

    Reply
  8. jami

    You must have ESP! Here I am, planning to make stromboli for my daughter’s party tomorrow, and Bakers’ Banter shows up with a recipe for them. Thanks!
    Ask and you shall receive Jami! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  9. Lynn in CT

    Wow, going to a barbecue this evening – was going to bring pizza (your hot cheese and onions) but ooh, this is a sweet change. I’m am the *neighborhood bread womyn* so I always have a welcome test audience. lol. Thanks again, for another great recipe (my neighbors all thank you too…) Love the vegetarian aspect also…
    Lynn
    Glad to help Lynn ;) . I’m the cupcake and brownie gal, so I know what you are talking about. Have a great time at the BBQ, I’m sure you’ll be a hit! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  10. Mary in RI

    Fantastic looking recipe, I’ll try it tonight (Saturday is our family’s pizza night) maybe with the addition of some of the walnut sauce I use sometimes on pizza and linguine.

    Reply
  11. Charice

    What a great idea! I’d not thought of grilling asparagus–it will make a wonderful treat this summer at our family reunion, where grilling is mandatory! I make stromboli (using whole wheat flour) 1-2 times/month so this will make a welcome variation for us. Thanks for all your hard work–and sharing your mistakes so we can learn from them ;)
    A big platter of grilled asparagus, a bit of butter and lemon juice, and some friendly family gossip will make for a great day. Have a wonderful time! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  12. Tinky

    I’m definitely going to try this–although we have to wait a little while yet for asparagus in western Massachusetts! You might also want to use one of your great pizza crust recipes to make asparagus pizza, which I really love. Here’s a recipe from a chef near me:
    http://www.ourgrandmotherskitchens.com/?p=3927

    Thanks for sharing – we’re waiting for the fresh asparagus here in VT, but the beautiful daffodils promise the asparagus is on it’s way! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  13. Lish

    Wow was this delicious! It even got my two year old to eat asparagus. The dough was so tasty and easy to work with, and I can’t wait to make this again with a different filling. Thanks again for another keeper!

    Reply
  14. Sara S

    WOW! I cannot believe how remarkably well this turned out! Thank you for a surprisingly easy, super delicous recipe. I made my stromboli with sauted spinach and artichoke hearts – I cannot wait to make this again with your recommended asparagus and onions. I also swapped out 1 cup of white flour with whole wheat, with no issues. Thanks for making dinner such a hit!

    Reply
  15. Hana

    This recipe seems prefect for lunches. How would you recommend baking them so that I can pull a mini-boli from the freezer during the busy work week and have warm stromboli for lunch?
    What you could do is bake it all the way through as usual. Then slice into individual serving sizes, wrap in foil and freeze in a freezer zip lock. Pull out what you’ll need and place the foil wrapped boli into a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes (?). Lunchtime! Elisabeth @ KAF

    Reply
  16. sandylee6

    Please – is there a secret to getting rolled loaves to SEAL – the ends stay pinched and rolled under but long side – ugh- I pinch and place this seam on the bottom but usually it opens and even popps open on the top side with the oven rise. I keep any filling away from this edge and pinch it well but – what the hey??? will adding water help the pinch to stay sealed???
    Sandy
    If you’re having trouble getting the seal to stay, try a little water rubbed on with your fingers. I like to rub the dough a bit until it looks starchy and gluey, then seal. A little beaten egg white will work too. Hope this helps! ~ MaryJane

    Reply

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