Appetizers and Snacks, Dips, Sauces and Spreads

Grilled Asparagus and Onion Crostoni with Cannellini Hummus

Loreto May 5, 2016

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Grilled asparagus and onion crostoni with cannellini hummus, fire up your bbq’s for this easy, healthy, light and delicious recipe great for those outside warm spring days.

Grilled Asparagus and Onion Crostoni with Cannellini Hummus

Now that spring is in full force and we are experiencing rather unusually warm days in our part of the world, we are craving those light easy fresh meals, and crostoni are great for this type of meal. Produce markets are full of fresh and beautiful produce.  Inspired by a recipe I saw for a sandwich and my mind full of creative variations, I settled in to make an Italian fusion version of an open faced sandwich. Here is my take on an aspagus and hummus with shaved parmigiano panino, I call it  Grilled Asparagus and Onion Crostoni with Cannellini Hummus.



During our weekend excursion for our groceries for the week, we stopped into one of our  favorite stores, The Italian Center in Little Italy in Edmonton. The sun is shining and temperatures are in the bombing 20’s, people are out of their caves and everything is beginning to green,  life is back in the air. I love the sounds as soon as we enter the store, plates and cups clanging, smells of espresso and pastry, fresh rustic bread, a good base for crostoni, are in the air. Background passionate conversations about meal planning, authentic recipes and products resound, hand gestures flailing, and my stomach growling as it has been awakened. A quick stop at the deli counter to see if there is some samples and much to my delight yesssss! prosciutto, soppressata,  and my hand is right there handing my palate a fresh and tasty delight. Gotta love when samples are available.

A roam through the  isles with weekly shopping list in hand, we pick up some beautiful asparagus and Spanish onion, some cannellini beans, and the decision making process of which crusty rustic bread would be the best for the crostoni, amongst a plethora of other things as our shopping list grows in size. I would give a piece of advice for shopping here, eat before you go or stop in the café for a snack and drink, the aftermath of going there hungry is a huge till receipt and a hell of a lot of things to eat unpack at home.

Grilled Asparagus and Onion Crostoni with Cannellini Hummus

Stages of the crostoni

The first thing is always to wash and trim the ends of the asparagus. The ends are quite fibrous and chewy, would not be a pleasurable eating experience. Then into a bit of boiling water for a quick blanch not long just enough to soften them a touch. Then out of the hot water and into a cold bath to stop the cooking and preserve the color.

Next we prepare the hummus, an easy affair with a food processor, combining cooked cannellini beans and you can used canned or dried. With the dried it demands more time as you would soak them overnight and boil them to the desired texture. With the cooked cannellini in goes the avocado and some extra virgin cold pressed olive oil which by now you know we use nothing else. This keeps the puree flowing as the basil, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, and sour cream goes in slowly pulsing the processor to get it nice and smooth. A dash of sea salt and back cracked pepper, and then a taste for seasoning. I always start with a little seasoning as it is easy to rectify rather than too much and having to make a triple batch to appease the salt. Hummus done and put off to the side with some finely chopped parsley and drizzled olive oil.

The onions you want to cut thick as they are going to grill on the barbecue. I drizzle olive oil on them and some seasoning, giving them a bit of a marinade. I do the same with the asparagus, tossing them lightly to coat them well.

The crostoni, a nice panino bun whole wheat or grain of your choice cut in half and drizzled with olive oil and dusted ever so lightly with some garlic powder. You don’t want to overpower the recipe with one flavor.

Grilled Asparagus and Onion Crostoni with Cannellini Hummus

Barbecue fired up and my favorite part, grilling. I think for me it is being in the outdoors, and beautiful weather sun shining, a true Zen experience for me, and I think with that energy the food will be infused beautifully with peace and deliciousness. I use a grilling pan on the barbecue. One that has holes punched out throughout the pan. This helps hold the asparagus and onion slices better and guaranteeing no loss of product in between the grills. Both the onions and asparagus and bread halves having received nice grill marks, they can be taken off the barbecue and we are ready to assemble this crostoni.

Grilled Asparagus and Onion Crostoni with Cannellini Hummus

A nice slathering of hummus on the bread, a layer of the grilled onion, a few stalks of asparagus and to finish this bad boy some aged Asiago cheese, brought back to Canada by my lovely wife, God bless her, it’s so nice having her back and also to have the cheese I so love. A drizzle of olive oil of course, and we are set to eat Yeah!!!!!!!!!!

Grilled Asparagus and Onion Crostoni with Cannellini Hummus

The flavors of this crostoni are amazing, the crustiness of the bread, that smooth sesame and cannellini with a hint of garlic hummus coming through. The sweetness of the white Spanish onion a nice soother to the pungent nature of garlic, and not to forget the asparagus, earthy, smoky and that texture combined with the rich flavor of the D.O.P. aged Asiago, scrumptious and heavenly……. have to take a break to wipe off my mouth and cheeks, lol. This is a great recipe that is layered in flavors and textures and one would have to say that only one would not be sufficient, but moderation is key here.

Enjoy our Grilled Asparagus and Onion Crostoni with Cannellini Hummus, as much as we did.

Here’s to beautiful days, wonderful food, good friends and a great life!

Song of the day: ” Mountain Sound”, by Of Monsters and Men.

Grilled Asparagus and Onion Crostoni with Cannellini Hummus

Grilled Asparagus and Onion Crostoni with Cannellini Hummus

  • Author: Loreto
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizers
  • Method: Baking


Grilled asparagus and onion crostoni with cannellini hummus, fire up your bbq’s for this easy, healthy, light and delicious recipe great for those outside warm spring days.


Cannellini and Avocado Hummus:

  • 3/4 cup cooked cannellini beans
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 basil leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 bundle organic asparagus
  • 1/2 a white spanish onion, sliced in 1 cm thick rounds
  • 1/8 cup aged Asiago, shaved
  • 2 medium whole wheat panino buns
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp lemon zest



  1. Cut off about and inch and some of the ends of the asparagus and wash.
  2. Place asparagus into some boiling water and cook for about 5 to 8 minutes depending on stalk thickness.
  3. Take out of boiling water and place in a bowl of cold water, then take out and set in a pan.
  4. Drizzle some olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and cracked black pepper, toss and set aside.


  1. Cut onion into about 1 cm rounds.
  2. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, and a sprinkle of sea salt and cracked black pepper on both sides, and set aside.


  1. Toss cooked cannellini beans, avocado, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, sour cream, garlic, salt and pepper, into a food processor.
  2. Pulse till mixture becomes nice and smooth, you may need to add more olive oil.
  3. Place in a small bowl and finish with some fine parsley, cracked black pepper and olive oil.
  4. Set aside.


  1. Pre-heat barbecue to a medium to high heat.
  2. Spray grilling pan with some olive oil and place of grill.
  3. Place asparagus and onions on pan and grill till nicely charred.
  4. Just before the vegetables are done place bread on upper rack and toast a bit.
  5. Take everything off barbecue and get ready to assemble.


  1. With a sharp nice or cheese cutter shave Asiago cheese into nice thin slivers.
  2. Cut panino buns in half, drizzle with some olive oil and lightly dust with garlic powder.
  3. Take bread half, spread a nice portion of hummus on top.
  4. Place a nice layer of onion then asparagus next.
  5. Top with shaved Asiago, a drizzle of olive oil and a grating of lemon zest.
  6. Plate and serve.
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Grilled Asparagus and Onion Crostoni with Cannellini Hummus

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  • Avatar
    Reply Laura May 6, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Wow, this just looks amazing. Your description is incredible and I can’t wait to try this. Perfect for Friday happy hour snacks tonight!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto May 6, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Laura, thank you so much for your lovely comment. I am pretty proud of this recipe,turned out better than I had thought and it was so tasty. Your right Friday afternoon happy hour and these crostoni a perfect match.
      Happy Friday!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jen May 6, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    I am an asparagus nut who is always looking for a new way to trick my husband into thinking that he’s not getting asparagus…again! As soon as our Ontario asparagus is ready: I’m making’ this baby!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto May 7, 2016 at 11:54 am

      Thank you so much and good on you for the creativity involved in hiding the asparagus, lol. It is great that you have locally grown asparagus, yum. Enjoy the crostoni and happy weekend!

  • Avatar
    Reply Maria May 6, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Love everything about this recipe… the beans, the cheese, the bread and of course the asparagus! Can’t wait to try it now that we have left “our caves” lol… Great post! Thanks 🙂

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto May 7, 2016 at 7:58 am

      Thank you Maria for taking the time to experience our post. It is in this sharing that we feel fulfilled in our efforts of creating beautiful and delicious things.
      Have a wonderful day!.

  • Avatar
    Reply Hilary May 6, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    these look like just about the perfect springtime appetizer! Will have to try them!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto May 7, 2016 at 7:56 am

      Hi Hilary, don’t you just love spring. I would love to hear your feed back on this one. Have fun making them and most of all happy grilling.

  • Avatar
    Reply Meaghan May 6, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    This looks like the perfect Friday meal! A little wine and salumi and I would be in heaven!!! Love the shopping tip for the Italian Centre it is definitely a dangerous spot to shop on an empty stomach but I think that is just an excuse to stop in the cafe for a coffee and sweet treat. I love watching the community members gathering there and the lively exchanges in Italian 🙂

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto May 7, 2016 at 7:55 am

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. This I believe is a huge part of the definition of life for me. Simple things, profound experiences and most of all joy for the spirit.
      Have a great weekend!

  • Avatar
    Reply Thalia @ butter and brioche May 7, 2016 at 1:37 am

    such beautiful crostini and ideal for the season! i love anything with asparagus right now so this recipe is ideal.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto May 7, 2016 at 7:41 am

      Thank you Thalia, I really enjoy preparing foods in their seasons, kind of a thing for me to ensure freshness and vigor in taste of these asparagus. I love how grilling them adds that just so smoky flavor along with that sweet charred onion, so so good. This ones a keeper.
      Have a great weekend!

  • Avatar
    Reply Keith @ How's it Lookin? May 7, 2016 at 10:04 am

    It all looks great. Asparagus is my favorite vegetable, thanks for the idea

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto May 7, 2016 at 11:51 am

      No problems Kieth, always up to inspire. Thank you for taking the time to comment.
      Happy cooking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Kristy @ She Eats May 7, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Loreto that grilled asparagus is insanity. Nothing screams spring to me more than fresh grilled veggies and bread. And cheese. And cannellini beans are phenomenal – especially for a dip or spread. I’m in love.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto May 8, 2016 at 6:46 am

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I love spring and more so the produce that starts to show up at the markets. Then add outside cooking and barbecue I’m all in. It was the first time I we ever made humus with canellini beans. It was truly delicious.
      Have a great Sunday.
      Happy cooking!

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