Easy Asparagus Recipes

904SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/11/2013 6:00 PM   :  43 comments   :  35,585 Views

Asparagus is delicious when prepared simply: steamed, roasted or grilled. I like to blanch and shock the asparagus before grilling.  Boil the asparagus for 1 minute (this is the "blanch" part of the process).  Immediately plunge the asparagus into ice water to stop the cooking process (this is the "shock"). The asparagus will turn bright green and retain all its taste and nutrition. Dry it off and then grill it. Serve alone or on a pizza. Or serve it cold with vinaigrette.
 
How do you prepare it? Easy--Mother Nature gave you a guide. Pick up a spear, hold one end in each hand, and snap it. It will naturally break at the spot where it turns from woody to tender. You can either snap each spear or use the first one as a guide and cut them all off at the same spot.
 
Don't throw away those tough ends. You can simmer them for stocks or puree and use in soups. If all your spears are thick and woody, use a vegetable peeler to trim the outside and expose the tender interior.
 
You'll love these easy asparagus recipes:


Salmon-Asparagus Casserole


Crab and Asparagus Crepes


Asparagus Tart with Ricotta


Strawberry-Asparagus Salad


Roasted Salmon with Lemon Couscous and Asparagus



Easy Asparagus Au Gratin


Asparagus Wrapped in Phyllo Dough




Chicken & Asparagus Pasta


Almond Chicken Salad with Asparagus


Broiled Asparagus


Creamy Asparagus Soup

 

Asparagus 101

Though asparagus can be found in supermarkets year-round thanks to crops flown in from all over, it's in season for most of us in North America in the spring.
This flowering perennial plant is a cousin to onions and garlic, but it has a much sweeter taste.
 
As the days grow longer, its tiny edible shoots will start to emerge from an underground crown. Those shoots don't stay tiny for long--asparagus can grow quickly (10 inches in a day!), with spears ready for harvest every few days. But don't hesitate when you see the shoots have reached 6-7 inches; once the tips start to open and they begin to "fern" out, the base of the shoots become woody and inedible.  
 
Asparagus sticks around: One plant, if cared for correctly, will produce shoots for up to 20 years!  In my family, the caretaker of the asparagus is my oldest brother, John.  Over the years, he has planted long rows of asparagus on our farm so that there will always be a new crop around the corner.
 
Most of the asparagus we see here is green, but in Europe--especially France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland--white is what you're more likely to see.

This albino variation isn't natural; farmers create it. They loosely mound dirt over the asparagus. As the shoot grows, it is deprived of sunlight and photosynthesis cannot take place. White asparagus must be peeled but can be eaten raw or cooked, just like its verdant counterpart.
 
If you can find purple asparagus, pick it up.  Not only is it very pretty, it has a fruity flavor. 
 
Once harvested, asparagus should be eaten within 24 hours for optimal taste.  After that, it will start to lose flavor and juiciness. 

Prolong the life of your asparagus by trimming 1/4 inch from the stalks as soon as you bring it home, place the asparagus upright in a vase or bowl of water and add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.  Cover the tips loosely with a cotton towel or plastic bag and store in the refrigerator.
 
What's your favorite way to eat asparagus?

Want more healthy recipes from me and fellow SparkPeople members? Be sure to subscribe to SparkPeople's Recipe of the Day email. Click here to sign up!

Did you know SparkRecipes is now on Facebook? Click here to "Like" us!



Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
 

NEXT ENTRY >   Should You Maintain Your Weight before You Lose?

Great Stories from around the Web

Comments

  • 43
    These are great. I absolutely love asparagus. It has become one of my favorite vegetables. For me I love it a lot of different ways, but my absolute favorite is sauteed in a little olive oil with a little course salt and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. YUM! - 4/29/2014   1:13:05 PM
  • 42
    I love asparagus so much too and we have it here also, on our farm! It's such a wonderful feeling when it finally starts poking it's heads out of the soil after a long, long Winter here in Minnesota! - 3/19/2014   2:07:35 PM
  • 41
    I ~LOVE~ Asparagus!!! - 5/26/2013   2:15:37 AM
  • 40
    My new favorite recipe is to roast asparagus drizzled with a little olive oil and sea salt, then chop it up and add it to Trader Joe's Fettuccini with Mushrooms (frozen section). Each bag has 3 150-calorie servings of savory goodness and the asparagus perks it up a notch. :) - 4/18/2013   3:42:51 PM
  • LJZR58
    39
    I like to saute it in olive oil with greek seasoning, pepper, red onions and fresh mushrooms. - 4/18/2013   9:04:25 AM
  • KENAMORA
    38
    Great ideas, thanks. - 4/15/2013   2:30:13 PM
  • 37
    Love asparagus, raw or cooked.
    We usually steam it and serve with fresh lemon juice added to a little melted butter. - 4/13/2013   10:03:03 PM
  • 36
    I "dry fry" asparagus - just heat a nonstick pan, toss in washed asparagus, and kind of dry roast until spears are a bit browned on the edges. Delicious plain, or toss in some eggs for a fabulous omelet or fritatta! - 4/13/2013   8:50:40 PM
  • 35
    I love fresh asparagus in almost every way. Cannot wait to try this for an appetizer. - 4/13/2013   7:30:11 PM
  • 34
    I love asparagus and have some in the refrig to cook. When we were stationed in Germany, we ate the white asparagus which was delicious, especially the soup. - 4/13/2013   2:29:42 PM
  • 33
    I like asparagus but my husband hates it so we don't have it often. I am always happy at an opportunity to eat it though! Sometimes they have it work in our cafeteria and I always get it then. - 4/13/2013   12:05:32 PM
  • 32
    I like asparagus but my husband hates it so we don't have it often. I am always happy at an opportunity to eat it though! - 4/13/2013   12:05:32 PM
  • 31
    I just found a recipe for Asparagus soup. It was cooked with a potato, I added Carrots in stock and blended it then added a few dollops of sour cream was a great cream soup - loved the flavor. - 4/13/2013   11:17:33 AM
  • 30
    Thank you for the recipes Chef Meg. I am learning to eat asparagus because my family likes it. I recently tried it grilled and enjoyed it that way. Can't wait to try other ways to serve it. - 4/12/2013   9:36:05 PM
  • 29
    We grow our own asparagus. I love it! Last year we got over 40 lbs of it and ate every bit of it! My favorite way is to pick it, wash, snap, wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave it for 1 minute. No salt or anything else on it! Love the natural sweet flavor! - 4/12/2013   1:18:13 PM
  • IAMTOLOSE
    28
    Love it grilled with a splash of lemon vinegar. - 4/12/2013   12:09:12 PM
  • 27
    thanks so very much for all the details, especially on selection and storage. I had asparagus and halibut last night for dinner and look forward to FRESH this season - 4/12/2013   8:20:22 AM
  • 26
    Love asparagus. Perfect roasted with a little olive oil and coarse salt or freshly grated parmesan - 4/12/2013   7:51:26 AM
  • 25
    Thanks!!! - 4/12/2013   6:58:37 AM
  • 24
    Asparagus is much to expensive for my budget. - 4/12/2013   1:16:44 AM
  • 23
    Asparagus is my FAVORITE! I add it to my omelettes, grill it, roast it, pan fry it, add it to pasta dishes and enjoy it in salads. I haven't found a way I don't enjoy asparagus. - 4/11/2013   9:52:33 PM
  • 22
    Asparagus is my favorite vegetable. - 8/23/2012   1:08:45 AM
  • 21
    I enjoy roasted asparagus. Quick and easy. Yum! - 5/2/2012   10:02:34 PM
  • ANNEV2012
    20
    It should be a crime to do anything other than steam or grill asparagus...it doesn't need a sauce. - 4/11/2012   11:22:45 PM
  • 19
    I can tell you the purple is great. Ate it last night! - 4/10/2012   1:57:33 PM
  • 18
    I love it roasted with a little garlic powder and oil. - 4/10/2012   1:53:46 PM
  • 17
    Mixing it with Farro makes a wonderful salad. And wrapping a thin piece of roast beef with horseradish makes a wonderful appitizer - 4/10/2012   1:50:16 PM
  • 16
    I make an asparagus salad with Purple Passion asparagus(it really is purple), yellow an red peppers, mushrooms & pea pods, all cut into bite sized pieces. Then marinaded in olive oil, lemon juice, ushed garlic and basil. YUM! Only negative commment I have had about it was at a Master Gardener potluck, and that was there wasn't enough of it. - 4/10/2012   10:51:58 AM
  • PATCHIEMAN
    15
    Great article. I will use some of the tips for sure. May even plant a few. - 4/10/2012   5:45:08 AM
  • STREO2004
    14
    We LOVE Asperagus, almost any manner, but like grilled w/ parmesan & lemon pepper - 4/10/2012   2:30:40 AM
  • 13
    Due to our unseasonably warm winter/spring, Michigan asparagus is already available, a month early. I like it best plain boiled for 2-3 minutes, with a dab of butter. - 4/10/2012   1:32:22 AM
  • 12
    Asparagus is a vegetable that frequently is eaten in my household. We tend to look for thin spears since the thick ones can be rather woody. It is easy to prepared them in the microwave or chopped at placed in the steam basket of a rice cooker.

    Thanks for the tip on the woody ends - they had been going into the food/yard waste bin. - 4/9/2012   11:36:55 PM
  • 11
    I love it grilled. - 4/9/2012   7:45:47 PM
  • 10
    I love to roast asparagus in the oven with a little oil (olive or canola) and a little salt, pepper, and/or garlic! (I, too, dislike the "after effects" of eating asparagus!) - 4/9/2012   7:16:26 PM
  • 9
    I'm from Europe and I used to HATE the white asparagus. It looks gross, is often woody and my mother used to cook it to a slime. Green asparagus is much better; it's more tender and we roast or stir-fry it. - 4/9/2012   5:50:56 PM
  • GENERIC-FIT
    8
    My dad used to grow fresh asparagus in the garden. This was before he moved to Florida. He kept the same section going with it year after year. Nothing is so much better than eating asparagus fresh from the garden! That and sugar snap peas. - 4/9/2012   4:26:17 PM
  • SHERA888
    7
    Love roasted asparagus with tons of garlic.. a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. I eat it like french fries... ! - 4/9/2012   4:21:26 PM
  • 6
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE roasted asparagus. It rarely makes it off the pan... - 4/9/2012   3:55:41 PM
  • 5
    I'm a midwest girl at heart and have been eating asparagus for as long as I can remember. My favorite way to eat it is to steam it until tender crisp. My husband likes it cold with a little Italian dressing on it. I also like it raw with a veggie dip (whatever you you use for celery, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, or jicama). - 4/9/2012   3:12:14 PM
  • 4
    Grilled with & thank you for sharing the recipes, Chef Meg can't wait to try them. - 4/9/2012   3:04:13 PM
  • 3
    I kinda like eating it, but I hate how it turns your urine stinky! Yuck! - 4/9/2012   2:53:39 PM
  • 2
    I just enjoyed having asparagus recently. I placed in a bowl with a little water for a min or two. Then wrapped around ham n turkey, very simple, very fast and very good. I only buy when it's on sale as the price is usually very high.

    Thank you for all the great recipes, Chef Meg! - 4/9/2012   2:13:38 PM
  • 1
    Just what I needed, as I've got asparagus in the fridge waiting to be eaten. - 4/9/2012   2:06:14 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Join SparkPeople.com

x Lose 10 Pounds by January 4! Get a FREE Personalized Plan