I’m not kidding–asparagus has its own month! And you can bet I am going to dedicate a whole post to this delicious spring vegetable!
I will confess, I don’t get too fancy when it comes to asparagus. I usually stick to my favorite methods of preparing asparagus, which I will share.
But first, a few important notes on storage:
Ever paid attention to how asparagus is kept at the store? Usually, it’s on-end in a shallow pan of water. Storing the ends in water helps prevent the stalks from drying out and allowing the tops to be free (and not smashed inside an airtight bag) keeps them nice and fresh.
When you get home from the store, fill a wide-mouth cup or measuring cup with some water, and stick your asparagus in so just up to an inch of the stalk is submerged. It’s OK to keep them in a rubber band. Place a plastic bag loosely over the asparagus. Store in the refrigerator and use it as soon as you can (within a couple of days).
Now, here are my two stand-by methods of preparing asparagus for a quick, delicious green addition to any meal:
This is one of the easiest ways to cook asparagus–you just pop those puppies in the oven and keep whippin’ up the rest of dinner! After washing the asparagus, cut off the woody ends of the stalks. Place them on a cookie sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss them around a little bit so they’re more or less evenly coated. Roast them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until they’re cooked to your liking (I like mine slightly firm still with a little crisp on the ends–we all know they’re everyone’s favorite part!).
This method is slightly more hands-on than oven-roasting and includes pretty much the same ingredients. You’ll need a large pan than can accommodate the length of the asparagus. You may have to cook them in two batches depending on how large your pan is and how much asparagus you have. I like to cook mine in one layer so they’re all cooked evenly but you could also pile them up and toss them around as they’re cooking, which will take a bit longer.
Place washed, de-woody-stemmed asparagus in a large pan, drizzle with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Saute on low-medium heat for a few minutes, tossing occasionally, until cooked to your liking. Again, I prefer mine al dente. To keep the fat to a minimum, you can use less (or no) oil and add in some water, white wine, or veggie broth for added moisture during cooking. I usually add in some fresh garlic as well (near the end to prevent it from burning).
Other super tasty ways to prepare asparagus:
-Grill [I love to coat them in Italian salad dressing first for extra flavor]
-Blanch [dip them in boiling water and then dunk them in ice water for a bright-green crunchy veggie–great for salads and snacks]
-Steam [no steamer? place a metal strainer in a pot of boiling water so it’s sitting above the water, put asparagus in the strainer, cover with a lid)–you may have to experiment with different sizes of your pots/strainers/lids to get this set-up correct]
And finally, here are some beautiful recipes to help us all get a bit more creative with this tasty green veggie!
Mouthwatering Recipes Including Asparagus
Smoky Spring Asparagus Tofu Scramble from Vegan Richa
If you’re looking for a flavor-packed breakfast, this is it! Asparagus and bell pepper bring the crunch while smoked paprika and chipotle bring the punch in this savory dish. Get out of a boring tofu scramble rut with this uber flavorful recipe.
Couscous with Asparagus, Zucchini, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts from Choosing Raw
If there is one thing I say I wish I cooked with more, it’s sun-dried tomatoes. These tasty little morsels are perfect in pasta and salads. I love keeping grain + veggie salads like this on hand for quick snacks and grab-and-go lunch items. This recipe is simple, nutritious, and full of flavor.
Creamy Vegan Lemon Asparagus Pasta from Minimalist Baker
Creamy. Garlicky. Lemony. YES. This is one of those recipes that gives the impression that it’s super rich but it’s relatively low on fat compared to traditional creamy pasta. Almond milk and nutritional yeast provide the velvety cheesiness and the rest of the ingredients round out the recipe in their flavorful simplicity. With just 9 ingredients and 30 minutes, you’ve got yourself a pasta to be proud of.
Thai Green Curry with Spring Vegetables recipe from Cookie + Kate
Who can turn down curry? This recipe is like the thawing out of spring with colorful asparagus, carrots, and spinach and warming green curry and coconut milk. In dishes where you can use pretty much any veggies, it’s always nice to use what’s local and in-season. This is a great year-round dish allowing you to mix-and-match veggies (wouldn’t this be awesome in fall with squash, cauliflower, and turnips?).
What is your favorite way to prepare asparagus? Share in the comments below!