6 Ways to Dress Up Asparagus

Ahhhhhhh, spring is officially here!  I love walking into the grocery store to see a well stocked shelf of fresh, organic asparagus spears!  It is one of my most favorite veggies, and I certainly eat my fill of it while it’s in season these next few months, and then I miss it the rest of the year.  *tear*  This year I plan to buy some in bulk and freeze for use thru the fall.  Hoping to find a fabulous farmer’s market in Charlotte next month when we get moved and settled.

When purchasing asparagus, you want to be sure the tips are bright green and tightly closed.   Dark green or black and mushed tips is evidence of oxidation, meaning the asparagus is not fresh.  You’ll also want to examine each spear in the bunch, testing for crisp rigidity and bright green color.  Be sure the skin of each spear is unwrinkled and firm.  The best tasting and best texture will come from spears that are thin to fairly thin in diameter.  This isn’t to say you can’t enjoy a thick bunch of asparagus, just that they’ll be a bit stringy and are probably more suited for a stir fry or dish that calls for them to be diced.  These tests will ensure a fresh product potent in nutrients!

Once you get your asparagus bunch home, it is important to store it properly to keep it fresh with valuable nutrients intact.  Trim about a half inch off the bottom ends and place standing up, cut end down, in a glass of 1 inch fresh water.  Store in fridge until ready to use.

When ready to prepare your asparagus, there is a magical little trick to always remember that will ensure you and your guests have tender asparagus all the way thru.  The most tender part of the spear is the tip.  As the stalk gets thicker, it gets tougher.   There is a magic point somewhere between the tip and the end of the asparagus that separates “tasty-tender” from “icky-tough.”  Every bunch of asparagus is different.  While you may not know where this breaking point is, but your asparagus does.

Hold your asparagus at both ends.  Gently bend the asparagus until it snaps.  The magic is in that it will naturally break at a point of resistance, and that point is where the stem is too tough to be enjoyable.   Do this for all your asparagus.  Simple as that, and so worth the two minutes worth of energy!  Your dish will taste so much better after performing this step.  And now your asparagus spears are ready to dive into your recipe.

I wanted to share with you six of my favorite ways to serve asparagus.  Hope you enjoy!  If you have your very own favorite way to enjoy asparagus, please share!  We all love recipe sharing around here! :)

Classic Balsamic Asparagus  (my #1 personal favorite way!)
Makes 4 Servings

1 lb organic asparagus, prepped (as detailed above)
1 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Spread asparagus on rimmed baking sheet.  Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Roast at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until crisp tender.  Remove from oven and transfer to serving platter.  Drizzle and coat with balsamic vinegar.  Serve.

Roasted Asparagus with Feta
Makes 6 Servings

2 lbs organic asparagus, prepped
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
4 ounces organic feta cheese, crumbled
Juice of 1 organic lemon

1.)  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a small saucepan, add olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, oregano, and red pepper flakes.  Heat over Low heat until garlic becomes golden and oil fragrant.  Remove from heat.

2.)  Place asparagus spears on a rimmed baking sheet.  Coat asparagus with infused olive oil.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with crumbled feta.  Roast for 12-15 minutes.

3.)  Remove from oven.  Sprinkle with parsley and squeeze the lemon over top.  Serve immediately.


Asparagus with Thyme Butter Sauce
Makes 6 Servings

2 cups water (more/less for steaming)
2 lbs organic asparagus, prepped and chopped in half
1/2 cup organic, unsalted butter
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt
Fresh pepper, to taste

1.)  In a large saucepan with steamer and lid, get water boiling.  Add asparagus to saucepan, cover, and steam for about 6-8 minutes, until crisp tender.

2.)  Meanwhile, in a heavy medium skillet over Medium-Low heat, cook the butter until it just begins to brown, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add the thyme leaves.

3.)  Once asparagus is cooked tender, remove from steamer and coat with thyme butter sauce in skillet.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Transfer to serving platter and serve warm.

Ginger Sesame Asparagus
Makes 4 Servings

1 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
2 tsp raw almond butter
1/2 tsp raw honey
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp hot sauce
2 cups water (more/less for steaming)
1 lb organic asparagus, prepped and sliced on the diagonal into 2 inch pieces
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 1/2 tsp sake
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced or pressed
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

1.)  In a small bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients with a fork.  This is homemade Hoisin sauce.  Set aside to allow flavors to combine.

2.)  In a large saucepan with steamer and lid, get water boiling.  Add asparagus to saucepan, cover, and steam for about 6-8 minutes, until crisp tender.  Remove and rinse asparagus in cold water.

3.)  In a large skillet, add 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and warm slightly over Medium heat.  Add sesame seeds to pan and cook until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes.  Add ginger and garlic and cook 1-2 minutes.  Add the homemade Hoisin sauce and asparagus.  Stir and cook until asparagus is well coated and heated thru, about 2 minutes.  Season with sea salt and white pepper.  Transfer to serving dish and serve.

Asparagus with Mushrooms
Makes 4 Servings

1 lb organic asparagus, prepped and sliced on the diagonal into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup organic, unsalted butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp unsweetened organic Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt, to taste

1.) In a large saucepan with steamer and lid, get water boiling.  Add asparagus to saucepan, cover, and steam for about 6-8 minutes, until crisp tender.  Remove and rinse asparagus in cold water.

2.)  In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over Medium heat.  Add mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked and liquid is expelled, about 5-7 minutes.

3.)  Add asparagus,  Dijon mustard, black pepper, and sea salt.  Stir until heated thru.  Serve.

Asparagus Gratin (A MUST TRY!!)
Makes 6 Servings

1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup organic, unsalted butter
2 lbs organic asparagus, prepped
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup raw Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1.) In a small skillet, saute shallot coconut oil over Medium-Low heat until golden, about 6 minutes.  Remove from heat; cool slightly.

2.)  In a large saucepan with steamer and lid, get water boiling.  Add asparagus to saucepan, cover, and steam for about 6-8 minutes, until crisp tender.  Remove and rinse asparagus in cold water.  Place asparagus in shallow glass casserole dish; drizzle with olive oil.

3.)  Preheat broiler.  In medium bowl, using a pastry cutter or fork, cut butter into the almond meal. With a spoon, stir in Parmesan cheese, parsley, lemon juice, shallot mixture, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Sprinkle almond meal mixture over asparagus.  Place dish in broiler 5 inches from heat source.  Broil about 4 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and serve immediately.

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Written by Elise Schwartz
Elise Schwartz

Elise has been living a sugar-free natural lifestyle since 2008, after discovering her PCOS, infertility, and inability to lose weight were caused by toxicity in her food and daily life. She became a certified nutrition and body detox coach, and provides consultations to clients across the world. By living the principles she teaches, Elise proudly welcomed her son, Austin, into the world in 2011. She and her husband, Dr. Dave, own and operate a natural health clinic, Triad Health Center, in Greensboro, NC.

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