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Learn to Cook Asparagus

salmon and asparagus

If you’re looking for an easy vegetable side dish, then cooking asparagus can’t get any easier. This vegetable is amazingly versatile and can be prepared in many ways: Asparagus can be cooked on the stove, oven, or on a grill. Grilling, roasting, and stir-frying asparagus are our favorite ways to enjoy it.

Types of Asparagus

  • Asparagus can come in three different colors: green, purple, and white. Green is the most common and available year-round. White asparagus has been covered in mulch to prevent chlorophyll from developing which gives plants their green color. Purple asparagus is purple when raw, however, turns dark green when cooked.
  • Asparagus also comes in different sizes: thin, medium, and thick. Thin is great for quick cooking methods such as sauteing or stirfries. The medium and thicker asparagus are great for roasting or grilling.

How to Buy and Store Asparagus

  • When you are at the grocery store, look for asparagus spears that are brightly colored, compact, and have tips that are tightly closed. Avoid spears that are dried out, brown, or have spears that are ridged.
  • If you are not cooking it right away, you can either wrap them in wet paper towels and cover with a plastic bag before refrigerating, or you can trim the bottoms and keep them standing up in a glass with about an inch of water. We recommend cooking them within 3 days.

Meal Prep Tips for Asparagus:

  • Before you cook, you will want to cut off the tough bottom ends of the asparagus. If you are using white asparagus, you will need to peel them from top to bottom. If you have really thick asparagus, you may also want to peel the lower end of the stalks starting about halfway and peel toward the root.
  • Asparagus also cooks quickly, so be sure to have your seasoning and other ingredients that you will be cooking with it readily available.
prep asparagus

Here are three of our favorite ways to cook asparagus.

Grilling Asparagus (either indoor or outdoor): Warm up the grill or indoor grill on medium-high heat. Coat the asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the asparagus spears on the girl and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until it gets a good char. Flip them on the other side so that they crisp up all around. Once they are cooked, you can finish them with lemon zest for an extra fragrant flavor or you can drizzle them with a balsamic glaze.

grilled asparagus

Roasting Asparagus: Preheat the oven to 400F and drizzle the asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can also add other spices such as paprika, cayenne, or red pepper flakes. Try adding nuts to roast alongside the asparagus. Spread the asparagus on a baking sheet and roast them for about 10 minutes until they are lightly golden brown and sizzling. After it cooks, top it off with shredded parmesan.

roast asparagus

Stir Fry or Saute Asparagus: Asparagus cooks quickly in a sauteed or stir-fried dish. Cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Add oil to a wok or skillet on medium-high heat. Cook the asparagus pieces for about 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned and tender. Throw in some chopped herbs such as green onions, basil, or cilantro. In the end, season with soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil.

stir fry asparagus

What can you eat with asparagus?

  • Asparagus pairs well with many proteins such as a grilled steak, baked salmon, and roasted chicken.
  • You can also serve it alongside your choice of grains such as brown rice pilaf, couscous, pasta, and even quinoa 
  • Asparagus can be a great addition to salad and many other vegetable medleys such as stir fry veggies such as bell peppers or with other roasted veggies such as zucchini.

Here are some recipes that we think you might enjoy:

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