How To Cook Asparagus 5 Ways

How To Cook Asparagus

Asparagus’ adaptable, light flavor makes it a versatile vegetable apt for a variety of cooking methods. This vibrant veggie adds a fresh crunch to salads when served raw, takes on a tender bite when roasted, or develops a crispy, charred flavor when grilled. However you choose to cook it, asparagus remains a standout vegetable of spring.

While asparagus’ peak season is April, it is readily available February through June. It’s likely even available year-round in states such as California. We love cooking with it this time of year since it can be found in abundance both at grocery stores and farmers markets. Asparagus is a member of the  Environmental Working Group’s “Clean Fifteen”, meaning it has a low pesticide load when grown conventionally.

It’s not just asparagus’ versatility that makes it a spring favorite, it also has an abundance of nutrients to boot. Asparagus has high levels of vitamins B1, B2, and K, folate, copper, and selenium. It also has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its antioxidant nutrients. Not to mention asparagus also helps with digestion and blood sugar regulation.

When choosing asparagus, look for dark green and purple tips with freshly cut ends. The stems should be firm and rounded. Avoid spears’ whose ends have dried out as they will lack flavor.

Gather up your asparagus spears and learn how to cook this all-star veggie with us!

Asparagus Purple, Green White shutterstock_367820072
Image of green, white, purple asparagus on slate via Shutterstock

There are three types of asparagus; white, purple, and green. The varying hues indicate a slight difference in flavors. While all are edible and enjoyable, it’s important to note the differences.

White asparagus takes on its colorless hue because it’s grown in the dark which prevents them from producing chlorophyll. White asparagus is considered a delicacy in many cultures and is harder to find due to its more complex method of growth. It also is tougher in texture and more bitter than green asparagus which means it must be peeled and cooked longer. Purple asparagus gets its color from antioxidants known as anthocyanins which are common in purple foods. It also has a sweeter, more fruity flavor than traditional asparagus. It only requires light looking or is even best enjoyed raw.

How To Cook Asparagus 5 Easy Ways

How To Cook Asparagus

1. Raw

If you choosing to eat asparagus raw, we encourage purple asparagus since it lacks bitterness and is instead sweet and fruity. Trim ½ inch of the ends and chop into ¼ inch pieces. Toss with sea salt and pepper and serve as desired.

2. Blanch

To retain asparagus’s vibrant color and enhance the flavor, you can blanch it for a quick cooking method. Simply bring a pot of water to boil and have a nearby bowl of ice water ready. Add trimmed asparagus to the boiling water and boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and quickly plunge into the bowl of ice water for one minute. Drain and season with sea salt, lemon juice, or other desired topping.

3. Steam

Steaming asparagus eases the texture and gets rid of any bitterness while still preserving the nutrients. To do so, fill a pot with enough water to reach the bottom of a steaming basket. Trim the ends of the asparagus and cut until it fits easily in the basket. Steam for 3-5 minutes, until fork-tender.

4. Roast

Tried and true, roasted asparagus is swoon-worthy with its tender texture and buttery taste. A little drizzle of olive oil goes a long way as it naturally wilts and becomes moister as it roasts. To achieve perfectly roasted asparagus, preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Trim the ends of the asparagus to your preference, making sure to get rid of any woody ends. Drizzle the asparagus with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 10-15 minutes until fork tender. Squeeze half of a fresh lemon over the asparagus and serve.

5. Grill

Preheat a grill or stovetop grill pan. Trim the ends of the asparagus and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a touch of lemon zest. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Place asparagus on the grill diagonally. Grill for about 5 minutes, tossing halfway through so all sides are evenly cooked. Remove from grill and top with fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Asparagus Recipes

Grilled Asparagus Recipe with Lemon White Wine Fettuccine
Image via Karissa Bowers

Grilled Asparagus Recipe with Lemon White Wine Fettuccine
Pair chargrilled asparagus with fettuccine noodles and a white wine sauce for a refreshing spring dinner.

Pan-Grilled Asparagus and Endive with Fava Beans, Orange and Basil Recipe
Image via Erin Kunkel

Pan-Grilled Asparagus and Endive with Fava Beans, Orange and Basil
This endive salad features pan-grilled asparagus making it the perfect, refreshing way to use asparagus during late spring and early summer.

Whole-Wheat Asparagus Tart Recipe with Ricotta-Egg Filling
Image of asparagus quiche via Shutterstock

Whole-Wheat Asparagus Tart Recipe with Ricotta-Egg Filling
For chilly days, warm up with this comforting and aromatic baked whole wheat tart topped with asparagus.

Related on Organic Authority
4 Tasty Asparagus Recipes for a Springtime Meatless Monday Meal
7 Spring Vegetables: From Peas to Purple Asparagus
Meatless Monday Recipe Roundup: The Asparagus Cleanse

Images of asparagus on wood board via Karissa Bowers


Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers is a fashion and food blogger living a compassionate lifestyle. Karissa is the blogger of Vegan À La Mode where she shares her favorite vegan and gluten-free recipes and also her eco-friendly cruelty-free style. Her love for photographing food and her outfits, drove her to develop a passion for photography. After a few years of honing in on her photography skills, Karissa launched her business, Karissa Bowers Photography, where she shoots weddings and portraits. When she’s not taking photos or in the kitchen, you can find Karissa traveling and trying new vegan restaurants.



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This Italian Crockpot Chicken with Garlic and Basil is Pasta Night Comfort Food

crockpot chicken

Enjoying a delicious and protein-filled pasta night has never been easier thanks to this easy Italian crockpot chicken recipe with tomato sauce, garlic, and fresh basil. Simply put all the ingredients in a crockpot, leave it for the day, and return home to quick (and healthy!) comfort food.

This crockpot chicken recipe couldn’t be easier. All you’ll need are two frozen chicken breasts and a handful of other pantry ingredients. If your chicken is already thawed, have no fear! Simply cook the chicken in the crockpot for less time.

Choose certified organic chicken, if possible, or purchase chicken locally from a farmers market. Many labels on packaged chicken, such as sustainably farmed and humanely raised, are unverifiable and actually give no indication for how the chicken was raised. Choosing organic chicken means that the chicken was raised without antibiotics or hormones and complies with the USDA’s definition of organic practices.

Organic frozen chicken is combined with tomato sauce and hearty, Italian flavors in a crockpot. Choose plain organic tomato sauce, or one that hasn’t been sweetened or filled with preservatives and additives. Find glass jars or cardboard boxes of plain tomato sauce for this recipe at local health food stores or Whole Foods Market.

Balsamic vinegar is a delicious addition to this crockpot chicken recipe and adds a hint of acid and balance to the sauce. When slow cooked, balsamic vinegar sweetens and has a remarkable taste.

Whole cloves of garlic and onion infuse into the sauce to create a heavenly tasting (and smelling) sauce. When cooked low and slow, both garlic and onion sweeten and take on a caramelized, rich flavor.

After cooking for hours, this crockpot chicken is ready to go. Simply shred the chicken with a fork and serve with your favorite pasta noodles, baked spaghetti squash, or zucchini zoodles. Top with fresh basil and enjoy a hearty comfort classic!

crockpot chicken

Italian Crockpot Chicken with Tomatoes and Garlic

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen chicken breasts
  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 6-8 cloves whole garlic, peeled
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon tea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh basil, chopped, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients, except for fresh basil, in a crockpot.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.
  3. After cooking, use a fork to shred chicken in the crockpot.
  4. Serve chicken with fresh basil and sauce over pasta, spaghetti squash, or alongside vegetables. Enjoy!

Notes

If your chicken is already thawed, cook for 4 hours instead.

4.14

http://www.organicauthority.com/this-italian-crockpot-chicken-with-garlic-and-basil-is-pasta-night-comfort-food/

Related On Organic Authority
Protein-Packed Vegetable and Lentil Crockpot Soup with Herbs de Provence
Take It Slow: 5 Classic Crockpot Recipes Worth The Wait
Rock These Steel Cut Vegan Overnight Oats in Your Slow Cooker Like a Boss

Photos by Kate Gavlick


Kate Gavlick

Kate Gavlick

Kate is a Nutritionist with a Master’s of Nutrition from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon and the blogger and photographer of Vegukate. Kate believes in nourishing the whole body with real, vibrant foods that feed the mind, body, soul, gut, and every single little cell. Her philosophy is simple when it comes to food and nourishment: cut the processed junk, listen to your body, eat by the seasons, eat plates and bowls filled with color, stress less, and enjoy every single bite. When she’s not cooking in her too tiny Portland kitchen, Kate can be found perusing farmer’s markets, doing barre classes, hiking, reading, and exploring.


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Sheet Pan Roasted Kabocha, Tofu, and Chickpeas

Roasted Kabocha, Tofu, and Chickpeas

Andrew Purcell, Carrie Purcell
Makes 2 Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 small kabocha squash (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 2tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 10ounces extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 3/4 cup canned chickpeas
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 400°. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Nutrition Per Serving

538 calories
23 g fat (3 g saturated)
66 g carbs
15 g sugar
14 g fiber
24 g protein

Keywords

kabocha, tofu, chickpeas, paprika, cumin, basil, vegetarian, vegan, nut free, dairy free, gluten free, High fiber, Lunchtime Deal, dinner, sheet pan, selfstarter

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