May 26, 2020

How To Cook Asparagus: 4 Different Ways

How to Cook Asparagus! Learn the best way to cook asparagus-- how to cook asparagus in the oven, sautéed, grilled and steamed

Today, I am going to share 4 of the best ways when it comes to learning how to cook asparagus! We’ll going to go over how to cook asparagus in the oven, steamed on the stove, sautéed in a pan, and blanch. I’ll even share a few asparagus recipes to go along with each of the cooking methods.

green asparagus spears

I think asparagus is one of those vegetables that you either really love or really dislike.

Thankfully, I’m a huge asparagus fan! The moment I see those green little stalks pop up in the grocery store each spring, I become giddy with excitement. I barely make it home and I am shaving some raw asparagus for a nice spring salad.

There are just so many things you can make with this vegetable!

Health Benefits Of Eating Asparagus

Before I jump into all the ways you can cook asparagus, I want to share a little bit of nutrition on this green vegetable.

Asparagus is relatively low in calories and packed with nutritional goodness. It contains iron, zinc and vitamin K. Asparagus is high in folate, an important nutrient for all of us, but especially those planning on becoming pregnant or pregnant as it aids in brain and spine development. 

In addition to being delicious, asparagus is also packed with a prebiotic fiber called inulin that may aid in the health of the gut and improve digestion. I’ve personally been focused a lot lately on gut health and challenging myself to increase both my overall intake of fiber and diversity of fiber.

Since many of you share an interest in gut health, I created a 28-day recipe plan for the book Fiber Fueled and I’ve been trying to practice what I preach (which you can follow along on Instagram). I also just have to share that this book recently became a NYT best-seller, which is amazing! It makes my dietitian heart so happy to see so many people jumping on the fiber plan.

Okay, back to asparagus.

vegetable orzo salad with tomatoes and cooked asparagus

How To Cook Asparagus: 4 Different Ways

Funny enough, whenever I bring up my love for asparagus, I get asked this question. Um, how do you cook it?

When asparagus is cooked well, it’s fantastic and when it’s not, it’s mushy, smelly, and disgusting. Consider this your prime lesson on how to cook asparagus every which way: in the oven, steamed on the stove, in a pan, and blanched.

How To Properly Clean And Prep Asparagus For Cooking

Before you start cooking the asparagus, it’s important to clean and prep the asparagus. 

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Add the asparagus spears to a bowl and colander.
  2. Run the veggies underneath some cold water to rinse. 
  3. Then, hold the spear at either end and slightly bend it. The ends will naturally snap off. You can also use a knife to cut off the woody ends of the asparagus.
  4. Once you’ve prepped the asparagus, make sure to dry them off before you start to cook them.

how to cook asparagus on the stove

How To Cook Asparagus In The Oven

  1. Heat oven to 425 F and follow the prep instructions listed above.
  2. Add the asparagus to a baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.
  4. Using tongs or your hands, coat the spears and then arrange them into a single layer.
  5. Place the sheet into the oven and roast anywhere from 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Flip the asparagus halfway through to ensure even cooking.

My Flavor Tip: Sprinkle the baked spears with shredded parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast to keep it vegan).

One dish I highly recommend making is this spring asparagus tart in the oven. This recipe calls for buttery puff pastry and this delicious homemade garlic spread that works perfectly with the roasted asparagus.

how to cook asparagus in the oven

How To Steam Asparagus On The Stove

  1. Using a shallow pan, fill with about 1 inch of water and 1-2 teaspoons of salt.
  2. Place the steamer insert over the pan and bring the water to a boil.
  3. Place the asparagus in a single layer into the steamer.
  4. Allow the spears to cook for up to 5 minutes with thicker spears and up to 3 minutes for thinner spears.

My Flavor Tip: Season the steamed asparagus with your favorite herb seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil.

This recipe for lemon tarragon asparagus uses the steaming method but with a flavorful twist! The spears are dressed with fresh lemon juice and tarragon and combined with the tang of minced garlic and dijon mustard. It’s scrumptious when served with grilled salmon.

bowl of asparagus and mint to make a spring panzanella salad

How To Cook Asparagus In A Pan

  1. After rinsing and trimming the asparagus, cut the spears into 2-inch sections.
  2. Take a large skillet and heat 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  3. Once the olive oil heats up in the pan, add the asparagus and a pinch of salt.
  4. Cook until tender, typically 6-8 minutes for thick spears and 4-5 minutes for thin spears.

My Flavor Tip: Add fresh chopped basil towards the end of cooking. Then, sauté and add a squeeze of lemon juice on top before serving.

One of my favorite brunch recipes uses this method of cooking asparagus in the pan to make vegan eggs benedict. The asparagus spears add a nice bite with the tofu “egg”, tomato slices, and homemade hollandaise sauce. It’s so delicious!

how to cook asparagus in a pan with lemon

How To Blanch Asparagus

If you’ve ever wondered how to keep that beautiful bright green color, the secret is blanching! Blanched asparagus is fantastic in salads, frittatas, or any dish where you want to keep the vibrant green color.

  1. Prepare the asparagus by rinsing, trimming, and cutting into pieces or whole sections.
  2. Next, prepare an ice bath by placing a bunch of ice cubes and water in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil and then add the asparagus to the pot.
  4. Cook for about 1 minute.
  5. Transfer the asparagus to the ice bath with a slotted spoon.
  6. Once cooled, remove the asparagus and pat dry with a towel.

My Flavor Tip: Blanching is a great way to preserve the green color and flavor of the asparagus. Serve chilled with your favorite dips, like this lemon feta dipcurry dipping sauce, or Instant Pot hummus!

Shaved Asparagus Spring Salad

More Asparagus Recipes To Try

While the 4 cooking methods listed above are some of the most common ways to cook asparagus, there are still a few other ways to do so. Take a look at these recipes listed below to try to find new ways to eat asparagus:

How To Store Asparagus

Extend the life of your asparagus by placing the spears upright in a glass of 1-2 inches of water in the fridge. This helps keep the spears hydrated and will keep them fresh for up to one week in the fridge.

When you’re ready to cook them, you need to remove the woody ends. To do this quickly, follow the instructions listed above on how to clean and prep the asparagus.

how to cook roasted asparagus in the oven

So, What’s The Best Way To Cook Asparagus?

I honestly don’t know if there is a specific “best way” to cook asparagus, but I’m partial to either sautéed or roasted. Long time readers will know I’m a sucker for any vegetable that’s roasted.

In fact, I will double any roasted asparagus batch that I make fully knowing that I’ll end up eating half of it before I place it on the table.

Looking For More Recipe Ideas?

If you are looking to dive deep into starting a healthier lifestyle, I just released a new 7-day email course on “The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Protein” with 40 new recipes- and it’s FREE!

You’ll learn everything there is to know about plant-based protein options and how to incorporate them into your everyday recipes.

I hope this post on how to cook asparagus was helpful and answered some of your questions. I’d love to know any comments, thoughts, or questions you may have about asparagus down below!  

 

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how to cook asparagus

How to Cook Asparagus

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: oven, stove, pan
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

How to Cook Asparagus! Learn the best way to cook asparagus– how to cook asparagus in the oven, sautéed, grilled and steamed.


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: oven, stove, pan
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: oven, stove, pan
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed
  • olive oil, depending on method used
  • salt and pepper, depending on method used

Instructions

How to Cook Asparagus in the Oven

  1. Heat oven to 425F and rinse and trim the asparagus. Add the asparagus to a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Using tongs or your hands coat the spears and then arrange into a single layer. Place the sheet into the oven and roast anywhere from 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Flip the asparagus halfway through to ensure even cooking.

How to Cook Asparagus in a Pan

  1. Cut the spears into 2-inch sections. Take a large skillet and heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Once the olive oil slides like water in the pan, add the asparagus and a pinch of salt. Cook until tender, typically 6-8 minutes for thick spears and 4-5 minutes for thin spears.

How to Blanch Asparagus

  1. Prepare the asparagus by rinsing, trimming, and cutting into pieces or whole sections. Next, prepare an ice bath by placing a bunch of ice cubes and water in a large bowl and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil then add asparagus to pot and cook for about 1 minute. Transfer the asparagus to the ice bath with a slotted spoon. Once cooled, remove the asparagus and pat dry with a towel.

How to Cook Asparagus on the Stove

  1. Using a shallow pan, fill with about 1 inch of water and 1-2 teaspoons of salt. Place the steamer insert over the pan and bring the water to a boil. After rinsing and trimming the asparagus spears, place them in a single layer into the steamer. Allow the spears to cook for up to 5 minutes with thicker spears and up to 3 minutes for thinner spears.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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