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.
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 all the ways to enjoy it.
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 been focused a lot lately on gut health, and challenging myself to increase my both my overall intake of fiber and diversity of fiber. I shared on Instagram that I created a 28-day recipe plan for the book Fiber Fueled and I’ve been trying to practice what I preach. Also– that 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.
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, on the stove, in a pan and blanched.
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 1 week in the fridge.
When you’re ready to cook them, you need to remove the woody ends. To do this quickly, take one spear and gently bend to break towards the base of the spear. Then place this in line with the rest of the asparagus bunch and cut from this new end.
I use this shortcut of breaking one or two instead of having to break every single asparagus stalk. Cutting the ends helps to remove the less flavorful area of the asparagus.
I honestly don’t know if there is a 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 knowing full well that I’ll end up eating half of it before I place it on the table.
Heat oven to 425∞F 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.
My Flavor Tip: Sprinkle baked spears with shredded parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.
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.
My Flavor Tip: Season the steamed asparagus with your favorite herb seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil.
After rinsing and trimming the asparagus, 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.
My Flavor Tip: Add fresh chopped basil towards the end of cooking the sauté and a squeeze lemon juice on top before serving.
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.
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.
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 dip, curry dipping sauce, or Instant Pot Hummus.
How to Cook Asparagus! Learn the best way to cook asparagus– how to cook asparagus in the oven, sautéed, grilled and steamed.
How to Cook Asparagus in the Oven
How to Cook Asparagus in a Pan
How to Blanch Asparagus
How to Cook Asparagus on the Stove