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Savory Spears: How to Cook Asparagus like a Pro

Fresh asparagus is a delicious side dish that's easy to prepare. Learn how to cook asparagus like a pro with these expert tips.

The information provided on this site is based on my personal experience living with alpha-gal syndrome. I consistently cite and link to expert sources, but nothing published on this site should be perceived as medical advice.

Alpha-gal sensitivities vary by person. You should understand your dietary restrictions, making any adjustments needed, and directing any questions to your physician.

Asparagus is a delicious and nutritious vegetable. Cooking asparagus can be tricky — especially if you’re new to it — but it’s easy once you know what you’re doing. Asparagus can be grilled, sautéed, roasted, or steamed and this green vegetable pairs well with a variety of flavors and seasonings. In this article, you’ll learn to cook asparagus to perfection with expert tips and tricks for getting the most out of this versatile veggie.

Bunch of asparagus wrapped in brown paper
Photo Credit: Canva

In This Article


Benefits of Asparagus

Asparagus is a deliciously healthy vegetable that is an excellent addition to any meal. It’s low in calories, and high in essential vitamins and minerals like folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. These nutrients help support your body’s healthy immune system, improve digestion, and promote healthy skin and hair. What’s not to love?

Asparagus is an excellent option for those looking for a healthy and easy-to-prepare vegetable to add to their meals. You can use it in many dishes, such as soups, salads, pasta, and omelets.

Asparagus is also great if you are looking to add more plant-based foods to your diet. It’s a natural source of protein, making it a great addition to a vegetarian or vegan diet. You can use it as a meat alternative in dishes such as asparagus risotto or as a pizza topping.

With its delicious taste, nutritional benefits, and versatility, asparagus is an excellent vegetable that’s easy to include in your weekly cooking routine.

When is Asparagus Season?

Asparagus is one of my favorite spring foods, in part because seeing fresh asparagus stalks at the market signals that winter is nearly over. In the Northern Hemisphere, asparagus season is typically from late April to late June. During these months, the green stalks are tender and full of flavor, making asparagus an ideal ingredient in your favorite springtime recipes. Farmers’ markets and grocery stores will often feature locally grown asparagus during this time, allowing you to support local agriculture while savoring one of spring’s most beloved vegetables.

Bunch of Asparagus on Table
Photo Credit: Canva

Preparing Asparagus

Before you start cooking, you’ll need to prepare the asparagus spears. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

  1. Clean your asparagus by rinsing it under cold water, then pat it dry.
  2. Snap off the rough woody end of the asparagus stalk by gently bending it until it snaps. (This is where the asparagus is naturally tough and inedible.) Discard the woody ends.
  3. Peel the skin off the remaining bottom half of the stalk if it’s thick or tough.

Cooking Asparagus

Now that you’ve prepped the asparagus, it’s time to start cooking! There are five different methods you can use to cook asparagus, including air frying asparagus, and serve it as a simple side dish.

Boiling Asparagus
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Boiling Asparagus

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the prepared asparagus. Cook for 3–5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus. Drain and serve immediately.

A fork full of steamed asparagus
Photo Credit: Canva

Steaming Asparagus

Place the prepared asparagus in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover the basket and steam for 3–5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus.

You can also steam asparagus in a Instant Pot. Simply place the trimmed asparagus stalks in a steaming rack, set inside your pressure cooker, and add a cup of water. Then press the steam button and set the cooking time to two minutes.

Asparagus spears cooking on a grill
Photo Credit: Canva

Grilling Asparagus

Preheat the grill to medium heat. Toss the prepared asparagus spears with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Placing the asparagus stalks directly on the grill grate, cook the spears for approximately 5–7 minutes, turning occasionally, until the grilled asparagus is tender.

A pan of roasted asparagus
Photo Credit: Canva

Roasting Asparagus

Preheat your oven to 425° F. Place the prepared asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Roast in the preheated oven for 12–15 minutes until tender and slightly caramelized.

Air Frying Asparagus

Preheat your air fryer to 400° F. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. Place the prepared asparagus spears in the air fryer basket in a single layer and cook for 6–7 minutes.

Related Article: What is an Air Fryer? Get the Fry Without the Fat

Sage Advice: Whether you steam, grill, or use another cooking method to prepare asparagus, adding a squeeze of lemon juice or lemon zest adds a little brightness to its natural flavor.

Storing Leftover Asparagus

It’s easy to store leftover cooked asparagus. Simply allow the cooked asparagus to cool to room temperature. Then place it in an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator where the asparagus should remain fresh for up to three days.

What To Serve With Asparagus

Here are a few dishes that pair well with scrumptious stalks of asparagus.

NOTE: Because the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports that most people with alpha-gal can tolerate “moderate, lean dairy,” some of the simple recipe ideas below include cheese. If you are an alpha gal who avoids dairy, please make a dairy-free substitution. 

Portobello Mushrooms and Asparagus
Photo Credit: Canva

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Asparagus

Grill portobello mushroom steaks and serve them with sautéed or roasted asparagus. Not sure how to prep portobellos? Here’s how to clean mushrooms like a pro.

Related Article: Spinach Stuffed Portobellos

Homemade Lentil and Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie 

Make a vegetable shepherd’s pie using a lentil and vegetable pie filling topped with mashed potatoes. Serve with a side of asparagus.

Quinoa and Black Bean Bowl with Asparagus

Prepare a bowl with cooked quinoa, black beans, avocado, and salsa. Serve with a side of asparagus.

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Asparagus

Stuff bell peppers with a mixture of rice, vegetables, and cheese. Serve with a side of air fryer asparagus.

Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini with Asparagus
Photo Credit: Canva

Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini with Asparagus

Grill eggplant and zucchini slices, and then serve with a side of sautéed or roasted asparagus.

Roasted Root Vegetable Medley with Asparagus

Roast an assortment of root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets, and serve with a side of asparagus.

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Asparagus

Prepare stuffed shells with a mixture of spinach, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese. Serve with a side of sautéed or roasted asparagus.

Stir Fry with Asparagus
Photo Credit: Canva

Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry with Asparagus

Cook a stir-fry with tofu, vegetables, and a sauce of your choice. Serve with a side of sautéed or roasted asparagus.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Asparagus

Make a classic grilled cheese sandwich and serve it with a side of sautéed or roasted asparagus.

Vegetable Bhuna with Asparagus

Cook butternut squash in a curry sauce bursting with spices to make this vegetable bhuna. Serve with a side of sautéed or roasted asparagus.

Cooked Asparagus with Salmon
Photo Credit: Canva

Cooking asparagus is fun and easy once you get the hang of it. By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to cook perfectly tender and crisp asparagus every time. Try different methods of cooking asparagus to find the one you like best, and don’t be afraid to experiment with other seasonings and herbs to add some extra flavor.

Portions of this article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.

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