In many places around the world, asparagus is an ingredient that signals springtime. When asparagus crops up at grocery stores and markets, we know the cold, wintry days are likely behind us and we’re in store for warmth and sunshine. Asparagus has a robust, earthy flavour and it’s very versatile in recipes. If you’ve only eaten overcooked, limp asparagus, it may not be a vegetable that’s top on your to-cook list. But trust us – when prepped and cooked the right way, it’s delicious!
Culinary Nutrition Benefits of Asparagus
Asparagus is loaded with nutritional benefits to support overall health and wellbeing. It contains:
- Vitamin K, crucial for bone health and blood clotting
- A range of B vitamins for energy and resilience, notably folate (Vitamin B9) that aids with the brain and nervous system development
- Fibre for good digestion, blood sugar balance, and cardiovascular health
- Iron to support energy levels
- Antioxidant vitamins A, C and E to protect our cells from damage and reduce inflammation
- Quercetin, a flavonoid that helps to lower inflammation and has anti-cancer and anti-allergy properties
The first step to enjoying asparagus is buying fresh asparagus when it is in season, and asparagus that grows close to where you live. As asparagus ages and takes longer to get from farm to plate, it will become woody, tough, and stringy.
Look for asparagus that is:
- firm and smooth to the touch
- standing up straight (not wilting over)
- bright green, with some white at the very bottom of the spear
For optimal and longer-lasting freshness, store your asparagus similar to flowers.
- Cut off the bottom of each spear, then tie the bunch together and place them in a mason jar (or another container) filled with 2 inches of water.
- Place a bag over the top of the asparagus and secure the bag with an elastic band.
Unless you plan to use your asparagus within a day or two, don’t wash it before storing.
The easiest way to trim your asparagus is to snap the white, woody end off the bottom of the spear with your hands. The asparagus should break naturally, leaving you with the tender part and the woody end to discard. Alternatively, you could trim an inch or so off the bottom of the asparagus spear with a knife.
Thinner asparagus will be more tender than thick stalks. If your asparagus spears are fat, especially closer to the bottom, you can peel off the outer layer with a vegetable peeler.
There are a few options for prepping asparagus after you’ve removed the ends:
- Leave them in one long piece
- Chop the spears into one-inch pieces
- Cut the spears into thin slices
- Peel the spears into ribbons or ‘noodles’
- Shred them in your food processor or with a grater
Ready to get started cooking with asparagus? These 21 Best Asparagus recipes show you how to use asparagus to its full flavour advantage – and reap its health benefits.
21 Best Asparagus Recipes
Garlic Roasted Asparagus
This asparagus recipe is a wonderful primer on how to prep asparagus and cook it for the most delicious results.
Spring Detox Soup
Sweet Potato Toast with Asparagus and Poached Eggs
Looking for an easy Paleo breakfast option? Try these sweet potato toasts with pan-fried asparagus. If you don’t believe that root veggies like sweet potato are a good stand-in for toast, try one of our gluten-free bread recipes.
Garlic Balsamic Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus
Don’t you just love when asparagus recipes are super easy! This sheet pan asparagus side dish is simple, convenient, and full of flavour.
Add even more green things to your guac with this asparagus-avocado combo.
Roasted Whole 30 Greek Salad
Who says salads have to be raw? This roasted Greek salad is packed with veggies and has a delicious caramelized flavour.
Asparagus Shallot Tart
This stunner of a recipe also happens to be grain-free, gluten-free, and vegan.
We’re firm believers that you can pickle almost anything! If you’re tired of all of your go-to asparagus recipes, try making lacto-fermented asparagus pickles for a delicious change.
Asparagus and Mushroom Frittata
This dairy-free recipe makes for an amazing breakfast, brunch, or breakfast-for-dinner.
Pan Seared Asparagus with Harissa, Lemon Zest, and Mint
This speedy side dish is light on work but heavy on flavour. We like to make pan-fried recipes like this one in a cast iron skillet.
Easy Asparagus Salad
A 5-ingredient salad recipe that uses raw, grated asparagus – asparagus recipes don’t always need to be cooked!
One Pan Lemon Garlic Chicken with Asparagus
No need to even turn the stove on to make this one-pan chicken and asparagus recipe. Yum.
Spring Pea Quinoa Salad
It’s springtime in a bowl!
20 Minute Pasta with Asparagus, Bell Pepper and Tomato
When you’re short on time, this simple pasta dish can help you make the most of asparagus season. We like to use gluten-free penne or chickpea pasta for this one.
Asparagus, Tofu Ricotta and Spicy Breadcrumbs
This is one of those next-level asparagus recipes with the complement of tofu ricotta and seasoned breadcrumbs. Any gluten-free bread would work beautifully here, or you could try almond flour for a grain-free option.
Asparagus, Pesto and Feta Vegan Omelette
Chickpea flour takes the place of eggs in this delightful springtime vegan omelette.
Easy Salmon and Asparagus Dinner
Roasted asparagus complements a pineapple and soy-glazed salmon in this sheet pan dinner recipe.
Asparagus Salad with Mushrooms, Eggs and Glass Noodles
A simple gluten-free noodle salad with a mix of flavours and textures – this one really gives asparagus its chance to shine.
Asparagus Stir-Fry with Mashed Garlic and Olives
Chickpea Tofu Asparagus Curry
This asparagus recipe also stars a very unique chickpea flour tofu for a soy-free option – but you could easily use either tofu or chickpeas here.
Asparagus, Spinach and Walnut Risotto
This vegan risotto recipe is packed with all the green veg and earns is creaminess from coconut milk.
We hope you feel inspired to put asparagus to good use in your kitchen!