Asparagus is a nutritional superstar that’s as versatile as it is healthy. It’s brimming with vitamins A, C, and K, along with B-complex vitamins. It’s also a great source of fiber and glutathione—a powerful antioxidant that is said to help boost your immune system and fight cancer.
Crisp, woodsy, and oh-so-elegant asparagus is the culinary queen of green vegetables. Simply steam and serve whole for a show-stopping presentation. A little dressing is really all you need to make it pop. Or quickly sauté it in butter, wrap in prosciutto, or top with fresh herbs. Raw or cooked asparagus can even be chopped and mixed in pasta salads to add vibrance and crunch.
Total: 00:08 Prep: 00:05 Cook: 00:03
Servings: 4 as a side
1 pound asparagus
1. Wash asparagus. Cut off the tough bottoms, about one to two inches.
2. Place a large plate or baking dish nearby to cool the vegetables when they come out of the steamer.
3. Fit a steamer basket inside a large pot and fill it with 1 inch of water. Bring the water to a boil.
4. Carefully transfer the asparagus to the basket, and cover the pot with a lid. Steam just until the asparagus is bright green and tender, but still crunchy to the bite, 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Quickly remove the vegetables from the steamer basket with tongs. Spread them on the plate or baking dish in a single layer with space in between, to cool and stop steaming.
- Composed Asparagus Salad. Arrange romaine lettuce on a platter. Top with olives, sliced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado, and steamed asparagus. Display the ingredients neatly in individual sections. Drizzle with your favorite dressing. Serve family-style. For more details, see our Composed Salad recipe.
- Asparagus with Lemon Dressing. Whisk fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Pour desired amount over the asparagus and toss well.
- Gluten-Free Pasta Salad with Chopped Asparagus. Cook about 1 pound of gluten-free penne pasta, such as Tinkyada brand, according to package instructions. Chop the steamed asparagus, and toss it with the drained and cooled pasta. Add other salad ingredients, like sliced bell peppers, chopped tomatoes, white beans, fresh minced herbs, and crumbled goat cheese. Season with your favorite vinaigrette, chill, and serve.
Asparagus can vary greatly in size. If your stalks are extra thick, you may want to steam them for an extra minute or two. To avoid overcooking them, you can test one after 2 to 3 minutes. If it’s still raw, let it steam a little longer (but monitor it closely).
In addition to its vitamin content, asparagus is surprisingly excellent for women’s health. According to The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia , asparagus is “the primary Ayurvedic root for strengthening female hormones, promoting fertility, increasing lactation, and relieving menstrual pain.”
After you steam asparagus, it will still continue to cook until it cools down. To expedite the process, make an ice bath. This will also help the asparagus retain its crispiness and bright green color:
•Fill a large bowl with water and ice.
•With tongs, transfer the steamed asparagus to the ice bath and submerge.
•Let sit for a few minutes until completely cool.
•Drain asparagus well, and let dry or dap with a kitchen towel.