How to cook asparagus - showing you five easy ways to enjoy this refreshing and vibrant veggie! Plus how to store asparagus for meal prep, and recipe ideas that you can use asparagus in!
Fresh asparagus during the spring and early summer is absolutely DELICIOUS and so easy to cook. Now only that, it's a healthy low carb vegetable that is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (1).
Best of all, it's the perfect veggie to cook up when you need something last minute. You can have asparagus cooked and on your table in under 10 minutes - faster and simpler than mixing up a whole salad!
How to prepare asparagus before cooking
The important thing to know about asparagus is that is has a tough lower stem that should be removed before serving. You can either chop the bottom 2 inches off the stem, or simply snap them as pictured above.
- Wash or rinse asparagus under cold water and shake off excess.
- Snap off tough stem, usually the bottom 2 or so inches. You can also use a knife.
It is SO easy to cook asparagus in the oven and it takes very little time! To cook asparagus in the oven, we use high heat, either 425°F or a broiler, and it only takes 3-5 minutes.
Here's how to cook asparagus in the oven
- Heat broiler
- Toss asparagus in olive oil, arrange on a baking pan and season with salt & pepper
- Broil for 3 or so minutes 4-6 inches under the broiler. Keep an eye on it because it can overcook quickly!
Stove top asparagus
There are a few ways you can cook asparagus on the stove: sauteed or blanched! Either is good, but I'd probably go for sauteed because it has just a little extra flavor.
Here's how to cook asparagus on the stove:
- Sautéed asparagus:
- melt butter in a nonstick pan over medium heat
- add the asparagus, cooking for 3-5 minutes, turning over with tongs halfway
- Blanched asparagus:
- bring a pot of water to boil
- add asparagus to the pot, and cook for 2 minutes
- remove asparagus from the water and run under cool water (or plunge into a bowl of ice water)
- season with salt & pepper and enjoy
Regardless of which method you use for cooking asparagus on the stove, it is quick and simple and goes well with many different main courses!
When the weather warms up, we like to grill asparagus outside on the barbecue. But for these photos, I used my old george foreman grill.
Either method works, but if you are using an outdoor grill, make sure you use a vegetable grilling basket (This is the one we own and love!) to prevent your asparagus from falling between the grates.
How to cook asparagus on the grill:
- Heat grill over medium-high heat
- Toss asparagus in olive oil and season with salt & pepper
- Grill in a vegetable grilling basket for 3 minutes (indoor or outdoor grill), or until asparagus is bright green and cooked through
How to enjoy asparagus raw
The fifth way to enjoy asparagus is just plain raw, tossed in a tangy vinaigrette. We will occasionally use a vegetable peeler to make thin slices, but I like this method better since you don't waste any!
- enjoy your raw asparagus in this white wine vinaigrette or this balsamic vinaigrette
- add some fresh strawberries, spinach, sliced almonds, and feta cheese!
Storage + meal prep
Asparagus is a great ingredient to use in meal prep when you do it correctly! Here are the do's and don'ts for storing asparagus for meal prep:
- Don't - leave it in a bag in the produce drawer; the tips will get soggy quickly!
- Do - store it in the fridge in a loosely covered jar or herb keeper filled with 1-2 inches of water
- Do - cook it and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Err on the side of undercooked for meal prep recipes since when you re-heat it will cook again.
- Do - cook it and store in the freezer- again, you will want to undercook it as it will soften as it thaws. We recommend a very quick blanche (60 seconds) for freezing.
- Don't - freeze it raw- asparagus must be steamed or blanched before freezing
- 1 bunch asparagus rinsed and tough ends removed
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- salt & pepper
- Prepare - Heat oven broiler. Toss asparagus in olive oil and arrange on a baking dish. Season with salt & pepper.
- Broil - Place 4-6 inches under the broiler and cook for 3 or so minutes. All broilers vary, so keep an eye on it! Asparagus is ready when bright green and tender.
- Sautée - Melt butter over medium heat in a non stick pan. Add the asparagus and cook for 3-5 minutes, turning with a set of tongs halfway through.
- Boil - Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the asparagus, and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Remove - Quickly remove the asparagus from the water, then rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Alternatively, you may place the asparagus in a bowl of ice water. Season with salt & pepper and enjoy.
- Prepare - Heat grill to medium-high heat. If using an outdoor grill, be sure to use a vegetable grilling basket. Toss asparagus in olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
- Grill - for 3 minutes, or until bright green and tender.
- Slice - Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to make thin slices of asparagus.
- Serve - Serve in a salad with a tangy vinaigrette. Goes well with spinach, feta and almonds.
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