8 New Ways to Cook Asparagus

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8 Healthy Asparagus Recipes

by Bryn Mooth, Food Writer
While asparagus is available mostly year-round at the grocery store, spring is when this long, lean vegetable really shines. Asparagus is harvested in April through July in most of the U.S., and that's when it's at its peak of nutrition and flavor. (In-season, it's also less expensive.)

Asparagus is high in antioxidants and fiber. If you don't consider yourself a fan, you've probably encountered mushy, canned or overcooked asparagus. But asparagus doesn't need a lot of cooking to be just plain delicious.

Here are two tips to make any asparagus you cook better--plus eight NEW ways to enjoy this spring staple.

Prep Tip #1: Don't Snap It

Most recipes tell you to snap off the tough ends of the asparagus spears, but that method yields a lot of waste. Instead, use a paring knife to trim off about an inch at the bottom, and use a vegetable peeler to strip away the tough outer layer on the bottom half of the stalk.

Prep Tip #2: Thickness Matters

While most home cooks assume that thick asparagus is more mature and tougher, that's not necessarily the case. Some asparagus stalks grow slender; others fat, regardless of "age."

But the two can't always be used interchangeably in recipes. Thick asparagus (larger than the width of your thumb) is best when roasted or grilled, and might need additional cooking time in certain recipes.

Simple Roasted Asparagus Recipe

Wondering how to roast asparagus? It's easy.

Prep asparagus, rinse and pat dry. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil and roll the spears around to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until asparagus is just tender and beginning to brown, 15-20 minutes. Top it with lemon zest, lemon juice or Parmesan cheese.

Grilled Pizza with Asparagus Recipe

Asparagus on pizza? Absolutely. This vegetarian pizza recipe has tons of great flavor, thanks to caramelized onion and sun-dried tomato. Get the recipe.

Penne with Asparagus and Mushrooms Recipe

A bit of bacon and just two tablespoons of cream add the right amount of richness to this simple pasta and asparagus dish without train-wrecking the calories. Fresh spring asparagus and cremini mushrooms are the real stars. Get the recipe.

Photo courtesy of writes4food.com

Asparagus and Crab Crepes Recipe

Sounds like a high-end restaurant dish, but this crepe recipe is easy to prepare for even a casual meal at home. Make this for a spring brunch or light supper.

Spring Tortellini with Asparagus Recipe

Use store-bought cheese tortellini (fresh or frozen) as the basis for this spring pasta dish. Think of the pasta as the sidekick, and use more vegetables--asparagus and peas--than you normally would if you're watching calories. Get the recipe.

Photo courtesy of writes4food.com

Roasted Asparagus Pasta Salad Recipe

We love the flavor combination of asparagus, arugula and cherry tomatoes with a light lemony dressing. Get the recipe.

Broccoli, Asparagus and Spinach Casserole Recipe

Easy, cheesy and surprisingly low in calories (just 141 per serving), this vegetable casserole recipe is a great way to sneak more veggies into your family's diet.

Phyllo-Wrapped Asparagus Recipe

This elegant asparagus recipe is perfect as a party appetizer, and is a standout at brunch.

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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6/27/2013 2:44:46 PM

I just bought some from Schwann and look forward to trying these recipes and tips.


6/26/2013 2:01:07 PM

Interesting article, just discovered asparagus, Ill have to try some of these new ways to enjoy it.


6/25/2013 10:40:37 PM

I like to add asparagus to my garden vegetable salad. fresh leafy lettuce leaves with cherry tomatoes, carrots,onions, radishes. I often use the vegetable peeler to shave the asparagus. A nice fresh vinagrette, makes this a nice refreshing summer salad.


6/25/2013 10:39:57 PM

WATCHINW8's SparkPage
I get my asparagus from schwan. I Love it.


6/25/2013 6:13:35 PM

Boy, do I love asparagus! I would love to see this in a better format too. The ideas and suggestions are right on point, but a lot of trouble to remember or copy. Anyone with suggestions?


6/25/2013 12:34:06 PM

Interesting article, but why must it be organized as a slide show? I usually don't read any articles that are set up like this, because clicking on each slide and waiting for it to load wastes a lot of time. I'd rather see a list, with links to photos if necessary.

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