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Spring has sprung, and you know what that means, right? More rain, plants sprouting and slightly warmer weather, to name a few. And of course, the inevitable influx of high-quality local asparagus.
“But asparagus is stringy,” you say, “And it doesn’t even taste all that good.”
Chances are, you just haven’t had it prepared correctly. When done right, this vegetable is the star of the show. Read on for 12 asparagus recipes to turn you into a convert this spring.
Panko Parmesan-Crusted Asparagus
We’ll start this off with a recipe for all you picky eaters out there. This dish takes those large asparagus spears — difficult for most cooks to use — and turns them into what are essentially savory vegetable fries.
Start by whisking together an egg, olive oil, mustard, garlic powder and a dash of salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, mix your panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Coat your asparagus first in the egg mixture, then the breadcrumbs, and place on a greased baking sheet. Give the spears a final spritz with olive oil, then broil for 8 minutes. Serve these fries with lemon wedges and your favorite dip for a summer treat.
Need to convert dinner guests to the ways of asparagus? This easy recipe is high in flavor, thanks to salty cured prosciutto, which pairs well with asparagus’ grassy notes.
Take your prosciutto slices and cut them in half horizontally — or hotdog-style if you prefer. Taking a slice, wrap each spear at an angle, covering most of the length. When you’ve finished, heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan, and cook the spears until prosciutto is crisp and the asparagus tender. Serve and let your guests take care of the rest.
Shaved Asparagus and Mint Salad
You can pair this easy salad with any meal. It’s a real workhorse, combining with toast and an egg at breakfast or as a side at dinner. What’s even better, it’s a cinch to make, since you don’t have to actually heat anything.
Starting off, use a sharp vegetable peeler to shave your asparagus lengthwise, to form thin ribbons. Toss these with toasted hazelnuts and chopped mint. In a separate bowl, make your dressing by whisking together lemon juice, vinegar, honey and olive oil. Pour this to taste over your salad, and top with shaved parmesan, salt and pepper.
Asparagus and Leek Tart
This tart pairs fresh asparagus, leeks and Gruyere cheese for a savory blast. The addition of lemon thyme and parsley bring some nice herbal notes. Although this recipe takes a bit more effort, the results are well worth it.
To make the filling, thinly slice your leeks and cut the asparagus into two-inch segments. Sauté the leeks in some butter and lightly blanch the asparagus. While you wait for the veggies to cool, roll out your puff pastry into a rectangle and bake for 10 minutes.
Whisk together your eggs and milk, then add in the Gruyere and herbs. Scatter the veggies over the partially baked crust, and pour on the egg and cheese mixture. Bake for another 25 minutes, until the center sets.
Light Creamy Asparagus Soup
Want the asparagus taste without all the chewing? This faux cream soup is just what you need. It swaps traditional cream for low/non-fat yogurt, cutting the calories and adding a satisfying tang.
Start by thinly slicing a leek and sautéing it with garlic, red pepper and a dash of salt and pepper. Add in chopped asparagus and cook for three or four more minutes. Pour in frozen peas and stock, and simmer for 20 minutes. Let the soup cool, and blend using a traditional or immersion blender. Stir in your yogurt, and you’re ready to eat. Pair this with lightly toasted bread and parmesan for a lunchtime treat.
Asparagus Quiche With Spaghetti Squash Crust
This recipe adds an extra layer of flavor — and surprise — through a spaghetti squash crust. And it’s as simple as pressing roasted squash into your pie dish.
Once you have your “crust” ready to go, you can start on the filling. Sauté some onion and garlic with some olive oil, and add in your trimmed asparagus spears. Cook until they’re slightly tender. In a medium bowl, whisk together your eggs, milk and grated cheese. Pour this mixture over your crust, and top with the asparagus and onion. Bake for 40 minutes, slice, serve and enjoy.
Stuffed Sweet Potatoes With Chickpeas, Asparagus and Arugula
Want a Meatless Monday dish that doesn’t sacrifice health for flavor? Look no further than these sweet potatoes stuffed with asparagus — amongst other things.
The main bulk of this recipe is cooking your chickpeas and asparagus. To do the peas, drain the can and spread them on a towel to dry. Then, coat with olive oil, salt, cumin and chili powder. Roast them for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Toss in your asparagus when you stir them, as it only takes 10 minutes to cook.
When you’re ready, slice your sweet potatoes open and stuff with arugula, chickpeas and asparagus. Top with some light dressing and dig in.
Foil Baked Salmon and Asparagus
This recipe is great for no fuss dinners, as it’s fast and easy to clean up. Start by seasoning your salmon with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. Place your asparagus spears on a large square of foil, and top with the fish. Follow up with slices of onion and lemon. Fold the foil to make an envelope and bake for 20. Unwrap and enjoy.
Asparagus Mushroom Melts
These delicious melts work great as a light lunch. Simply slice your asparagus into rounds, and sauté together with shallots and mushrooms. Spoon the mixture over a piece of crusty toast, top with cheese, and broil until melted. There you have it, a quick and satisfying lunch.
Strawberry, Spinach and Asparagus Salad
The addition of asparagus to a classic strawberry and spinach salad gives it a satisfying crunch. To prep the asparagus, cut into inch-long segments and boil for two to three minutes. Shock them in cold water to stop the cooking. Then combine with spinach, strawberries, almonds, goat cheese and whatever else you care to throw in. Top with your favorite dressing, and you’re ready to eat.
One-Pan Sausage With Sweet Potato and Asparagus
Use this tasty bake to finish off the last of your winter root vegetables hanging around. Preheat your oven, and use a baking sheet to scatter on your chopped asparagus, sausage and sweet potato — or other root veggie. Drizzle on some olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, thyme, oregano and paprika. Toss and bake for 18 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and enjoy.
These zesty asparagus pickles go great on sandwiches or chopped in salads. In a saucepan, combine vinegar, water and salt, and bring to a boil. Set it aside for a moment. In a separate pot, blanch your asparagus for one to two minutes, and shock in cold water. Fill your pickling jars with the asparagus, a garlic clove and pickling spice. Cover with the pickling liquid, and refrigerate for at least a day. Then you’re ready to go.
There you have it — 12 asparagus recipes to put a spring in your step. And who knows, you may just feel motivated to come up with your own.