What’s in Season? Asparagus!

— Written By and last updated by

One day it will actually start to feel like Springtime and when it does look for fresh asparagus! Asparagus has gone from being a mystery vegetable to being a very popular one. Now is the best time to buy fresh asparagus, if you cannot get it fresh and local yet many groceries having at a very good price. Asparagus is full of nutrition. Low in calories (only 25 per serving!) and sodium, and has no fat or cholesterol. A serving of Asparagus provides 10 percent of the daily requirement of foliate, eight percent of dietary fiber and potassium, and 100 percent of vitamin C. Including Asparagus in everyday meals and snacks can help prevent cancer, heart disease and hypertension. Asparagus has also proven to serve as a detoxifier, as an anti-aging vegetable, and to reduce inflammation.

Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Tomatoes

12 oz. orzo
1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, minced
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Bring 2 large pots of water to boil. Add a big pinch of salt in each.

To one pot, add asparagus and blanch, about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus.

Place blanched asparagus in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and keep them green.

To the second pot, add the orzo. Cook per package instructions. When tender, drain and place in a large bowl.

Add blanched asparagus and tomato halves.

Mix olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir into orzo and vegetables. Stir in parsley and grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Asparagus and Radish Salad

1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), trimmed

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

2 3 dashes sriracha (optional)

1 bunch radishes, trimmed and cut into wedges

2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion or green onion

Fill a medium bowl with ice water and place by the stove. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket.

Thinly slice asparagus stalks on the diagonal, leaving the tips whole. Place in the steamer basket and steam until tender-crisp, about 1 minute. Transfer the asparagus to the ice water. Drain.

Combine vinegar, soy sauce, canola oil, sesame oil, ginger and sriracha sauce (if using) in a large bowl. Add the asparagus, radishes and scallion; toss to combine. Serve warm or room temperature.

Roast Chicken and Asparagus Bowtie Pasta

1 pkg farfalle (bowtie) pasta

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 cup red onion, sliced

1 tbsp. garlic, chopped

2 cups chicken stock (low sodium or homemade)

1 lb. asparagus

1 cup frozen green peas

2 cups leftover roast chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 tsp. lemon zest, grated

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 cup packed basil leaves

Salt and ground pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil; continue boiling for 6 minutes or until liquid has reduced and thickened slightly.

Remove tough ends from asparagus and cut into 1 inch pieces. Add to pan and cook 3 minutes or until almost tender crisp. Add peas, spinach, cooked chicken and lemon zest, and cook 2 more minutes or until peas are cooked and chicken is warmed.

Drain pasta and add to frying pan. Toss pasta with sauce; sprinkle in Parmesan and basil, stirring until combined.   Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Balsamic Tomato Asparagus

1 bunch of asparagus, washed and trimmed

1 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Salt & pepper to taste

Cook asparagus in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain.

Spray a large skillet with an olive oil mister and set over medium-high heat.

Add tomatoes and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar; cook 3 minutes. Stir in salt.

Arrange asparagus on a platter; top with tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper.

Roasted Asparagus and Mushroom Platter

1 pound large button mushrooms
1/4 tablespoon plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-1/2 pounds asparagus (tough ends snapped off and bottom 1/3 peeled with vegetable peeler)

Preheat Oven to 450 degrees F. Place mushrooms and 1/4 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl.

Sprinkle w/ salt and pepper and oregano and toss to distribute oil and seasonings. Turn out into a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.

Toss asparagus in remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, place asparagus on another baking sheet.

Place both baking sheets in oven and roast until asparagus is tender (10-15 minutes depending on thickness) and mushrooms are tender and golden (approximately 20 minutes).

Remove from oven and arrange on platter. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Written By

Photo of Tammy Kelly, Ed. DTammy Kelly, Ed. DCounty Extension Director (252) 527-2191 tammy_kelly@ncsu.eduLenoir County, North Carolina
Posted on Apr 1, 2013
Was the information on this page helpful? Yes check No close
This page can also be accessed from: go.ncsu.edu/readext?208366