Asparagus is awesome. France’s King Louis XIV loved asparagus so much that he had special greenhouses built so he could enjoy it all year long, earning this vegetable the nickname “the Food of Kings.” You don’t, however, have to be royalty to enjoy asparagus! This tender member of the lily family can grace even the most humble of tabletops for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Why You Should Eat More Asparagus
In addition to its unmistakable grassy green, “springtime” flavor, asparagus is an extremely beneficial vegetable to include in your healthy diet.
Asparagus is a very good to excellent source of a number of B vitamins, which are involved in energy production, helping to regulate mood, and supporting immune health. The “Bs” are essential for various metabolic processes within the body.
Of special note is folate, a B vitamin that is needed to form red blood cells and is important for fetal development. Pregnant women, and those thinking of becoming pregnant, are urged to get additional folate. One cup of asparagus provides 67% of the RDV of folate, making this the perfect food to add to your pregnancy diet.
Asparagus is also a rich source of vitamin C, an antioxidant vitamin that is needed for skin health, collagen production, and for immune function. The vitamin C in asparagus also helps your body to better absorb the nonheme iron that is in these tender green stalks, and has also been linked to a reduced risk of strokes.
Potassium is an electrolyte needed to maintain healthy blood pressure and help keep your heart beating. Asparagus has plenty of potassium and virtually no sodium, making it a great food for people watching their blood pressure.
Antioxidants that can help slow the aging process and prevent free radical damage are found in asparagus. One of these compounds is glutathione, known as “the master antioxidant” because it can renew previously used up antioxidants and prevent them from becoming free radicals themselves. Glutathione also plays a role in the two-phase liver detoxification process, so eating plenty of asparagus can benefit liver health and so much more.
Asparagus is a nutrient-rich food that can benefit just about anybody!
How To Cook Asparagus
The tender stalks of asparagus respond equally well to a variety of cooking methods: dry heat methods such as grilling or roasting; wet heat methods such as boiling, poaching, steaming, or blanching; and combination methods like sauteing or stir frying. Asparagus can even be shaved raw into salads or served as part of a raw vegetable platter. Before you prepare it, rinse the asparagus and then bend the stalk towards the bottom; it should then snap off. Discard the thick, woody end and use the thinner tops for your dish.
Julius Caesar preferred his asparagus with melted butter, but you can pick from one of these eight awesome new ways to add asparagus to your meal.
Asparagus for Breakfast
Asparagus with Poached Eggs
Eggs and asparagus is a classic and simple combination. The characteristic flavor of asparagus becomes the star of the dish, no matter if served with softly scrambled, fried, or poached eggs. By poaching the eggs, like in this recipe for Poached Eggs and Asparagus, you will get a beautiful “sauce” of molten egg yolk that will pour over the asparagus when you cut into the dish.
Leek and Asparagus Frittata
Asparagus and leeks pair perfectly together; they both come from the same lily family (as do onions and garlic). Their complementary flavors are a breath of fresh spring air, and perfectly matched in a light and fluffy frittata, balanced with earthy shiitake mushrooms. One serving of this Leek and Asparagus Frittata is 385 calories, with almost 25 grams of protein.
Asparagus for Lunch
Asparagus and Goat Cheese Pasta
Roasted asparagus has an extra depth of flavor and delightful texture that complements creamy goat cheese and warm nutmeg in this recipe for Pasta with Goat Cheese and Roasted Asparagus, a great lunch to share with friends.
Asparagus and Egg Salad
Watercress and raw asparagus tossed with french dressing and topped with hard boiled eggs is a light and tangy way to enjoy the classic pairing of eggs and asparagus at lunch time, too. French dressing is surprisingly easy to make, and this simple Asparagus and Egg Salad is ready in no time.
Shaved Asparagus and White Bean Salad
When Sunday brunch calls for a more sophisticated salad offering, raw asparagus shaved into ribbons and combined with white beans is the way to go. The citrus champagne vinegar on this Shaved Asparagus and White Bean Salad is the perfect way to celebrate friends, and at only 171 calories per serving you can go back for seconds without any guilt.
Asparagus for Dinner
Creamy risotto and vibrant asparagus is the perfect way to celebrate a romantic occasion. After all, asparagus is a rumored aphrodisiac. Share a bowl of Asparagus Risotto with someone you love.
Asparagus and Avocado Sushi
Feeling adventurous? How about a vegetarian sushi night with Asparagus and Avocado Sushi rolls? Make it a fun night with friends, and get everyone involved rolling up fresh asparagus, earthy shiitakes, and decadent avocados into nori seaweed rolls. Healthy, yummy, and fun!
Egg Topped Soba Noodles with Asparagus and Prosciutto
Asparagus and eggs make one more appearance on our “awesome” list, this time sharing the limelight with salty prosciutto. Soba noodles are gluten-free and add a wonderfully nutty flavor to this recipe for Egg Topped Soba Noodles with Asparagus and Prosciutto. Quick and easy, the perfect weeknight dinner.
There you have it! Eight incredible asparagus dishes, and even more reasons to include this beneficial vegetable into your healthy diet.