Spring not only brings us flowers but also marks the start of the bountiful fresh fruit and veggie season. Asparagus is definitely one spring vegetable I look forward to enjoying. Packed with nutrients such as fiber, folate, chromium, Vitamins A, C, E, K and antioxidants, asparagus is one nutrition powerhouse. It is also rich in the amino acid, asparagine, a natural diuretic beneficial to those suffering from fluid retention, hypertension, or other heart related diseases.
This versatile veggie can be prepared any number of ways–boiling, steaming, grilling, or roasting. Be sure and wash the spears by holding them with the tips down under cold running water, then pat dry and break off the tough ends of the spears.
Boil–In a large skillet, bring several inches of lightly salted water to boil; Add the asparagus spears and cook until tender-crisp about 3-6 minutes. Drain.
Steam–Trim spears to about 1 ½-2 inches in length and place in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam about 3-6 minutes.
Grill–Heat grill. Toss asparagus, with 2 tbsp. olive or canola oil, 1/8 tsp. salt, and pepper to taste. Lightly oil grill rack and place asparagus on rack; cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until tender and brown in places for about 4-6 minutes.
Roast–Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place asparagus on baking sheet with sides. Toss with 2 tsp. olive or canola oil, 1/8 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Spread in a single layer and bake until tender, turning occasionally, about 10-15 minutes.
These are just a few basic ways to prepare this delicious vegetable — you’ll never be bored as asparagus is tasty in either a simple or fancy dish. Give this harbinger or spring a try this year!
By: Susan Taylor, RDN, LD