Tender, grassy, and sweet, asparagus is a true marker of the triumphant arrival of spring. The stalks are at their best when freshly picked, in-season, and as local as possible since transportation and time are hard on the vegetable. We've got lots of tips to help you select the right bunch; once you've found one to your liking, the options are vast. You can braise or broil it, throw it on the grill, turn it into soups or shave it into a light and refreshing salad. Here are 20 recipes to get you started!
Sichuan-Style Asparagus and Tofu Salad
Asparagus isn't exactly a Chinese ingredient, but that doesn't mean that you can't incorporate it into Chinese cooking. This recipe combines cold and crunchy asparagus tossed with firm tofu in a fiery sweet-hot-sour vinaigrette made with roasted chilies and Sichuan peppercorns. It's refreshingly easy to make and comes together in just 30 minutes.
Cheesy Grits With Spring Vegetables
Cheesy, creamy grits are the perfect creamy and comforting base for a sauté of fresh spring vegetables all finished with butter and herbs. A soft-yolked poached egg on top turns a light supper into a full on meal.
Simple Grilled Asparagus
Warm weather means spring vegetables are arriving, and you can comfortably fire up the grill again. Grilled asparagus is a seasonal side dish that's smoky, sweet, crisp, and just plain easy. Toss them with a little oil before throwing them on the grates, and finish with a simple sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Sauteed Asparagus with Chorizo, Fried Eggs, and Smoked Paprika Aioli
Eggs and asparagus are natural partners in crime. Throw a bit of crisp, smoky Spanish chorizo into the mix and you've got yourself a gang on your plate. A delicious, delicious gang that needs a bit of smoked paprika-flavored aioli to butter them up.
Asparagus and Sweet Pea Frittata With Minty Spring Salad
This simple pea-and-asparagus frittata is a quintessential spring dish that's great for breakfast or as a light lunch, snack, or dinner. Served with a bright, fresh salad that's flavored with mint and shaved raw asparagus, it becomes a quick and easy meal in its own right. By cooking half the asparagus into the frittata and shaving the other half raw into the salad, you benefit from both its fresh raw and cooked sweet flavors.
Warm Farro Salad With Asparagus, Peas, and Feta
This warm one-pot farro salad is loaded with tender spring peas and both cooked and raw asparagus, along with heartier ingredients like kale and crunchy almonds. Tossed with a tangy lemon-mustard vinaigrette and briny feta cheese, it's a healthy dish that celebrates of the transition from winter to spring.
Olive Oil-Fried Eggs With Asparagus
If you've never fried an egg in lots of olive oil, you're missing out on some major crispy, puffy, runny action. And nothing goes better with eggs than asparagus. Keep in mind that cooking an egg this way is not for the faint of heart. When you drop the egg into the oil it splatters quite a bit, so be careful if it's your first time. Roast your asparagus ahead of time for a quick fire brunch.
Cheese Curd, Asparagus, and Prosciutto Pasta Salad
This quick pasta salad is great on a weeknight when all you can muster is the smallest amount of effort. Adding the asparagus in with the boiling pasta in the last few minutes of cooking ensures tender stalks that retain a bit of snap. Toss with a basic olive oil and lemon dressing, mint, cheese curds, and finish with slices of prosciutto.
Raw Asparagus Caesar Salad
It may sound strange, but crisp, raw asparagus makes a wonderful salad. Here, it's chopped into bite-sized pieces and tossed with a creamy Caesar vinaigrette and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. It has all of the tangy-salty-creamy flavors you want from a Caesar salad, with the fresh crispness of raw asparagus.
As good quality asparagus pops up at your market, snag a few bunches and pickle them for off-season enjoyment. Use the freshest asparagus you can find, as older asparagus shrivels a great deal during processing. And don't skip the blanching step, it softens the asparagus and allows the pickling liquid to soak in more effectively.
Asparagus and Ramp Soup With Yogurt
For a flavorful and light dish that uses two of spring's best veggies, look no further. You can use thick or thin asparagus stalks for this soup, since you'll be pureeing them. The stalks are blanched and the ramps are sauteed before being transformed into a creamy soup and topped with yogurt. If you can't find ramps, substitute one clove of garlic and one bunch of scallions.
Fresh Herbs With Corn, Asparagus, and Chickpeas
For a fresh and herby salad, combine chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, dill, and mint with crisped chickpeas, shallots, corn kernels, and bright green asparagus. A generous hit of cumin adds smokiness and sumac-filled yogurt adds bright creaminess. It makes a nutrient-packed, fresh summer dish that hits the table in less than 30 minutes.
For a simple preparation that brings out the best in asparagus, braise your stalks in stock and butter. Begin my searing the asparagus in a bit of oil, then deglazing the pan with stock or water before adding butter and letting them cook in the reducing liquid. You'll end up with tender, flavorful stalks coated in a delicate buttery sauce.
Grilled Asparagus, Zucchini, and Bread Salad With Olive-Caper Dressing
A season-appropriate spin on the classic panzanella salad, fat stalks of asparagus and halved zucchinis are grilled until charred without becoming mushy. Bread is given the same grill treatment, and everything is cut up and well-dressed with chopped Taggiasche olives (Kalamatas will work), capers, red wine vinegar, parsley, plenty of really good olive oil, and a squeeze of grilled lemon. It's a salad that's both smoky and fresh, and tastes great the next day.
Lemony Pasta With Asparagus and Bacon
This is an ultra-quick pasta recipe that relies on starchy pasta water to bring it all together. Sweet, tender asparagus, salty cheese, and black pepper are added to the pasta, along with a few thin slices of bacon, spring onions and jalapeño peppers for punch. As a finishing touch, lemon zest, parsley, and a splash of juice brightens the whole deal. Two pots, under 30 minutes, and some seriously good springtime eating.
Spring Vegetable Risotto With Asparagus, Zucchini, Fava Beans, Snap Peas, and Morels
For a truly creamy risotto, rinse the rice first and save the starchy water to thicken the dish at the end. And for a vegetable risotto that takes advantage of the season's best, utilize a few different colors of asparagus along with morel mushrooms. Morels can be hard to find and expensive, but thankfully this recipe uses dried morels, which taste even better in this context. Risotto is a labor of love, but you'll end up with a creamy, tender, and amazingly flavorful dish that's bright and springy but still rib-sticking and filling.
Charred Asparagus Tacos With Creamy Adobo and Pickled Red Onions
Meaty tacos are great, but who doesn't love charred sweet asparagus in the springtime? Cook the asparagus in olive oil until nearly blackened in spots so that you get a nice contrast between the natural sweetness and the smokiness. Top with adobo sauce and sour cream, a bright green salsa verde, or a nice roasted tomato salsa. Pickled red onions, chopped cilantro, and crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese wouldn't hurt, either.
Asparagus and Goat Cheese Omelet For Two
There are many vegetables that can be happily folded into an omelet, but the size and shape of asparagus make them particularly ideal. Not to mention how well asparagus pairs with eggs. Cooking the asparagus quickly in the same pan that you'll use to cook the omelet cuts down on dishes, so you can spend more time outside enjoying the spring weather!
The key to broiling asparagus is to use crazy high heat to maximize caramelization while still maintaining a pleasant crispness. The best way to do this is to use a relatively heavy rimmed baking sheet that's preheated for at least 10 minutes in a 500°F oven on the bottom rack. Toss your asparagus with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and throw it on the pan. A few minutes in the oven, a sprinkle of lemon, and a nice sharp cheese, and you're good to go.
Gluten-Free Roasted Asparagus Tart
If you're attending a brunch or potluck, you might want to take along this asparagus tart. It's a complete dish in a tart pan, tastes great at room temperature, and would look beautiful as part of a springtime spread. The homemade crust is gluten-free, so your friend who doesn't eat gluten will be able to enjoy it as well.