But first, here are shopping and storage tips:
Whether you prefer thick or thin varieties, select a bunch of asparagus with firm stems and tightly closed tips. While it’s best to use them immediately, you can store them by standing their stem ends in a bowl of cold water and placing them in the refrigerator for a day or two.
How To Cook Asparagus
Prior to cooking, rinse and break off the tough ends of your asparagus stems. Whatever cooking method you choose, remember that cooking times depend on the thickness of the asparagus and the degree of crispness you desire.
And do think beyond the side dish. If you love asparagus, love it all day long! Enjoy it tucked within your egg-white omelet, as a mid-morning snack, in salads or soups, and in pastas or rice dishes!
Boil asparagus for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain, and plunge immediately in cold water
Tie a bundle of asparagus, at top and bottom, with kitchen string. Place in a tall pot with two inches of boiling water, stem ends down, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. This can also be done more easily in a specially designed asparagus steamer.
Or, simply place your asparagus spears in a steamer basket inserted into a pot that contains an inch or two of boiling water. Cover, and steam till spears are bright green.
In a skillet containing 1 to 2 inches of boiling water, lay asparagus flat and boil for 2 to 4 minutes. Boiling can also be done in your microwave. Simply place your asparagus in a glass baking dish and nuke on high for 3 to 5 minutes.
Place your asparagus on a nonstick baking sheet lightly misted with cooking spray and place in a 450-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
Place asparagus on a pre-heated grill misted with a bit of cooking spray, and grill for 5 to 7 minutes, turning occasionally.
Cut your asparagus on the diagonal into 1- to 2-inch pieces. In a nonstick wok, stir fry with a small amount of salt-free broth or white wine for about 3 minutes.
While many would argue that asparagus alone and unseasoned is the perfect dish, additional ingredients can offer variety and spice up the asparagus experience. Shake your favorite no-salt seasoning onto steamed or boiled asparagus. Or, before roasting or broiling, marinate your asparagus in a zesty mixture of three tablespoons of balsamic vinegar with pinches of fresh or granulated garlic, fresh or dried oregano, and black pepper.
Now, how about a few delicious healthy asparagus recipes?
Asparagus Orange Salad
Be creative! Feel free to forge new fusions. For this salad, do you prefer balsamic over red wine vinegar? Go for it! Did you just pick up gorgeous strawberries from the market? Use them instead of oranges. Remember Pritikin Chef Anthony’s mantra: “If you enjoy foods individually, chances are you will love them when they’re combined.” It’s all about discovering new taste treats!
Creamy Celery and Asparagus Soup
In warm weather, try this soup chilled, suggests Chef Anthony. And once again, have some fun. Play with ingredients. Love garlic? Add more! Like fresh oregano and have some sitting in the fridge? Add it! Enjoy quinoa? Use quinoa instead of brown rice.
Quick-and-Easy Asparagus and Salmon Pasta
Just put a pot of water on the stove to boil the minute you walk in the door, and you’re practically half-way done! The asparagus and pasta cook in the same water, then all ingredients (only seven in total) end up in a few easy swirls in a skillet.
Citrus-Baked Salmon With Asparagus
Love salmon-asparagus combinations? Here’s another delight, compliments of Pritikin Executive Chef Anthony Stewart and his talented team. What luscious flavors in this dynamite combination of citrus, salmon, garlic, balsamic reduction, and more! A palate pleaser for Pritikin and nonPritikin guests alike!