After a long, cold winter, it’s safe to say that we’re all ready for a few signs of spring. Temps are rising, the sun’s staying out longer, and vibrant, fresh produce is popping up at a farmer’s market near you. Gone is our reliance on hardy greens and winter squash to color our plates with nutrients. What’s on its way? Crunchy and sweet radishes, shiny pink stalks of rhubarb, and perhaps the most telling indicator of spring’s arrival: asparagus. The deep green stalks make the perfect fast and fresh side and can seamlessly work their way into countless dishes. Hungry to make asparagus a mainstay in your mealtime rotation? These quick (and easy!) asparagus recipes are your answer.
Thanks to our industrialized food chain, you can find asparagus in the supermarket at just about any time of the year. But seek out a bundle in December and you’re bound to find thin and limp stalks that pale in comparison to the beautifully bittersweet peak-season asparagus. For context, asparagus is at its most flavorful between April and June. What does that mean? Well, along with your spring cleaning, spring vacay plans, and the beauty trends you’re excited to experiment with, the springtime months are the perfect time to play with this wonderfully versatile veggie. Asparagus soup? Give me a bright green bowl. A satisfying grain salad? Exactly what I want for lunch. When it comes to asparagus, I’m not exaggerating when I say that the options are truly endless. If you haven’t made the veggie a springtime go-to, this is your invitation to get started.
I’ll let you in on a secret. Buy, pick, or procure any fruit or veggie at peak freshness, and there’s little else you have to do. So ditch the complexity and dive into these eight simple but stunning asparagus recipes.
Feature image by Half Baked Harvest
Asparagus, Quinoa, and Rice Salad With Goat Cheese and Maple-Tahini Dressing
Why We Love It: Give it up for a grain salad that’s nutritious, satisfying, and filled with flavor. While some grain salads can taste a little too… virtuous, this one doesn’t sacrifice pleasure for health (yes, the two really can go together!). With an impressive array of ingredients, the color, texture, and again, flavor of this dish all benefit. Did I mention you can make it ahead?
Hero Ingredient: While I’m tempted to call out the Maple-Tahini Dressing (it’s good, y’all), I want to put a spotlight on the addition of apricots in this salad. A little chewy sweetness goes a long way and blends with the tangy goat cheese beautifully.
Roasted Asparagus from Well Plated With Erin
Why We Love It: It doesn’t get easier than this. Growing up, steamed asparagus was my family’s tried-and-true spring side, but when I learned just how yummy it could be roasted (thank you, Barefoot Contessa), I was a changed woman. This method gives you tender stalks, lightly caramelized tips, and a foolproof veggie that’s hard to beat.
Hero Ingredient: While salt, pepper, and olive oil are the baseline ingredients that make your asparagus shine, I’d be remiss not to recommend finishing things off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for surprising sweetness.
Sesame Roasted Asparagus With Whipped Feta from Half-Baked Harvest
Why We Love It: Moment of appreciation for this dish’s stunning styling (Tieghan Gerard truly is a genius!). Aesthetics aside, this recipe is all about layering in tons of flavor. Tossing the asparagus with olive oil, sesame seeds, lemon zest, garlic, and red pepper flakes before roasting is key. Serve that on top of a base of light-as-air feta, and you have yourself a side worth savoring.
Hero Ingredient: Three steps to perfect croutons: 1) Tear up ciabatta or sourdough 2) Toss with olive oil 3) Crunch on these crusty bread crumbs to your heart’s delight.
Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta from Rainbow Plant Life
Why We Love It: Whenever a recipe includes “creamy” and “vegan” in the title, I’m always intrigued. This pasta gets its indulgent lusciousness from nutritional yeast. Plus, with lemon and garlic leading the charge, I guarantee you’ll mistake this dish for your favorite alfredo. Only here’s the thing: it’s even better.
Hero Ingredient: Don’t doubt the impact a zingy bite of Castelvetrano olives can bring to your pasta.
Asparagus and Mushroom Ragout With Poached Eggs
Why We Love It: A slow-cooked French stew that typically relies on meat for a hearty texture, ragout isn’t usually a vegetarian’s first dinner pick. But this meat-free take swaps in mushrooms to recreate that meaty texture. Everything gets brightened up with a mix of seasonal flavors: tarragon, lemon, and spring onions. Enjoy with a poached egg or two on top for a bit of satiating protein.
Hero Ingredient: I love the delicate but distinct, licorice-like flavor that tarragon brings to anything it touches.
Creamy Asparagus Soup from Love & Lemons
Why We Love It: When we’ve made it through the dark days of winter, I tend to slow down on the soul-soothing soups and blend up recipes that are a bit lighter. This fresh and bright soup is exactly what I want simmering on my stovetop come spring. It’s refreshing, creamy (the name doesn’t lie), and just a bit sweet. While it’s delicious on its own, feel free to experiment with any toppings of your choice.
Hero Ingredient: Mustard makes for a slightly spicy tang.
Roasted Potato and Asparagus Lentil Salad With Tangy Mustard-Lemon Dressing from Oh She Glows
Why We Love It: Potatoes, asparagus, and lentils are a trifecta of vegetarian-friendly foods. Not only do they bring in a mind-blowing blend of textures and tastes, but they’re also the best veggies and grains for soaking up this tangy mustard-lemon dressing. Bonus: This salad gets better the longer it sits (well, within reason).
Hero Ingredient: I’ll never say no to a handful of fresh dill.
Asparagus With Poached Egg and Prosciutto from Downshiftology
Why We Love It: I love a recipe that can transition seamlessly between breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (Honestly, this dish is so good that I’ve definitely had it for all three meals in one day.) It’s healthy but filling and will make any dairy-free diner happy. Just sautée your asparagus, poach your eggs, and pile all this deliciousness onto a plate.
Hero Ingredient: A dusting of Parmesan finishes this dish off with a satisfying saltiness.
Which recipes will you be adding to your spring cooking repertoire?
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