There are various ways to cook asparagus. However, some cooking methods work to maximize the nutritional value of cooked asparagus better than other methods. This makes it important to know the right method to cook asparagus. If you are wondering how to cook asparagus in a healthy way, then scroll down.
How to Cook Asparagus in a Healthy Way: 6 Cooking Techniques
Asparagus is a high-fiber, low-carb vegetable. It offers a crunchy texture when enjoyed raw. However, it is just as delicious when cooked. It cooks up within minutes and you can prepare it on the stove, put it in the oven, or even use the grill to prepare crispy and crunchy charred asparagus. Learn how to cook asparagus in a healthy way here.
1. Boiled Asparagus
One of the easiest and most popular methods of cooking asparagus is boiling it. It won’t take more than a few minutes to serve boiled asparagus and enjoy it as the perfect side with one of your favorite dishes. Take a look at how you can boil asparagus the right way.
- Fill a large pot of water and put it on medium heat.
- Add a few tablespoons of salt and mix thoroughly. You can adjust the salt to taste. However, 2 -3 tablespoons should be enough for a large-sized pot.
- Bring the water to boil and add asparagus to the boiling pot of water.
- Let the asparagus cook until it is bright green and turns tender. This should not take more than 2 -3 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, prepare an ice water bath. You can prepare an ice water bath by adding ice to a large pot or bowl of water. Another simple way is to pour chilled water in a large bowl and your ice bath is ready!
- Once the asparagus is cooked, soak it in the ice bath. This will make sure that the cooking process stops immediately and your asparagus is not overcooked. It is advisable to use the ice bath method every time you boil asparagus. However, you can skip this step if you are going to eat the asparagus right away.
- If you want, you can season boiled asparagus with salt and black pepper. Many people enjoy it without seasoning.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
2. Roasted Asparagus
Wondering how to cook asparagus in a healthy way without compromising on the taste? Then try roasting it! It is best to buy thick asparagus spears if you plan on roasting it. This is important because thin spears are more likely to dry out quickly, turning tough and stringy. Take a look at how to cook asparagus in a healthy way by roasting it.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Prep the asparagus by rinsing them with water. Break off the ends and discard if they are tough. You can also use a vegetable peeler to peel the tough skin off the part of the asparagus that may be too thick.
- Once the asparagus is ready, drizzle the spears with olive oil. Start by lining a baking tray or a roasting pan with foil. Arrange the spears in a straight line. Form a single line, making sure that the spears do not overlap each other. Now, drizzle olive oil on top and rub the spears. They should be coated with oil on all sides.
- Before placing the roasting tray in the oven, sprinkle salt, black pepper, and minced garlic on top. Rub the spears again to evenly distribute the ingredients.
- Place in a roasting tray in the oven and roast the asparagus until the spears turn lightly turn. Pierce them with a fork to check if they are tender. Generally, it takes around 10 minutes to roast asparagus. However, you need to be watchful as the cooking time also depends on the oven and the thickness of asparagus.
- Remove the tray from the oven once the asparagus spears are brown and tender.
- Drizzle freshly squeezed lemon juice or balsamic vinegar on top. You can also sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top to enjoy cheesy asparagus bites!
3. Steamed Asparagus
Asparagus is a great side dish. Preparing steamed asparagus is very simple and the best part is that you can serve it in as little as 5 minutes! Take a look at how to cook asparagus in a healthy way in the steamer.
- Thoroughly rinse asparagus with water and place in a steamer basket.
- Cover the lid and cook at a high temperature to build up steam.
- Let the asparagus cook in steam until they are bright green and tender. Poke a fork in the vegetable to gauge the tenderness. Generally, it takes around 2 -4 minutes to cook asparagus through this method. However, the cooking time may vary a little based on the steamer and the thickness of asparagus.
- As asparagus cooks in the steam, prepare an ice water bath.
- Once the spears are ready, remove from the steamer and shock in the ice bath to stop further cooking. Remember, you can skip this step if you plan on eating steamed asparagus right away.
- Serve and enjoy.
4. Pan-Roasted Asparagus
Pop the flavor of asparagus by roasting them in a pan. Take a look at how to cook asparagus in a healthy way by roasting it in a pan.
- Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil and butter.
- Let the butter melt before adding asparagus to the pan. Use a spoon or tongs to toss asparagus around the pan to make sure it is properly covered with the cooking fat.
- Place the lid on the pan to cover it. Sauté the asparagus until it turns bright green and crispy. This should not take more than 2 -3 minutes.
- Now remove the lid and turn the heat to high. Sear the asparagus on high heat for 3 – 5 minutes. Use a spoon or tongs to move the spears around and keep them from burning.
- To season, add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
5. Broiled Asparagus
Did you know that you can also use the broiler to prepare these fibrous treats? Here’s how you can cook asparagus using a broiler.
- The first thing you need to do is prep the spears. Break off the hard ends if required or use a peeler to peel off the tough skin. It is best to use spears of similar thickness to ensure even cooking.
- Once the spears are ready, coat them with oil. You can do it separately or in a sheet tray. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
- Set the oven on the broiler setting and place the sheet tray. Make sure that the spears are at least 6 inches away from the upper heating rod of the oven.
- Let them broiler until the asparagus turn slightly brown. Use a fork to check if they are tender. It takes around 8 – 10 minutes to broil asparagus when placed at a distance of 6 inches from the upper heating rod.
- Once ready, remove from the oven and enjoy hot!
Our Top Pick – The Healthiest Way to Cook Asparagus
While all the above-mentioned methods are healthy, our favorite method involves sautéing it in broth.
6. Sautéd in Broth
Take a look at how to cook asparagus in a healthy way by sautéing it in broth.
- In a stainless steel skillet, add around 5 tablespoons of your favorite chicken or vegetable broth. Place the skillet on medium-high heat.
- Add asparagus once the broth starts to bubble.
- Cover the lid and let them sauté until the color of the spears turns bright green. Preparing asparagus through this method takes around 5 minutes.
- Once the spears are bright green and tender, transfer them to a bowl and toss in some Mediterranean dressing for added flavors. Toss asparagus using a fork or tongs to distribute the dressing evenly.
- If you like, you can also cut the asparagus into smaller pieces. It is best to cut them after they are cooked before adding the dressing.
- Serve it hot or cold!
The Bottom Line…
These are six easy ways to prepare and serve asparagus in less than 15 minutes. Now that you know how to how to cook asparagus in a healthy way, make sure you make the most of it by retaining maximum nutrients. You can try all these methods to find the one that you like the most. You can try different methods to mix things up and make sure that serving asparagus never gets boring again!