If you aren’t a fan of asparagus, you might be cooking it wrong. When you learn how to make asparagus taste good, you will discover a world of flavor and possibilities! It’s actually really easy to enhance the flavor and texture of this long green vegetable. Keep reading to find out some asparagus cooking hacks!
Most people steam asparagus, and it turns out pretty soft and unappetizing. This is unfortunate since asparagus is actually a really nutritious vegetable that tastes delicious if you cook it correctly.
Steaming asparagus is just one of the many ways to cook it. You can fry, saute, and bake it. It’s also a delicious addition to stir-fry recipes and egg casseroles. Keep reading, and I’ll show you some simple ways to make asparagus taste so good that it will become your go-to vegetable.
What is asparagus?
Before we get to all the different ways to make asparagus taste better, let’s look at what asparagus is.
Asparagus is a spring vegetable with iconic slender spears and proud caps. Its flavor resembles lettuce or other green vegetables (like broccoli or green beans).
It might surprise you to learn there are more than 300 different species of asparagus. Some are ornamental, and others are used by florists to create corsages. The kind that we eat is known as Asparagus Officinalis. This veggie is a perennial. That means it grows back every year without you having to replant it.
Asparagus also comes in a variety of colors, too. You’ll find green asparagus at the grocery store the most, but pink, purple, and white asparagus are out there in the world too.
Another fun fact about asparagus: the main countries that produce the most asparagus are China, Thailand, Mexico, Peru, and Germany.
How to make asparagus taste better
Now that you know a bit about asparagus, let’s look at how to prepare and cook it so that it tastes delicious. Since everyone enjoys different flavors, tastes, and textures of food, exactly how you enhance asparagus is completely up to you. Browse all of the following ideas and make the ones that sound the best to you!
These green veggie spears are really good for you, and making them taste amazing is quite simple. Just follow these easy tips.
Smother them in cheese
This first idea is a must if you love cheese. Create a thick sauce with your favorite types of cheese and roast the asparagus in it. In fact, you can make your favorite potato au gratin recipe with asparagus.
So many different veggies taste better when you cover them in a cheese sauce – broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini come to mind. Cheese does two things for asparagus: it enhances the naturally sweet notes in it, and it covers up the bitter taste.
Plus, if you have picky eaters in your family, adding a lot of cheese is a really easy way to make them more likely to eat the vegetable.
Roast asparagus in the oven
The mushy texture of asparagus is one of the biggest complaints people have about it. Luckily, roasting it in the oven makes it crispy and easier to chew! Sprinkle some garlic and parmesan cheese on top, and it will come out tasting savory, salty, and lip-smackingly delicious.
Be careful not to overcook them in the oven. If you do, your asparagus will become too crispy and might even get stuck to the pan or the aluminum foil. Roast them in the oven just until they are so tender that you can easily stick a fork into them.
Wrap them in bacon
It’s no secret that bacon makes everything better! Wrap the asparagus spears in strips of raw bacon, and then let them cook in the oven or air fryer. As the bacon gets crispy, so will the asparagus.
Bacon adds natural saltiness to the asparagus, and the combinations of textures are so fun to eat.
Try this trick with prosciutto too. It’s slightly saltier than bacon and thinner too. You won’t have to roast the prosciutto for as long to cook it.
Bread the vegetables
You can make fries out of asparagus too! Dip the spears into an egg mixture, and then coat them in your favorite breadcrumbs recipe. If the breadcrumbs are unflavored, add some garlic and onion powder. Then, bake or fry them.
The outside of the asparagus fries will be crispy, while the inside is soft and juicy. This is a lot like making green bean fries or zucchini fries.
Then, dip them into your favorite marinara sauce or vinaigrette salad dressing. Asparagus fries also taste delicious when you dip them into ranch dressing.
Use asparagus in stir fry
This is the best option if you don’t like having to slice asparagus in order to eat it. Chop it up into small pieces and add it to your favorite chicken or rice stir fry dish. It fits in perfectly with other veggies like carrots and peppers.
Use a combination of soy sauce and sesame oil to bring out the earthy tones in the asparagus. If you want to sweeten the stir fry a bit, sprinkle some brown sugar on top and let it caramelize as you fry everything together.
Add asparagus to pasta salad
Once you have a bunch of roasted asparagus spears, there are tons of things you can make with them. Chop them into small pieces and add them to your favorite pasta salad. The al dente noodles and zesty Italian dressing are the perfect things to eat with springtime asparagus.
Make veggie frittata
You can use almost any type of vegetable in a frittata. It’s one of my favorite ways to sneak more vegetables into my diet. Chop them up really small and add them to your eggs and herbs and bake them all together.
A few other types of veggies you can add to the frittata include spinach, bell peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini. Then, all you have to do is mix in your favorite type of cheese and bake it all together. It’s so easy!
Flavor with lemon and garlic
Whether you are sauteeing, steaming, or roasting them, lemon and garlic are reliably the best flavors to use with asparagus. Squeezing fresh juice from lemons is always going to give you a stronger flavor than jarred lemon juice. The same goes for mincing garlic fresh instead of using garlic powder.
The bright lemon juice and earthy garlic will taste good on asparagus no matter how you prepare it. In fact, you can use this combination in pasta and then add chopped asparagus to it.
Puree into a soup
For anyone that really can’t stand the texture of asparagus, puree it into a soup! Asparagus soup is thick and creamy and reminds me a lot of pea soup. The soup’s green color will either attract you to it or turn you away, but you should try it at least once.
The flavors are incredible, and there are lots of different ways to bring out the garlic flavors in the soup.
Roast with parmesan
Roasting asparagus is a popular method of making it taste better. Before you roast it, add some shredded parmesan cheese on top. Or, use a combination of parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Browse the deli department and pick out some different types of hard cheese and grate them at home.
It’s fun to experiment with different types of cheese, and all of them taste delicious on top of asparagus. As it roasts, the cheese will become crispier. It’s a fun way to add a little crunch to this green veggie.
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar
Either create a balsamic glaze or a balsamic vinaigrette and drizzle it on top of the roasted asparagus. This vinegar is slightly sweet with a rich flavor. I like to use balsamic glaze on top of Caprese dishes, and it enhances asparagus in the same way.
For the best results, wait until the asparagus is fully cooked before you add the balsamic vinegar.
Pan fry them
This makes them crispy! Grab your favorite cooking fat – butter, olive oil, or avocado oil – and heat it up in your skillet. Chop up your asparagus into one-inch pieces and saute them with some garlic, chopped onion, and fresh parsley. Keep pan-frying the asparagus until it’s nice and crispy.
This is my second-favorite way to cook asparagus to make it taste better. It’s super easy to do, and there are a bunch of different spices you can add to it to change how it tastes.
Now that you know more about how to make asparagus taste better, here are some questions people often ask about these skinny green vegetables. If you don’t see your question in this list, please leave it in the comments.
Is asparagus healthy?
Yes, asparagus is really good for you. In all my research, I found that asparagus is a fantastic source of essential nutrients.
One cup of them has the following vitamins and nutrients:
- 2 grams of fiber
- 271 mg of potassium
- 5 mg of vitamin C
- 13 grams of protein
- 9 IU of vitamin A
It’s a good source of vitamin K, which helps your body with blood clotting and bone health. It’s also a good source of potassium, which helps nerves and muscles (like your heart) function properly. It’s also an excellent choice for pregnant women to eat because of folate, the B vitamin responsible for creating DNA.
How long does fresh asparagus last?
Fresh asparagus will usually last about 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
How do you store fresh asparagus?
If you want to make your asparagus last as long as possible in the refrigerator, treat them like a bouquet of flowers. Trim about an inch off the bottom of the asparagus (the thickest part). Then, fill a large-mouthed glass or mason jar with an inch of water.
Place the asparagus in the jar of water, with the thickest part in the water (the tops should be up, like flowers). Store the asparagus in the refrigerator for up to five days.
How do you trim asparagus to cook it?
You don’t even need a knife to trim asparagus. Grab the spear and snap the bottom of it off. If you want to use a knife, cut off about an inch from the bottom of the spears.
When is asparagus in season?
Fresh, local asparagus just tastes better. When it is in season depends on where you live. However, asparagus season usually starts in late February and goes until about June.
Why do you put asparagus in water before cooking it?
Store asparagus in water so that it doesn’t dry out. This is the best way to make your asparagus have a longer shelf-life.
How do you know when asparagus is done cooking?
You can eat asparagus raw, so there is no worry about any health effects from eating undercooked asparagus. Most people like to cook asparagus until it is tender when they pierce it with a fork. This means it will be easier to chew (and more enjoyable to eat).
What is the best way to cook and eat asparagus?
This honestly depends on your taste buds and how you want your asparagus to be cooked. Most people prefer bacon-wrapped asparagus that is baked in the oven. If you don’t like cutting long asparagus spears, then chopping them up and adding them to a frittata might be better for you.
Can you freeze cooked asparagus?
Yes, you can freeze-cooked asparagus! Keep in mind that freezing will change the texture, which some people might not like. Store the asparagus in a heavy-duty freezer bag and keep it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Can you eat raw asparagus?
Yes, you can eat raw asparagus. It is safe to eat and can be a crunchy addition to salads or a healthy snack. However, some people may find raw asparagus difficult to digest and prefer to cook it. Cooking asparagus can also bring out its natural sweetness and make it more tender.
What part of asparagus do you eat?
Typically, the part of asparagus that is eaten is the tender spear or shoot, which is the upper portion of the stalk. The tougher, woody lower portion of the stalk is usually discarded or used for making soups and stocks.
More kitchen resources
If you enjoyed learning how to make asparagus taste better, here are some more helpful kitchen resources you might enjoy next.