5 Fresher Ways to Prepare Asparagus

By: Emily Lee

Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Bundles; Giada De Laurentiis

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

We associate asparagus with hollandaise sauce the way we associate peanut butter with jelly. But it’s high time we divorced these tender green spears, rich in antioxidants, fiber, thiamin and iron, from an exceedingly caloric topping that only serves to mask their fresh, vegetal taste.

Fresh herbs, lemon juice, and salt and pepper alone can do wonders to cut through the intense earthiness of asparagus without drowning it out completely. For your next spring soiree, consider one of these light and wholesome methods for preparing this quintessential spring vegetable:

Rosemary-laced asparagus finds its ideal flavor and textural counterpoint in the form of tender smoked salmon. Bundle each individual spear in a slice of the smoked fish — or bundle several spears together.

Food Network Kitchen’s wholesome asparagus side dish pairs perfectly with almost any protein. Pile the fragrant seasoned barley and button mushrooms on top of roasted asparagus, and serve with a reasonable portion of grilled chicken or pork for a guilt-free weeknight meal.

Melissa-dArabian-Asparagus

Melissa-dArabian-Asparagus

Photo by: Tara Donne ©FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Tara Donne, FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Melissa d’Arabian dresses roasted asparagus in a homemade lemon vinaigrette for a lighter take on the classic asparagus-and-hollandaise side dish. The spears need just 10 minutes in the oven, and then they’re great served warm or cold.

If you’ve already rolled out the grill for another season of outdoor cooking, consider Bobby Flay’s smoky grilled asparagus. Skewer cherry tomatoes and grill them alongside the spears for a sweet, juicy component. The sweet and zesty honey-mustard sauce pulls it all together.

FNK_SAUTEED_ASPARAGUS_OLIVES_BASIL_H_.jpg

FNK_SAUTEED_ASPARAGUS_OLIVES_BASIL_H_.jpg

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

The combination of savory garlic and olives plus aromatic basil brightens crisp asparagus in this 20-minute side dish. Cutting the asparagus into short pieces allows them to cook quickly.

For more ways to prepare asparagus, check out these recipes from our friends:

Homemade Delish: Asparagus Crostini

In Jennie’s Kitchen: Asparagus & Arugula Panzanella

Napa Farmhouse 1885: Asparagus, Onion & Pesto Pizza

The Mom 100: Millet Greens Salad

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