Asparagus spears are sprouting up everywhere, from the grocery aisle to pages of April food and cooking magazines. The veggie is in season right now, so if you go for the freshest produce at the market, you’ll likely be buying a lot of it.
It’s only been a few years since I’ve incorporated asparagus into my diet, but eating them steamed or sautéed all by their lonesome can get old before too long if the veggie is a regular part of your menu. These five ideas culled from the latest issues of food magazines can take asparagus from breakfast to dinner and give new life to these tasty green spears.
1. Potato, asparagus and mushroom hash: This all-around healthy breakfast dish from EatingWell magazine gets the day off to a nutritious start. Containing no cholesterol and plenty of vitamins, these steamed, then sautéed veggies can stand alone or be topped with an egg and served with whole wheat toast.
2. Romaine, asparagus and watercress salad with shrimp: Cooking Light magazine’s protein-packed salad is ideal for lunch—or a light dinner. Shrimp and asparagus are sautéed in a mix of garlic, red pepper, fresh basil, paprika, black pepper and lemon juice, then tossed with romaine and topped with watercress for a whopping 26.2 grams of protein per serving.
3. Asparagus and cheese tart: With the combination of fontina and Gruyere cheeses, shallots, seasonings and, of course, asparagus, this hearty side for dinner or brunch from Food Network Magazine will look—and taste—like you slaved over it. But by using frozen puff pastry as your base, your hands-on time is only 20 minutes.
4. Parmesan-crusted asparagus: This flavorful and crunchy appetizer from Cook’s Country magazine’s test kitchen preserves the tenderness of the asparagus within a coating of cheese and bread crumbs. Honey helps the coating stick to the spears and adds just a touch of sweetness.
5. Beef-and-asparagus curry: Everyday Food magazine puts a Far East spin on asparagus by flavoring it (along with sirloin steak) with curry paste, peppers, fish sauce, brown sugar and coconut milk. Served over rice noodles with fresh lime wedges and cilantro, this dish packs in a lot of taste but doesn’t take much time to fix—only 30 minutes total.