Asparagus is the perfect addition to a weeknight meal or something to wow your guests with when entertaining on the weekends. It’s nutritious, delicious and simple to prepare. Here are some tips for what to look for the next time you shop along with some recipe inspiration.
What to Look for When Buying
Asparagus comes in four varieties, green, purple, white, and wild. Many of us might be fortunate to have it available in our markets all year long. If not, be on the lookout for when it’s in season from February to June with the peak month being April. Buying when in season will save you money too.
Ideally you should find asparagus standing upright in the grocery store with their ends in water. Before you buy you want to make sure that the stalks are firm, tight and bright in color. The tips should be firm, not limp.
Storage and Preparation
Once purchased you can store them in your refrigerator drawer for a few days in a plastic bag or with a damp paper towel wrapped around their ends. Try and use them quickly to avoid becoming mushy and to minimize any loss to their nutritional content. When you are ready to use, simply cut about 1-1.5” off the bottoms pending their thickness and rinse thoroughly under running water to remove any sand and dirt.
Asparagus covers many nutritional bases. It is rich in fiber, contains polyphenols and has a variety of vitamins such as A, B, C and K, and minerals like Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and Potassium.
Why Dr. Sears Likes Them
Asparagus are on Dr. Sears' best of the best list when it comes to veggies and it's not just because of their taste! They are a good source of protein and their ratio of protein to carbohydrate is high. Dr. Sears recommends consuming a lot of non-starchy vegetables, like asparagus, when following the Zone Diet. This is because vegetables are less likely to spike blood sugar and make it easier to get the desired hormonal balance needed to be in the Zone. They are also rich in fermentable fiber and polyphenols which is important for gut health too.
Asparagus are extremely versatile. It can be eaten raw, roasted, sauteed, steamed, grilled-- you name it! Here is a fast and easy way to prepare asparagus as a side dish in no time.
Rinse + Chop + Bake + Eat
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Rinse the asparagus thoroughly and allow to air dry or pat dry with paper towels
- Chop about 1-1.5 inches off the ends of your asparagus and place on a baking sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt, pepper or spices of your choosing.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes (thicker asparagus might require a few extra minutes).
- Serve and Enjoy!