Asparagus 101 + Recipes + Pairings

asparagus

Asparagus’ history is a long one. It’s first known usage was 2,000 years ago, when it was a pivotal part of the development of Ayurvedic medicine in India- It’s safe to say that they were on to something. Asparagus was a favorite of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Egyptians and the French for many reasons. Throughout history, the myriad of health benefits provided by the asparagus plant has been proven by doctors, dieticians, and by real people after everyday consumption. Asparagus is a great source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, and chromium as well as trace minerals that aid the transport of glucose from the bloodstream into cells. The vegetable is definitely best consumed during its peak season, which is- you guessed it- right now!

So why should you eat more asparagus? Let’s break it down for you.

Asparagus contains loads of fiber, which means that it will help you stay full between meals. Paired with lean protein, it is nutritious and satiates your hunger all day. If you are trying to lose weight, this could be beneficial to you. Even if you aren’t, there are many other health benefits to consider. Being a natural diuretic, asparagus forces you to go to the bathroom often, and flush out toxins that may be in your body. Additionally, it aids in creating a balance of good bacteria in your gut, and so it affects overall digestive health. The glutathione compound is definitely one worth mentioning. Asparagus is an especially great source of this compound, which is detoxifying and aids in the breakdown of free radicals and carcinogens. You know what that means?  You can actively help your body to fight cancer simply by eating a delicious vegetable.

Asparagus packs a punch of vitamins as well. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps strengthen your immune system. Vitamin E is best absorbed into the body when consumed with healthy fats, so don’t shy away from a little olive oil when cooking your Asparagus. Asparagus is also a great source of vitamin K, which helps out your circulatory system and improves your ability to absorb calcium. It’s an all around all-star for your bone health. Lastly, an extremely important B vitamin, folate, comes into play. Folate has been studied because it is linked to your mood and chemical brain health relating to your happiness levels. It has been proven that, in some cases, patients with depression will have decreased levels of folate and be prescribed the vitamin to naturally improve their mood.  In this same vein, it may keep cognitive decline at bay, as you get older.

If these reasons weren’t enough to add this delicacy of a vegetable to your diet this May, take a look at a few great asparagus recipes that could change your mind.

asparagus_and_eggsAsparagus and eggs includes all of the benefits (that we were speaking about earlier) of the protein of the egg and the healthy fats of olive oil, all in one dish.

  • Ingredients:
    • 5 to 6 stalks of asparagus
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs
    • ¼ cup of goat or blue cheese (optional)
    • pepper, for topping

Instructions: Prepare the asparagus by cutting off roughly 1 inch of the bottoms of the spears. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Then add the olive oil, followed by the asparagus and salt. Shake skillet to coat asparagus and cook until tender. Spread asparagus out and crack eggs over the asparagus. Sprinkle cheese over asparagus and eggs, reduce heat to low and cover. Let cook until egg whites are firm and yolk is done to desired consistency. Serve with freshly cracked pepper.

 

crispy asparagus

Crispy parmesan asparagus sticks – for a healthy, crunchy, satisfying snack

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lay a wire rack on a baking sheet and coat with non-stick spray. Snap off the tough ends of each asparagus spear. On two separate plates, add the eggs whites (lightly beaten) and the panko + flour + cheese. Season the panko mixture with salt and pepper if desires. Coat each asparagus spear in egg whites, then lay in the panko mixture and thoroughly cover. If the panko won’t stick, dip back in the egg whites and roll in panko once again. Lay each spear on the wire rack. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

Please note, there is a best practice when it comes to cooking asparagus, in order to preserve antioxidants and maximize health benefits. Eating Well says to “roast, grill or stir-fry your asparagus. These quick-cooking, waterless methods will preserve the fabulous nutritional content and antioxidant power of asparagus- click here for how-to details on the best asparagus prep and cooking directions. 

 

Soupure - Stock Images - Asparagus 32 (web) (1)

Arguably the most classic way to eat asparagus is in asparagus soup. Soupure’s Spicy Asparagus Leek soup is a great way to work this amazing vegetable into your everyday life. Greens & spice come together in this magical blend that promotes heart health & anti-aging.  Featuring chunky asparagus, leeks & sweet potato accented with pasilla peppers.  If you’re looking to pair our soup with something else, to amplify your meal, we have a few suggestions for you along the way. Below are the things we think would pair well with asparagus soup.

asparagus-fritatta.jpg

 

Please feel free to comment on this post if you have any other sides that you’ve found to go well with your Soupure spicy asparagus leek soup!

Enjoy!


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