Oven-Roasted or Grilled Asparagus

Close up of plate of grilled asparagus
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Total Time 12 min
Prep 2 min, Cook 10 min
Yield 8 servings (53 calories each)

Roasting and grilling is not only a healthy way to prepare vegetables, but these cooking techniques also bring out more interesting and complex flavors without any additional fats or calories. Oven-roasting and grilling asparagus bring out a nuttiness and sweetness in the vegetable, as well as a little crispness and attractive char. As an added bonus, oven-roasting and grilling don't take a whole lot of preparation, so these are ideal ways to get a healthy, quick vegetable on the table.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds asparagus
  • Olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Salt, pepper, and herbs of choice
  • A few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

Preparation

In the Oven

  1. Heat oven to 425 F.
  2. If the asparagus spears are thin, snap off the ends and discard; if spears are thick, cut off the very end and peel tough part with a vegetable peeler.
  3. Place asparagus on a cookie sheet or baking pan.
  4. Drizzle the oil over the asparagus and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs of choice to taste. If using, squeeze over lemon juice. Use your hands to make sure the asparagus are evenly coated.
  1. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until tender and starting to char.

On the Grill

  1. Heat grill to medium.
  2. If the asparagus spears are thin, snap off the ends and discard; if spears are thick, cut off the very end and peel tough part with a vegetable peeler.
  3. Place the asparagus in an oblong dish.
  4. Drizzle the oil over the asparagus and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs of choice to taste. If using, squeeze over lemon juice. Use your hands to make sure the asparagus are evenly coated.
  5. Remove the spears from the dish and place directly on the heated grill, turning only once during the cooking, about 5 minutes total—watch carefully so asparagus doesn't burn.

Health Benefits of Asparagus

Asparagus are an excellent source of vitamin K, a very good source of vitamin A, folate, thiamin, and iron, and a good source of vitamin C. Asparagus are a good source of many phytonutrients, including antioxidants which may help protect our cells from damage.

They are also a source of inulin, which supports healthy bacteria in our guts. Asparagus is also said to be a natural diuretic due to a combination of minerals and an amino acid called asparagine.

Other Asparagus Varieties

Besides the common green variety, there are two other types of asparagus available.

All varieties and colors of asparagus may be used interchangeably in recipes.

  • White Asparagus: White asparagus are the same as green asparagus except they are deprived of light by mounding dirt around the emerging stalk. The plant cannot produce chlorophyll without light, thus there is no green color to the stalks. White asparagus is considered to be slightly milder in flavor and a bit more tender than green asparagus.
  • Violet or Purple Asparagus: This variety is known as Viola and they are a different hybrid from green and white asparagus. Their flavor is reminiscent of artichokes and they get their color from anthocyanins just like grapes and red cabbage. They turn green upon cooking and cook more quickly than conventional spears. They're also more expensive.

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