With the weather (finally) warming up, now’s the perfect time to stock up on the crop of spring and early summer: asparagus.
Depending where you live in Canada, asparagus season starts in April, May, June or early July. That gives you plenty of time to learn how to cook asparagus and find your family’s favourites. Read on to learn how.
How To Pick The Best Asparagus
Tasty meals start with fresh ingredients, so make sure you pick the best asparagus at the market. Look for firm, smooth stalks that are a rich green in color, and pass over wilted or faded-looking ones. Both thin and thick asparagus stalks are flavourful, and you should choose bundles relatively uniform in size so they’ll cook evenly.
Once you’re home, store your asparagus in the crisper for up to 4 days. To prepare asparagus for cooking, give them a thorough rinse, snap off the woody end, and you’re ready to go.
How To Grill Asparagus
Local asparagus + BBQ = the summer power couple. Yes, grilled asparagus is really that good – and, fortunately, it’s also super easy.
Make basic grilled asparagus by lightly coating the spears in cooking oil and adding your favourite seasonings. If you purchased thick stalks that can go straight on the grill, cook them for 4 to 5 minutes, flipping once, until the spears are tender yet crisp. If you got thinner stalks, you’re better off grilling your asparagus in a foil packet. It’ll be ready in about 15 minutes.
When it comes to seasonings, the sky’s the limit. Bright and citrusy seasonings play perfectly off asparagus’ herbaceous notes – so a dash of lemon pepper seasoning or sriracha and lime seasoning make for a delicious side dish. Italian seasoning tastes great with asparagus too, especially if you’re pairing it with grilled tomatoes, while parmesan and herbs seasoning adds cheesy Italian-inspired flavour.
Enjoy your grilled asparagus on its own as a side dish, or use it in recipes. This Maple Bacon Grilled Vegetable Salad with Bocconcini Cheese is satisfying, flavourful and ideal for a light lunch. And this Honey Dijon Basil Salmon makes a perfect summer “one-pan” meal.
How To Roast Asparagus
It’s not always practical to grill. But, luckily, roasted asparagus is just as delicious. It’s also easy: just place your seasoned asparagus on parchment paper, and roast at 400°F (200°C) for 7 to 10 minutes, until the stalks are tender.
All the same seasoning combinations you use on the grill work for roasted asparagus, too, but you also have other options. Put an on-trend twist on roasted asparagus with a dash of everything bagel seasoning, or make Taco Tuesday-inspired asparagus by adding Club House taco seasoning.
Alternatively, satisfy a bacon craving these Bacon-Wrapped Roasted Asparagus bundles. They taste smoky and decadent, thanks to the bacon, but come together in just 20 minutes.
5 More Must-Try Asparagus Recipes
Want even more asparagus recipe inspiration? Try these delicious recipes and cooking techniques.
Otherwise known as “summer on a plate.” Bright, juicy berries, delicate asparagus and smoky grilled chicken combine for an unforgettable salad.
If you’re craving comfort food, this risotto is sure to please. It also comes together in under half an hour, which is ideal for busy weeknights or a no-stress cozy night in.
This stir fry is vibrant and colorful, thanks to asparagus, red pepper and red curry paste, and packs a refreshing twist from the mint.
This dish looks like a weekend project, but it’s fast and easy to make – oh, and it’s totally delicious! Try it out as a TikTok-worthy Sunday dinner.
Pick up a loaf of crusty bread on the way home to pair with asparagus soup, a fresh spring take on classic comfort food.