You can roast it, bake it, broil it, eat it in a salad or even in a dessert.  Asparagus is the quintessential spring vegetable.  There are 20 different varieties, but green asparagus is the most common.  It’s full of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, and it tastes pretty good too.  Here are ten delicious ways to make this green veggie a staple in your diet.

1. With Sour Cream and Garlic

Cream of Asparagus Soup
Cream of Asparagus Soup

This recipe can be either a first course or an entre.  It’s easy, has fewer than ten ingredients and takes less than an hour to prep and cook.

2. With Parmesan and Olive Oil

Roasted Asparagus1
Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

The Barefoot Contessa can make even the most simple of recipes look elegant and impressive.  You’re basically covering the asparagus with olive oil, a little salt and pepper and parmesan cheese.  You stick it in the oven at 400 degrees for 15–20 minutes and that’s it.  A perfect side that will compliment any dish.

3. With Bacon

asparagus bacon
Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

This is a no-brainer.  Seriously, you know that anything with “bacon-wrapped” in the title is going to be delicious and the fact that it’s asparagus means you’re getting some nutrition in there as well.

4. With Olive Oil and Spices

roasted asparagus
Roasted Asparagus

This is another Barefoot Contessa dish.  All you need is the asparagus, olive oil and a little salt and pepper.  You can even add some slices of fresh garlic if you want a little more flavor.  That’s it.  I’ll make this at least three times a week.  It’s a recipe that never gets old and couldn’t be easier.

5. With Heavy Cream, Butter and Parmesan

fettuccinealfredo2
Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus

Butter, heavy cream, pasta, parmesan; you blend them all together and get one delicious meal.  Once you throw some cooked asparagus in there, you’ll turn this yummy pasta dish into a meal packed with vitamins A, B, C and K.

6. With Canola Oil and Dijon Mustard

vinaigrette
Asparagus Vinaigrette

Boiled asparagus is blended with mustard, canola oil, lemon juice, chives and salt and pepper.  You can add it to a salad or even use it as a marinade for steak, chicken and salmon.

7. With Pine Nuts and Parmesan

asparagus pesto
Asparagus Pesto

You’ll only need about 20 minutes and a food processor to whip this up.  You just combine cooked asparagus with pine nuts, parmesan, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice.  You can toss it over pasta or like the vinaigrette, it makes a tasty, light marinade for chicken or fish.  You can even brush it on vegetables to cook on the grill this summer.

8. With Sliced Tomatoes and Prosciutto

asparagus tartine
Asparagus-Cheese Tartines

This open-faced sandwich combines asparagus, tomatoes and three kinds of gooey, melted cheese over toasted bread.  It’ll take you about a half hour to put everything together and pop it under the broiler.  This is the best kind of recipe; it’s delicious and easy, but it’ll look like you’ve been in the kitchen all day.

9. With Green Peas

Asparagus_Flan-4
Asparagus Flan

You’ve heard of rhubarb pie and zucchini bread, so why not a dessert made from asparagus?  You’ll need heavy cream, parmesan cheese, peas, asparagus and a few other ingredients.  You blend them all together in a food processor, pour the mix into ramekins and pop them in the oven.  You’ll end up with a light yet savory dessert.

10. With Cilantro and Greek Yogurt

asparagus guacamole
Asparagus Guacamole

If you want to cut out some calories, you can substitute avocado with asparagus in your guacamole.  This recipe calls for cooked asparagus, lemon juice, Greek yogurt and spices mixed in a food processor.  You then stir in the remaining ingredients and set aside to chill.  You can make this with nachos, or use it as a sandwich spread or just eat it with chips.  It’s a light, healthy, summer snack that’s packed with vitamins and nutrients.

Asparagus is loaded with fiber, folate, vitamins A, B, C and K and studies say that it may help protect against and fight certain forms of cancer.  Face it, if more people snacked on asparagus instead of sugary snacks and processed food, this world would be a healthier place.

Featured photo credit: madlyinlovewithlife via flickr.com

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