No. 21 – Asparagus

Blink and you’ll miss it – it’s asparagus season, folks. British asparagus, (which is obviously the tastiest you can get), is only in season from the end of April until the end of June, so fill your boots whilst you have the chance! We love asparagus in our house, so I thought I’d share with you some of our favourite ways to eat it.

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But first….let’s talk nutrition. Asparagus is packed full of nutrients and is super healthy – it is rich in the B vitamin folate, and vitamins A, C, E and K, along with chromium. Asparagus also has diuretic properties so can help ease bloating and water retention. Get some in your shopping trolley right now! Flavour wise, salty dairy ingredients are a perfect match for asparagus; butter, parmesan and hollandaise sauce (I use this recipe) enrich its naturally sweet green-vegetable flavour.  Eggs and garlic also work well – asparagus make the perfect posh soldiers for dippy eggs after all!

So, some of my favourite ways to eat asparagus, then…

  • Breakfast – I like to add leftover steamed asparagus from the day before into my breakfast shake the following morning, sounds weird, looks a bit like pond water, but totally works – my go to shake at the moment is chocolate vegan protein powder, banana, avocado, spinach, asparagus and almond milk. Chock full of goodness, filling and nutritious, its an easy way to squeeze several portions of fruit and vegetables in before you even leave the house, allowing you time to polish your angelic halo and get on with your day!

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Asparagus in a breakfast shake – sounds weird, but totally works!

  • Lunch – Raw asparagus is great shaved into a salad of spinach leaves, grated carrot and chopped spring onions, then dressed with a simple lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette. Try adding some toasted seeds for added crunch and healthy fats, and why not a poached egg on top too, or some crispy bacon bits. The perfect light lunch for spring days.
  • Dinner – I love roasting asparagus with potatoes and salty crumbly feta and serving alongside some veggie sausages for the kids for an easy and nutritious family dinner. I buy one of those bags of miniature potatoes that you can find in most supermarkets (Jersey Royals, which are also in season now work really well here), half each potato, drizzle with olive oil, season and roast for 40 minutes or so in the oven at 180c. I then add in a couple of bunches of asparagus, about 200g in total, or you could use a mix of asparagus and tender stem broccoli if you’d prefer.  The vegetables go back into the oven for another 15 minutes, then once they are cooked and removed from the oven I crumble over 100g of feta cheese, squeeze over the juice of a lemon for added zing and add a generous sprinkle of dried chilli flakes, before serving.  This dish is also perfect to accompany a Sunday roast, or to serve at an early summer barbeque with a glass of something chilled – just delicious!

…asparagus roasted with potatoes and salty crumbly feta

  • There’s not many family dinner dishes that can’t be improved by a simple side of steamed, seasonally fresh, British asparagus in my book. Just yesterday I served it up to the kids alongside a beany, cheesy pasta dish that we call ‘mac and chilli cheese’, and it was gobbled up in record time. There may have been some asparagus sword fighting at the table before their ‘swords’ were eaten!

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…a simple side of steamed, seasonally fresh, British asparagus

  • Asparagus works really well in my favourite green soup, into which I cram as many vegetables as I can. I start by melting coconut oil in a pan, adding in crushed garlic cloves, sliced leeks and fennel seeds for an aniseed kick. After a couple of minutes on a medium heat, I add in vegetable stock, made with bouillon powder, then the rest of my chosen vegetables. Broccoli, spinach and asparagus are my ultimate trio. I bring the stock up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes, before blitzing. I love to serve this soup topped with toasted seeds, for added crunch and heart healthy fats, and oatcakes on the side. Satisfyingly thick and filling, and you just know by looking at the colour of the soup that your tummy will thank you. So damn good!

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Asparagus works really well in my favourite green soup

  • Now that summer is around the corner, barbeque season is almost upon us. And asparagus on the barbeque is a summer essential for me. Corn on the cob, veggie kebabs, halloumi and asparagus – my dream barbeque plate, ideally eaten on my friend’s roof deck in Chicago, overlooking the city. Hurry up summer!

I hope these simple, family friendly recipes have inspired you to take full advantage of asparagus season, and maybe try a new way to eat up your greens. If you’ve got a favourite way to eat asparagus which is different to mine, please drop me a comment below and I’ll give it a try for sure!

And finally, as for the phenomenon of ‘asparagus wee’, which is totally a thing in our house, I found an interesting article which explains it in terms that I can just about grasp here. Happy reading!

 

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