Asparagus: Nature’s Fast Food
If you are on a healthy meal plan, asparagus can be a star player in your roster of healthy, tasty foods. Did you know that each spear of asparagus has only four calories and no fat or cholesterol? Mother Nature doesn’t mess around and asparagus can be an easy “fast food” that doesn’t derail your healthy eating goals.
Asparagus is a spring vegetable but is generally available and tasty year round. When it comes to farm to table eating, asparagus gets an A+ because it is so widely cultivated. Perhaps surprisingly, asparagus can even be found growing wild in many parts of Australia. In fact, a friend who is an avid forager has a few favourite spots including a well-guarded secret location in Sydney’s Quakers Hill from which he frequently finds the good, wild stuff growing.
How To Choose the Best Asparagus
When shopping for asparagus, look for bright green asparagus stalks that have smooth skin, uniformity in color and a dry, fresh smelling tip. Both thin and meaty stalks are good but steer clear of wilted, limp or shriveled stalks as they suggest the asparagus is not so fresh. We love to shop and prepare the same day when possible, but if you need to store asparagus, enclose the stem ends in a damp paper towel and this will keep them crisp and fresh for a few extra days. Before preparing your asparagus be sure to trim woody ends to reveal the most tender, palatable part of the stalk.
There are many delicious permutations of asparagus including favourites like citrus roasted asparagus, asparagus risotto, creamy asparagus soup and fresh asparagus ribbon salad, however, here are two of our best clean eating picks.
Roasted Asparagus With Cherry Tomatoes & Basil
2 bunches of medium asparagus
1⁄2 punnet cherry tomatoes halved
1 hand full of fresh basil leaves torn
Seat salt & freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 220 degrees. Cut each asparagus on slight diagonal into 3. Toss very lightly with cherry tomatoes and basil coating lightly with olive oil & season with salt & pepper. Arrange sparsely on one or two baking sheets and roast for approximately 7-12 minutes.
Wok Seared Asparagus With Bonito Flakes
1 bunch of medium asparagus
1 clove garlic finely sliced
40ml Japanese soy sauce
1⁄2 cup water Vegetable oil
Cut asparagus into 3 on sharp diagonal. Heat wok on stove to searing hot, coat with small amount of oil. Add 1/3 of asparagus and garlic. Let it sizzle and char a little before tossing. Add a little water to aid in the cooking, adding a little more if necessary. When almost cooked (al dente), add 1/3 soy sauce. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients. Serve on a platter garnished with bonito flakes.