Easy Sauteed Asparagus Recipe (w/ Garlic!)
If you need a quick and easy side dish for your next busy workday dinner, this sauteed asparagus recipe is right up your alley. Learn how to pick the freshest asparagus stems, prepare them, and saute your asparagus just right for a healthy and refreshing side dish.
How to select asparagus
There are a few characteristics to determine which bundles of asparagus are the optimum choice. Unless you’re buying white asparagus, fresh asparagus should have bright, firm green stems and tight tips ranging in color from purple, green, or white.
We prefer picking asparagus on the thinner side, about ¼ inch thick, for sauteing because they cook more quickly, taste a bit sweeter, and are less fibrous in texture. The thicker the asparagus is, the older they were when harvested–with typically less desirable results. We recommend roasting or broiling them if you have thick asparagus stalks.
How to prepare asparagus
Preparation for asparagus is super easy. First, clean the asparagus under running water and make sure the tips are clean of debris. Next, cut about one to two inches off the bottom of the stem to remove the fibrous bottom of the asparagus. You can also use your hands to bend and snap off the fibrous parts of the stems.
We prefer sauteing asparagus in long stalks, but you can also cut them into two-inch pieces for bite-sized pieces. Note that these smaller pieces cook quicker than cooking full asparagus stems.
How long to saute asparagus
Sauteing asparagus is one of the fastest ways to cook them. If your asparagus is about ¼ inch thick, it should take about three to five minutes to saute them if they are whole stems or three to four minutes for two-inch pieces of asparagus. Thicker stems will take a few minutes longer to saute.
Tips for success
- Use asparagus that are ¼ inch thick for sauteed recipes. This size will help with fast cooking and give you tender, sweet veggies.
- Cook in one single layer. Don’t crowd the asparagus, or you might get some pieces that are unevenly cooked.
- For easier eating, you can cut the asparagus into two-inch pieces. This also helps reduce cooking time.
- For a healthier option, use avocado oil for its anti-inflammatory health benefits. Limiting the amount you use keeps calories under control too.
- Don’t just stop at garlic and onion powder for seasoning; you can also sprinkle your asparagus with other toppings like parmesan cheese or red pepper flakes if you like a kick.
What is the best way to cook and eat asparagus?
The best way to cook and eat asparagus depends on the thickness of your asparagus and your cooking preference. We prefer thinner ¼-inch thick stalks and sauteing asparagus for a quick and easy side dish. If your asparagus has thicker stalks, we recommend roasting them for about five to seven minutes.
How do you cook asparagus without it being chewy?
The first step is choosing fresh and firm asparagus stalks at the grocery store or farmer’s market. Remove the fibrous bottom stem of each stalk and then saute for about three to five minutes. Next, use a fork to pierce the stalk of the asparagus to see if it’s done. It should be tender but slightly firm. Test the stalk doneness BEFORE the asparagus turns wrinkly–this means it’s overdone and will be chewy.
How do you know when asparagus is done?
To know when asparagus is done, simply take a fork and pierce it through the asparagus. We prefer al dente asparagus, so you will feel a bit of resistance when piercing, but you can still easily press the fork through the stalk.
Easy Sauteed Asparagus (w/ Garlic)
- Cutting board
- saute pan
- 14 oz asparagus ¼-inch thick pieces, about 1 bunch
- 1 tbsp avocado oil or other neutral oil
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- pinch paprika optional
- ⅛ tsp kosher salt
- pinch black pepper
- red pepper flakes optional
- parmesan cheese optional
- Clean the asparagus under cold running water.
- You want to remove the woody parts of the bottom stems. Test the optimum portion by using your fingers to see where the asparagus bends and snaps off. Use a knife to cut about one to two inches off the bottom of the stem. Option, you can also cut the asparagus into two-inch pieces for easier eating.
- Preheat the pan over medium heat.
- Add the olive oil and add the asparagus in an even, single layer.
- Asparagus stalks: Cook for three to five minutes or until the asparagus is al dente but tender. Avoid waiting for the stems to get wrinkly because this means they will have a chewier consistency. You should be able to pierce the asparagus with a fork with a little tension. If your asparagus is thicker than ¼ inch thick, continue to cook for one to two minutes and test the texture.
- Two-inch pieces: Saute for three to four minutes until the asparagus is al dente but still tender. Test by piercing the asparagus with a fork.
- Add the seasoning, mix until combined, and cook for an additional minute.
- Serve immediately.