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Making perfectly Pan-Fried Asparagus at home requires just 3 simple ingredients and less than 10 minutes! It’s the perfect side dish to serve alongside virtually any main during the Winter and Spring seasons.
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Asparagus is a one-of-a-kind vegetable that’s nutrient-dense and versatile enough to be served in a number of ways. It’s simply a great way to eat your greens, and add a pop of color to your favorite meals with minimal effort!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Oil: Any neutral-tasting cooking oil of choice can be used to pan-fry asparagus. We used a drizzle of olive oil, but avocado oil, vegetable oil, or refined coconut oil can do!
- Asparagus spears:
- Garlic: While optional, garlic asparagus
- Salt + pepper: In order to make this asparagus as versatile as possible, we seasoned simply with salt and black pepper. Feel free to opt for bolder seasonings, such as onion powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, or lemon pepper!
How to Make Pan-Fried Asparagus
- Prepare the asparagus. The lower ends of asparagus spears can be tough and woody, and unpleasant to eat. For best results trim or snap the last inch or two off of each spear, leaving behind tender asparagus spears. Then, thoroughly rinse, pat dry, and set aside.
- Pan fry for 5-6 minutes. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the fresh asparagus spears and season with salt. Cook, tossing the asparagus for about 5-6 minutes, until a bright green color and slightly tender.
- Add garlic. Add the minced garlic to the pan and cook the asparagus for another 1-2 minutes, tossing to combine.
- Serve. Once the asparagus is fork tender, remove from the heat and season with additional salt and black pepper to taste. Enjoy immediately while warm!
We love this simple asparagus side dish as is, but it can also be garnished with things like vegan parmesan cheese, a squeeze of lemon juice, lemon zest, or fresh herbs such as fresh parsley.
In addition to serving pan-roasted asparagus as a healthy side dish alongside your favorite mains such as Lemon Pepper Tofu, these asparagus stalks can also be added to several recipes for a boost of nutrition, texture, and earthy flavor.
For example, we love adding bright green asparagus to:
- Rice dishes like Creamy Mushroom Risotto, Vegan Fried Rice, and Vegetable Rice Pilaf.
- Pasta dishes such as Creamy Mushroom Pasta, Fettuccine Alfredo, Vegetable Gnocchi, and Pasta Primavera.
- Homemade pizzas like this White Pizza or French Bread Pizza.
- Vegetable stir fry recipes like this Easy Vegetable Stir Fry.
- Appetizers like this Asparagus & Cream Cheese Puff Pastry.
Asparagus season typically begins during late February and continues into the spring months, with its peak harvest period from April to June. If you are shopping for asparagus locally, always shop during these months. However, in the United States, it is not uncommon to find good asparagus in grocery stores year-round.
This can help to kickstart the cooking process, especially when using thick asparagus spears, but we don’t find this to be necessary. Simply pan-fried until tender, and enjoy!
To prevent asparagus from being stringy, it’s important to trim the tough woody parts off of the bottom of the asparagus spears and cook until perfectly tender. If it’s overcooked, it can be stringy and soggy.
This is really a personal preference, but in our opinion, the ideal texture when cooking asparagus is tender, yet crisp. The asparagus should be slightly crunchy, but not overly firm or woody. If the asparagus is too soft, it will be stringy, as mentioned above.
We wouldn’t recommend freezing asparagus. Asparagus is known for it’s high water content, and freezing it can greatly alter the texture of the veggies, making them chewy and fibrous.
How to Store Fresh Asparagus
The best way to keep fresh asparagus fresh is to store it properly and keep the ends moist. To do so, wrap the bottom of the asparagus spears in a moistened paper towel and store in an airtight container. Or, for longer storage, stand the asparagus upright in a container containing about 1 inch of water, similar to fresh-cut flowers. Cover the tops of the spears with a plastic bag and refrigerate until ready to use.
How to Store cooked Asparagus
Cooked asparagus is best enjoyed fresh, but can be refrigerated for 2-3 days in an airtight container. Reheat gently in a hot pan or microwave until just warmed through again.