Easy Stir Fry Asparagus Recipe

Asparagus is one of those vegetables that unfairly gets a bad wrap. There are many people who think they don't like asparagus, but it's actually because they simply never had properly cooked asparagus. In all fairness, it's pretty easy to get it wrong with this temperamental vegetable. Overcooked asparagus can be soggy and limp, and it's easy to do whether you're roasting it or boiling it in salted water. On the other hand, undercooked asparagus can be tough, chewy, and borderline inedible. When broiled or cooked directly on the grill, asparagus is far too easy to burn.

What's a home chef to do? Just drop asparagus from the menu altogether? Nope, of course not. Instead, just follow this quick and easy stovetop approach to cooking asparagus from chef and recipe developer Susan Olayinka of The Flexible Fridge. When you are stir frying, you can keep a close eye on those spears and can easily test one or two during the cooking process, so you won't pull the veggies off the heat too early, and you won't risk it burning or overcooking to mushiness, either. So ready your steak and potatoes to round out the meal, because asparagus is on the menu!

Gather your ingredients to prepare stir fry asparagus

It doesn't take much to cook up some mighty tasty asparagus. You'll need about 20 spears. "I prefer the thicker spears of asparagus, as the thinner ones tend to go so flimsy and soft so quickly, so the thicker ones are more 'meatier' for me," says Olayinka. You'll also need some garlic, sesame seed oil, a bit of salt, and some red pepper flakes (chili flakes) to give your asparagus spears some spice. And that's literally it!

Prep the asparagus spears and garlic, then get cooking

To start the prep, trim the bottom off of each asparagus, removing the white or pale green portions of each spear, then rinse the spears under cool water, and pat them dry. Next, peel and mince the garlic if you haven't already. Add sesame seed oil to a pan on medium-high heat. (A nonstick pan is ideal.) As soon as the sesame seed oil has heated up, toss the bits of minced garlic, salt, and chili flakes into the pan, and give them a stir to spread everything out evenly.

Stir fry the asparagus in garlic

Next, using tongs, carefully add the asparagus to the hot pan. Stir the spears around every 30 seconds or so, ensuring every piece of the asparagus spends plenty of time in direct contact with the hot pan. If you're using a nonstick pan, it's a good idea to use a wooden spoon here to avoid scratching your cookware. Keep the spears cooking for between three and four minutes. Transfer to a plate or serving dish, and enjoy immediately while they're still hot. As for what to serve them with, Olayinka suggests grilled chicken or grilled steak. The asparagus is also a lovely accompaniment to couscous, white rice, black rice, quinoa, and other hearty grains. Not only is it delicious, but it also adds vibrant color to your presentation!

If you've ever tried to eat cooked asparagus the next day, you likely already know they don't make the best leftovers. As Olayinka explains, while asparagus "will go fairly soggy if left as leftovers," she says you can "slice them into 1-inch pieces to reduce this."

The health benefits of asparagus are numerous

Cooked properly, as will be the case when you follow this recipe, asparagus is bursting with flavor. As it just so happens, it's also bursting with nutritional value. According to Healthline, asparagus is a low-calorie food that is rich in vitamin K and folate, a good source of vitamins C and A, and a decent source of fiber and even some protein, too.

Rich in antioxidants and great for your digestive system, making asparagus part of your diet several times a week can have great long-term health benefits. It's also been found to be a great food for women to eat during pregnancy, helping contribute to healthy fetal development.

Easy Stir Fry Asparagus Recipe
4.9 from 10 ratings
Asparagus is arguably one of the fussiest vegetables to cook, but this stir fry version with spicy chili flakes and garlic will win you over in no time.
Prep Time
4
minutes
Cook Time
3
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
cooked asparagus spears
Total time: 7 minutes
Ingredients
  • 20 asparagus spears (about 1 pound)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
Directions
  1. Wash, dry, and trim the asparagus spears.
  2. Mince the garlic cloves.
  3. Add sesame seed oil to a frying pan on medium-high heat.
  4. Add the minced garlic cloves, asparagus spears, salt, and chili flakes.
  5. Stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 56
Total Fat 3.7 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 5.0 g
Dietary Fiber 2.4 g
Total Sugars 2.2 g
Sodium 147.9 mg
Protein 2.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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