Asparagus is in its peak quality in the spring months in Oregon. It is packed with heart-healthy nutrients such as folate, fiber and vitamin K that can help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. It also contains quercetin, an antioxidant that can prevent the release of histamine, acting against inflammation, and may protect against certain cancers. Other nutrients found in a serving of asparagus include protein, vitamins A, B, C and E, zinc, manganese and selenium. Asparagus is low in calories and sodium and has no fat or cholesterol.
Think outside the box! Asparagus can be a delightful addition to your plate at any meal. For breakfast, poach an egg and eat it atop a bed of sautéed prosciutto wrapped asparagus. For lunch, add blanched asparagus tips and stalks to a bright, green salad. For dinner, serve grilled asparagus topped with fresh garlic and sea salt alongside your favorite protein such as chicken, steak or tofu.
Be sure to try out this asparagus stir-fry dish too:
- 1 ½ pounds pencil-thin asparagus (or substitute small or medium asparagus, split lengthwise)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 serrano or other fresh hot chile, finely chopped
- A large handful of basil, mint and cilantro leaves
- Snap off and discard the tough bottoms of each asparagus spear. Cut the asparagus into 2-inch lengths
- In a wok or cast-iron skillet, heat the oil until nearly smoking. Add the asparagus, season generously with salt and pepper and stir well, making sure the asparagus is coated and glistening with oil. Continue to stir-fry over high heat for about 1 minute, until the asparagus looks bright green and barely cooked. Add the garlic, ginger and chile and stir-fry for 30 seconds more.
- Transfer to a serving platter and scatter leaves on top. Serve immediately.
– Article submitted and written by Amanda Armington, DC, clinician at the University of Western States campus health center. Asparagus stir-fry recipe courtesy of the New York Times.