Published 30 Aug 2021
A simple and well-balanced plant, the humble asparagus is the quintessential vegetable that can be added to almost any meal. Asparagus is easy to prepare and brimming with nutrients; it’s high in fibre and folate, rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, and low in sodium. Folate, when combined with Vitamin B12 (found in fish, poultry, meat, and dairy), helps prevent cognitive impairment. A study on older adults showed that those exhibiting healthy levels of folate and B12 performed better in response speed and mental flexibility tests.
Despite water making up 93% of its composition, this unassuming vegetable carries cancer-fighting properties that help break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds. Because of its high level of fibre, asparagus can help lower the risk for developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, colon cancer and obesity. Hard to believe for a small stick-shaped plant, right? Asparagus is edible raw but is most effective when cooked—activating its cancer-fighting and anti-ageing antioxidants.
These antioxidants, along with its anti-inflammatory properties, make asparagus a great preventive vegetable. Research discovered the vegetable’s surprising ability to improve beta-cell function, in turn helping to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by stabilising blood glucose and improving insulin secretion.
Asparagus is a natural diuretic and helps release fluid, excess salts and toxins in the kidney—valuable for those suffering from edema or high blood pressure. Because of its unique asparagusic acid, when the compounds are broken down it may cause a strong odour in the urine. This may not be the case for everyone, but rest assured it’s nothing serious –it’s just your body doing its metabolic job.
These five unique meal options are delectable and easy to make; ensuring you get the most out of that appetising asparagus appeal and don’t lose too much precious time in the process. Prime asparagus season is spring, so keep a look out for this vertical vegetable come early September. Though our recipes are healthy and delicious, keep in mind that balance and moderation in asparagus consumption is key – there is such a thing as too much of a good thing!
Breakfast – Egg-asparagus and mushrooms
A low calorie, nutrient-rich breakfast option that’s quick to prepare and even quicker to gobble down before the mad dash out your front door in the morning.
6 spears of asparagus (remove woody parts by gently snapping the ends of each spear).
50g mushrooms, sliced
Parmesan or cheese of choice
- Heat a non-stick fry pan with olive oil over medium heat. Add asparagus and a pinch of salt, then combine mushrooms. Ensure asparagus is evenly cooked until tender (approx. 4-5 minutes)
- Crack eggs over asparagus and mushrooms, and add cheese. Cook to desired yolk consistency (approx. 8-10 minutes).
Optional: serve with toast and cracked pepper if desired.
Lunch: Creamy Asparagus Soup
The perfect soup to farewell the cold and greet the sunshine; creamy and filling enough to thaw your stomach from the winter chill, yet light enough to start that spring in your step.
20 spears of asparagus, trimmed and chopped finely into smaller pieces
1 leek (white stem) sliced thinly
1 can chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup cream
Salt and pepper
- Melt 30g butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add asparagus, leek, garlic and ½ cup chicken broth. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Uncover shortly until asparagus is tender (approx. 12 minutes).
- Transfer mixture to a blender and puree.
- Melt 30g butter in same saucepan over medium heat and combine flour and salt. Stir for 2 minutes along with the rest of the chicken broth and bring to boil.
- Add puree and cream, and reduce to medium heat. Add squeeze of lemon and stir until combined. Remove from heat and serve immediately with your choice of garnish, salt and pepper.
Snack: Easy-peasy Prosciutto Asparagus Appetiser
A quick, entertaining solution that is equal parts elegant and simple to prepare. These ingredients can be consumed raw but we recommend allocating that extra 10 minutes of grill time to release the antioxidants from the asparagus that are unlocked when cooked.
20 spears of asparagus (remove woody parts by gently snapping the ends of each spear)
10 slices of prosciutto, halved horizontally
- Wrap one slice of prosciutto around each asparagus spear, covering its entire body.
- Preheat large non-stick fry pan with olive oil over medium-high heat. Add wrapped spears and cook until prosciutto is golden and asparagus is tender (approx. 2-3 minutes).
- Optional: sprinkle with sage, thyme or your herb of choice. Prepare as many as desired.
Dinner: No fuss salmon and asparagus dinner
Fancy the no-mess lifestyle? Here’s the healthy quick-fix dinner that you’ve been waiting for. It requires barely any prep time, and an even shorter clean up time!
30 spears of asparagus (remove woody parts by gently snapping the ends of each spear)
4 salmon fillets (no skin) on four sheets of aluminium foil
1 lemon, sliced thinly
Salt and pepper
Fresh thyme (or garnish of choice)
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees. Cut a sheet of aluminium foil fit to wrap each salmon fillet.
- Divide asparagus and place in the centre of each foil layer (approx. 7 spears per fillet). Lightly drizzle 1 tsp of oil over each set of asparagus.
- Place one salmon fillet per asparagus set, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and a dash of oil. Cover each fillet with lemon slices and a sprig of thyme.
- Wrap foil until all sealed, then place all four on a baking sheet. Pop into preheated oven and wait until salmon is cooked through (approx. 20 minutes). Unwrap and serve on plate.