The 3 Best Ways to Cook Asparagus in the Oven

asparagus, how to cook asparagus in the oven, fresh and nutritious asparagus, raw asparagus

Bellesen, Rachel.”Asparagus”.2021

Molly Doyle

Written by Molly Doyle | Edited by Aditi Khandelwal

March 25, 2021
Have you ever heard the phrase, that’s a piece of cake? My family used to say it all the time whenever something was wonderfully simple. I’m here to argue that it could use a 2021 reboot and should now read, that’s a piece of asparagus! Why? Because asparagus is a vegetable that is very easy to prepare and is absolutely packed with nutrition. It’s versatility allows it to be a side dish or the star of the show and ensures that you are consuming a ton of nutrients no matter how you choose to make it.

Health Benefits of Asparagus

If you’re looking for a vegetable option that is packed with nutritious value (and is purported to be an aphrodisiac, to boot), look no further than asparagus. This uniquely patterned veggie is a one-stop shop for a variety of different nutrients that benefit your body in a myriad of ways. Let’s take a look at what nutrients we can find in asparagus: 

  • Folic Acid
  • Potassium
  • Fiber
  • Thiamin
  • Vitamin C

That’s a pretty impressive list for a vegetable that looks so small! You might be thinking, that’s good to know, but what do all of those nutrients actually do? Good question. Let’s take a minute to break each nutrient down and list some of the ways that it can create positive health benefits when consumed with regularity. 

Folic Acid

  • Folic acid is a type of vitamin. In order to understand its importance, we need to take a second to consider the cells in our body. Each day, certain parts of our body create new cells. When new cells show up to take over for older ones, it allows your body to make sure that it can heal itself and keep all cells fresh and healthy. Folic acid helps in this process. In addition to supporting the growth of new cells, it can also benefit pregnant women by aiding in healthy brain development for their babies. Consuming foods containing folic acid, like asparagus, can help in all these areas

    Potassium 

  •  Potassium is a mineral that takes part in several different processes in our body. It helps control and stabilize blood pressure, an important piece of keeping your brain and heart happy and healthy. Potassium also helps preserve muscle and bone density, especially as we continue to age. 

Fiber

  • Fiber is actually a certain kind of carbohydrate. You might be familiar with it from the impact it can have on promoting healthy digestion (and regular bathroom habits). It’s also super important in balancing your body’s cholesterol levels. Remember, higher cholesterol can lead to a larger chance of strokes or heart attacks. It is recommended that women and men get about 25 grams and 38 grams of fiber per day respectively. Including asparagus in your weekly diet can help you reach that goal. 

Thiamin

  • Thiamin is also known as Vitamin B1 and is important in several metabolic processes, including the breakdown of carbohydrates. A lack of thiamin in your diet can negatively impact your muscular and nervous systems. 

Vitamin C

  • Vitamin C is in asparagus? You bet. Chances are you’ve probably heard of this vitamin. I can’t even count how many times my mom told me to drink my orange juice growing up because it was filled with Vitamin C. Why is this vitamin so good for us? It’s helpful in protecting our bodies from diseases as well as making the iron we eat in other foods easier for us to absorb. Vitamin C is also useful in keeping our skin looking fresh and buoyant, which is a reason that you often see it as a listed ingredient in facial serums.
how to cook asparagus in the oven, the health benefits and nutrients of asparagus
Doyle, Molly. Nutrients in Asparagus Infographic. March 2021.
In short, asparagus supports many of your body’s most important functions. Additionally, asparagus is inexpensive and easy to prepare. This makes it a wonderful go-to option for a weeknight dinner side-vegetable. But, don’t be fooled…asparagus can also dress up for a party as well! With a few tweaks in preparation, this nutritious giant can become an elegant piece in a carefully planned menu.   

How to Cook Asparagus in the Oven at 350 Degrees

If you’re not sure how to cook asparagus in the oven, a good place to start is by experimenting with temperature. Adjusting the heat and the length of time that you cook your asparagus will yield very different results. In general, I like to aim for a texture that is still slightly crunchy but not so hard that it’s still raw. We also don’t want our asparagus to emerge from the oven in a soggy state. Overcooking it will often result in a stringy final product which makes for a difficult eating experience (think asparagus strings all in your teeth). What’s the secret to perfectly baked asparagus? Timing and heat.  For this recipe, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. We’ll be using a couple different spices to add some fun flavors to our asparagus. If you have alternative spices in your kitchen, feel free to play around with those! Sometimes, experimenting can result in a wonderful and surprising final dish. 
how to cook asparagus in the oven at 350 degrees, asparagus with spices, asparagus recipe

 

Cook and Culture’s Oven-Cooked Asparagus with Spices  Author: Molly Doyle                                         

Total Time: 20 minutes                                                        Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 bundle of fresh asparagus
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
    Instructions:
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil.
    3. Prep the asparagus by thoroughly washing the stalks and patting dry with a paper towel or clean cloth. Remove the thicker ends of the asparagus by cutting them or breaking them off. Fun fact: if you snap off the ends by hand, there will be a. natural point where the asparagus breaks easily!
    4. Mix the spices together in a small bowl.
    5. Line the prepped asparagus in a row on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Make sure that there is no overlap between stalks.
    6. Gently shake the spice mixture over the asparagus. You can use your hands to roll the spears in the olive oil and spice mixture to ensure an even coating (but make sure your hands are super clean).
    7. Put the tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
    8. Remove from the oven, let cool and enjoy!

Perfect For: This recipe is perfect if you don’t have too much time to spend preparing your asparagus and you just want a delicious and nutritious veggie with your meal. It’s great as a side for weeknight dinners or as a part of a meal-prepped lunch. Added bonus: this recipe is vegan-friendly!

Fun Tips: If you have trouble evenly coating the asparagus with the spices straight from the bowl, try taking pinches of the mixture and sprinkling over the spears instead. This way you can avoid accidentally dumping the whole bowl onto one section of your veggies!

Experiment by: Personalizing recipes can make them even more enjoyable. If you don’t have these exact spices in your kitchen, try substituting them for what you do have available. You may stumble across an amazing new combo!

 

How to Cook Asparagus with Garlic and Butter

 

Is there a better smell than sweet melting butter and baking garlic? If you can find one, let me know. In addition to being easy on the nose, garlic has its own set of health benefits. Whenever I use these ingredients in my own kitchen, I’m reminded of my father cooking our childhood Friday-night dinners. There is something that evokes comfort about butter and garlic and adding these to your asparagus can bring that comfort right to your plate. 

how to cook asparagus in the oven with garlic and butter, garlic and butter asparagus recipe

Cook and Culture’s Buttery Garlic Asparagus  Author: Molly Doyle                                         

Total Time: 15 minutes                                                        Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 bundle of fresh asparagus
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
    Instructions:
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2.Wash and prep the asparagus and snap off the thick ends. Line up on a parchment paper covered baking sheet.
    3. Melt the butter in a small bowl. You can do this in the microwave or on the stovetop in a pot.
    4. Add the garlic and onion powder into the melted butter and mix to combine. Pour over the asparagus.
    5.Squeeze lemon over the asparagus. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
    6. Insert tray into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.
    7. Remove tray, let cool and plate.

Perfect For: This recipe is a perfect side-dish for a meal with several courses. It’s also great for bringing out that inner-warmth on a winter evening. 

Fun Tips: Try using a pastry brush to coat the asparagus with the butter mixture. Doing this will protect your hands from the heat and make sure that each spear receives its fair share of butter and spices. 

Experiment by: You can always play with the amount of garlic and butter that you add. If you are a garlic-head (like me), you can go ahead and heap it on. If you are more conservative when it comes to adding garlic, you can lower the amount you choose to include.

    .

How To Cook Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus

You can find bacon in so many unpredictable places these days —inside chocolate bars, layered on donuts, nestled in a breakfast sandwich. That’s because bacon compliments so many different flavors and types of foods. Adding it to asparagus is no different. It transforms this veggies into a heartier meal and adds a punch of salt and fat, which makes for a flavorful dish. 
how to cook asparagus in the oven with bacon, bacon-wrapped asparagus recipe

 

Cook and Culture’s Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus  Author: Molly Doyle                                         

Total Time: 20 minutes                                                        Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 bundle of fresh asparagus
  • Bacon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    Instructions:
    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Wash asparagus and snap off the thick ends. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
    3. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
    4. Take your strips of bacon and wrap them around the middle of your asparagus.If you have thicker asparagus spears, you can do one slice of bacon per spear. If your spears are on the thin side, try wrapping your bacon around several spears at once.
    5. Insert the tray in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
    6. Remove from the oven, let cool and serve up!

Perfect For: This dish is perfect for dinner parties because it’s such a crowd-pleaser. You’d be surprised how excited many people at a mere mention of bacon, let alone the smell of it wafting from the kitchen. It can be served as an appetizer or alongside your main courses. 

Fun Tips: You’ll want to make sure that your bacon is cooked through. The right amount of time for each bacon slice depends on the thickness of the meat and your preference in crispiness. If you take it out and find that it is too soft, throw it back in the oven for a few minutes. If you’re in a rush and can’t be bothered to wrap your asparagus, you can use the spears as a rack and place the bacon in rows on top. You’ll get that smokiness from the meat on the asparagus and the bacon will cook quite evenly. 

Experiment by: Adding some spice for a fun kick is a great way to change up a recipe. If you’re not much of a spice-lover but want a little something extra, toss some black pepper on top before you throw it in the oven. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, try drizzling some sriracha on top before serving. Trust me on this one…it’s deliciously surprising.   

How to Cook Asparagus in the Oven

The versatility and high-nutrition value are two great reasons to reach for asparagus when you’re planning out your next meal. If you’re not sure how to cook asparagus in the oven, give one of these recipes a try and see how it turns out. Remember, try to keep some joy in your kitchen. When you approach preparing vegetables and other food with positivity, you’ll notice that there are endless possibilities. Mindless missteps or ingredient substitutions can turn into tasty accidents!  If you’re making asparagus tonight, try taking some time to be grateful for this little veggie in front of you. Hard work went into the growing and harvesting of each spear and they may have  travelled many miles to wind up in your kitchen. Practicing gratefulness and awareness towards what we eat can create a lovely experience, from the time we begin to prepare our food to the moment we sit down to enjoy it. Feel free to share your wonderful and tasty final products and tag us on Instagram @cookandculture. We can’t wait to see all your delicious dishes! 

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