Crisp yet tender.
Savory though delicately sweet.
Bright green (though only when perfectly cooked).
Asparagus is one of the most unique vegetables and the one most likely to change entirely depending on how you prepare it. But you may not know what asparagus tastes like. Its appearance is enough to put anyone off, particularly kids who suddenly morph into Olympic sprinters at the sight of green veggies.
Perhaps then, unsurprisingly, asparagus is the number one food we hated as kids but love as adults, according to one study. Once you give it a chance, you’re sure to love the delicious taste and incredible versatility of this veg!
Still not sure what asparagus tastes like? Wondering how to buy the perfect stalks and cook a sumptuous dinner? Learn all these things and more right here.
Asparagus undoubtedly has a distinct and robust flavor. But just what that means to you will depend on, well, you. Most people, however, agree that the taste of asparagus reminds them of green beans, mushrooms, and broccoli. Overall, it’s a bit grassy, it’s a tad bitter, and it’s mildly sweet.
So how can one vegetable cause so much flavor confusion? Because it all depends on how farmers harvest it, how you prepare it, and what you serve with it. More on that next.
One thing you will adore about asparagus is its versatility. It makes a tasty and beautiful addition to any meal. And asparagus is wonderful at highlighting the depths of flavor in other foods.
Perhaps the most natural flavors that go well with asparagus, especially for beginners, are lemon and butter. A pat of butter atop fresh-cooked asparagus will bring out its natural flavors while tempering any residual bitterness. You can also opt to squeeze fresh lemon over asparagus before serving. Lemon’s zippy citrus taste will enhance the bright flavor asparagus has naturally while also muting its blander attributes.
If you’re looking to enhance asparagus’s decadence, consider drizzling it with a creamy sauce like hollandaise or tahini. The reason asparagus has found its way to classic brunch dishes, like eggs benedict, is because its crisp texture and slightly bitter, grassy taste is a fresh counterpart to an otherwise rich dish.
Another can’t-miss way to prepare asparagus with complementing flavors is as a stir-fry. Grab your favorite veggies, like tomatoes, potatoes, and onion, and throw them in a skillet with diced asparagus, garlic, and soy sauce.
Asparagus will help cut through the potatoes’ richness, with tomato serving as a bit of sweetness and acid needed to balance asparagus’s bitter grass flavor. And of course, garlic, onion, and soy sauce are all superb additions to almost any green veggie, particularly here as they highlight and enhance asparagus’s distinct mellow taste.
It gets better: yes, there are 12 different types of asparagus! You’ve probably noticed different varieties when perusing the produce at the grocery store. Let’s take a glimpse at all 12:
You often see asparagus present on the menus of fancy restaurants (or, in my case, on the menus of fancy restaurants shown in movies, from the comfort of my sofa.) The reason chefs prize asparagus is that it is beautiful and tasty. Preparing it to perfection speaks to their considerable skills. It’s also on the pricier end of the fresh produce spectrum, hence the fancy restaurant shout-out.
But no matter your kitchen prowess or budget, you can absolutely still buy asparagus and cook it at restaurant quality. How? Here are our favorite tips for buying and cooking asparagus.
Here’s the scoop: besides being delicious and simple to prepare, asparagus has oodles of health benefits! It is low in calories and fat, high in fiber, and a decent protein source. It’s rich in vitamins K, A, C and boasts micronutrients like folate, potassium, iron, zinc, and riboflavin.
Not quite. When you buy asparagus, you’ll notice it has woody, pale, almost bristly ends. Bend and snap by hand or use a knife to chop these off before cooking.
The Foods We Hated As Kids But Like Now
What Does Asparagus Taste Like?
Flavor Variations to Try With Asparagus
12 Different Types of Asparagus
Asparagus 101: How to Buy and Cook Asparagus
7 Reasons You Should Eat More Asparagus