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Asparagus is truly a fantastic vegetable that is perfectly suited for being used as both the primary part of a dish or as a side to other dishes. Naturally, there is an assortment of ways to use some fresh asparagus and as a result a multitude of other types of food that will be paired perfectly with it. That said though, you may not be sure where to start when it comes to asparagus recipes. If so, don’t worry, we’ll advise you on what to serve with asparagus?
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What Is Asparagus?
Asparagus is a green vegetable that is reminiscent to the form of slender spears, as such it is common for them to be called asparagus spears. Often this is will be used with an assortment of dishes and is an excellent way to bring some earthy, nutty and slightly bitter flavours to the meal. Especially so for spring dishes since asparagus is often associated with being a spring vegetable.
Texture-wise though, asparagus is also quite crunchy and raw asparagus can and often is eaten. That said though, most people will often cook and or marinate it in order to make it slightly softer. Of course, though, the beauty of asparagus spears is that they can be cooked in a whole host of great ways in order to pair perfectly with a multitude of tasty dishes.
Alongside the taste and texture of asparagus though, it is often eaten by people due to it conveying a multitude of health benefits. Some examples of which include being low in calories, containing a wide variety of nutrients, which is great for digestive health and can help prevent cancer amongst other benefits.
What Goes With Asparagus?
When you’re deciding on what to have with asparagus there is a multitude of options that are available for you to serve alongside it. Naturally, when doing so you should way up whether you should use asparagus as your side dish to another dish or the main course accompanied by some side dishes.
This is because when doing so deciding on the dynamic you want asparagus will help you decide which options you pick. Additionally, it will likely define whether this will be a more heavy or light meal. As such, when used as a side it will often be used to make something more substantial, whilst as the main attraction, the surrounding dish will likely be lighter.
Whichever way you decide to go with your asparagus meal, there is something else crucial to figure out when deciding on what to pair with it. This will be done so by choosing options that are in some manner complementary to your asparagus. This can of course is done by selecting options that synergise with the tastes and textures of your main dish. However, you can also do so by contrasting these traits in ways that work well. Equally though, some options may also be great for fulfilling both roles.
How To Cook Asparagus?
When you are planning to serve some asparagus whether as a main or side to another dish, there is an assortment of ways in which you can do so. Often the different ways in which you do cook your asparagus though will provide an assortment of new and different qualities to this delicious green vegetable. Some really great options for how to cook your asparagus though include the following methods:
- Sauteed Asparagus: this is a method of cooking the asparagus in some fat, brown butter or oil (often olive oil) on the hob. This will bring some richness and potentially some butteriness. In addition though this is a way to bring in some other seasonings into the dish such as garlic, red pepper flakes or some lemon zest from a bit of lemon juice.
- Grilled Asparagus: as you can probably gather, grilling asparagus involves the process of cooking it on a grill. Doing so is a great way to bring in some extra smokey flavour to the dish along with potenially some of the aforementioned seasonings.
- Roasted Asparagus: Roasting some asparagus is perhaps one of the most versatile ways to cook this veggie. When cooking it in this manner, you can apply much more seasoning to properly coat your asparagus with. One great example of which being parmesan cheese and garlic asparagus. Meanwhile wrapped asparagus is an excellent choice, with meats like prosciutto being a great choice for roasting with asparagus. Additionally, roasting asparagus brings out more of the nutty flavour of your asparagus alongside it’s other flavours.
- Steamed Asparagus: For a more healthy and tender result for your asparagus then steaming it is an excellent option for cooking this veggie. That said though, the flavour of asparagus cooked in this way is quite simple. As such, it is often best used when cooking it to be used as a side dish.
- Boiled Asparagus: Another option for a more heathy way to cook asparagus is boil it. The result being that asparagus cooked in this way will be incredibly soft. Again, the tastes of these will be quite simple and asparagus cooked in this way will be better served as a side than as a main dish.
- Broiled Asparagus: In a similar vein to roasting asparagus, broiling will often use the oven, although it may also use a specialised broiler. This process is to simply cook the asparagus on a very high heat which will often beautifully brown the asparagus and give it an extra wonderful crispy texture. Again this can be a great avenue for incorporating other seasonings like the ones mentioned above.
What To Serve With Asparagus?
With the above information in mind, you may have an assortment of ideas for dishes and ingredients that you can serve your asparagus with along with methods to prepare it. That said though, you may still have absolutely no idea of what you should be serving with asparagus. Like with other foods though, whether it’s dishes for artichokes or sides for pulled pork, there is a multitude of options you can serve with asparagus. Some great examples of these though include the following dishes:
- Roasted Vegetables
- Fried Potatoes
- Green Beans
- Lamb Chops
- Corned Beef Hash
- Asparagus Soup
Truly when it comes to deciding on a side dish to serve with near enough any type of food rice is an excellent choice for how to do so. With asparagus though, rice makes a particularly wonderful option though as the contrast in tastes and texture makes for a wonderfully layered but light and simple to make dish.
The beauty of rice though is that it can be prepared in an assortment of different ways that will go perfectly with all sorts of different asparagus dishes. A great option for serving rice with asparagus is of course some simple steaming brown or white rice which will go great with more complex dishes that include asparagus such as a heavily seasoned stir fry.
However, when serving a more simple asparagus dish then something more layered and nuanced rice-based dishes make for an excellent counterpart to this green veggie. Some great options for some more nuance rice options though are risotto, pilaf (or pilau), fried rice, paella and many more. Additionally, you may also incorporate the asparagus into the rice in some manner.
In a similar vein to the prior option, serving your asparagus with some pasta is also an excellent choice to make a hearty meal. Similarly, the pasta will provide a wonderful textural contrast when paired with the asparagus with the crunchy asparagus would pair with the al dente pasta perfectly.
Now you can make this pairing in a wonderfully varied variety of ways. One such example of which is to incorporate the asparagus into a pasta meal with either a creamy sauce, some over veggies or even some meat and fish. Often when it is incorporated into the dish in this way though the asparagus likely won’t be intact but instead be chopped or shaved asparagus.
That said though, another way in which you can serve pasta alongside asparagus is to keep them as two distinct parts of the meal rather than one whole. When opting for this option though the best way to go about doing this is to make the pasta a more light option whilst the asparagus part of the dish is more elaborate.
For another wonderful option that you can serve with near enough any dish, roasted vegetables are an excellent choice for a dish that can either be served with asparagus or that asparagus can be incorporated into. Either way, there is a multitude of options of veggies that will make for a perfect pairing with asparagus.
When it comes to roasted vegetables you can pair them with asparagus, potatoes, onions, mushrooms, green beans along with an assortment of other vegetables. Of course, when doing so, using some seasonings and dressings on the veggies before roasting makes for a great extra layer of flavours. Some great options for which can be balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, paprika, parmesan and an assortment of herbs and spices.
Due to roasting asparagus being a common method you can use to cook this vegetable, combining it into the roasted vegetable mix is an excellent option. Especially so when you are serving it alongside other dishes such as meats or seafood. However, when you make a main dish with asparagus at the side of it, then a side of other roasted veggies makes for the perfect accompaniment.
As mentioned above potatoes are a vegetable that pairs excellently well with asparagus. As such, some form of fried potatoes will make for an excellent choice for a side dish when you’re serving a main meal with asparagus as the key ingredient. Alternatively though, when serving asparagus alongside some meat or seafood, the addition of fried potatoes can be just the perfect thing to truly bring the meal together.
Fried potatoes can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes though with the classic farm option being only one possibility. Truly when considering fried potatoes, options such as hash browns, french fries, potato scallops, potato fritters and many others be a great addition to the meal.
The reason for this is that fried potatoes bring with them the delicious textures of a crispy exterior along with a fluffy interior. Meanwhile, they also bring in some wonderful earthy, savoury and salty tastes along with those of any seasonings you elect to use.
For another green vegetable to serve alongside asparagus, green beans are an excellent pairing choice since they add in some excellent extra earthy flavours that really leans into those already found within the asparagus. That said though, they will contrast texturally as green beans when cooked are typically quite soft as they will often be steamed.
The combination of green beans and asparagus makes for an excellent choice that will make for a fantastic pair of sides to serve with rich seafood and or meat. This is because these play as a perfect counterbalance to these dishes whilst also complementing them perfectly.
These veggies can also be seasoned in a multitude of ways to bring in some additional flavours. Some examples of which include salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes or even lemon juice and balsamic vinegar.
When it comes to serving other veggies with asparagus, mushrooms are great options for something to add some extra umami flavour to the dish along with a slightly chewy and silky texture. Again, like with some of the options mentioned above mushrooms can be served either as part of a mixed dish with the asparagus or as something separate.
When you are combining it into one dish, there are some great options for how to do so. Some great options are to serve them with the aforementioned pasta, with fried rice or in a stir fry with some flavourful seasonings or sauces.
When you are wanting to serve them independently though there is a multitude of ways to serve mushrooms alongside asparagus and maybe some other meals. Some great ways to do so are to make stuff mushrooms, sauteed mushrooms, fried mushrooms or even roasted mushrooms.
One of the best options that you can have for serving asparagus is to serve it as part of a salad with other veggies. Some great options are those mentioned above such as mushrooms and onions along with other options such as tomatoes and peppers.
However, aside from making an asparagus salad, a separate side salad along with an elaborate main dish containing asparagus is an excellent pairing of foods. This can become in all sorts of shapes and sizes but something like a quiche, wrapped asparagus or an assortment of other options.
When it comes to pairing the salad with asparagus though, a fruit salad can be an excellent option to have for a dessert after your main asparagus dish. The combination of zesty fruits mixed with honey, yoghurt or both can be a great palette cleanser which also contrasts with the tastes already on your tongue from the main dish.
Asparagus and eggs are truly an excellent combination of foods since the crunchy, earthy, bitter and nutty traits of asparagus will be excellently contrasted by eggs. This is true for a wide variety of different cooking techniques for eggs, each of which brings in some unique traits. However, at their core, when cooked, eggs will bring in some richness and creaminess to the meal.
In particular, perhaps the most popular way to serve this combination of foods is to serve a poached egg with your asparagus as this will further emphasise the contrast between rich creaminess and crunchy earthiness from the egg yolks. This will be especially brilliant if you serve it with a generous dollop of crème fraîche or bechamel sauce.
Another great option though is to combine the aforementioned asparagus salad option with a fried egg. Especially if you combine it with some pan-fried bacon lardons as this creates a wonderful combination of textures and tastes.
Of course when you wish to have asparagus with a more substantial main meal a particularly excellent option that you can use for this is some seafood. Of course, there are a wide array of directions that you can go with this to make a wonderfully delicious option.
One iconic option for this though is scallops which when pan-fried and take on a delicate texture and rich, buttery and lightly savoury yet sweet seafood flavour. These all provide wonderful contrast between a scallop main and asparagus side.
Similar traits to those of scallops in the world of seafood can also be found in lobster and shrimp. Both of which will have wonderfully rich, savoury and somewhat sweet seafood flavours. That said though, both shrimp and lobster will take on a wonderfully meaty texture to them when cooked.
For a more unusual and gourmet seafood choice, swordfish is an impeccable choice for serving with an asparagus side dish. Now, swordfish is incredibly mild in flavour with predominantly sweet flavours with of course some fishy undertones. Texture-wise though, swordfish is a deliciously oily and steak-like textured fish that is a wonderful choice for serving with asparagus as it provides a unique seafood pairing option that will that make for a remarkable meal.
For a more traditional fishy option for seafood though, salmon is a wonderfully oily and flaky textured fish that is deliciously rich yet mild-tasting. Additionally, it will also be commonly smoked adding this extra smokey flavour to this delicious fish and in this form can be wrapped around the green veggie in question. As such, salmon is an incredibly delicious form of seafood to serve with asparagus due to providing a varied and layered mesh of textures and tastes.
A meaty option that makes for an excellent serving choice with asparagus is of course some chicken as it is a perfect pairing with a wide variety of vegetables. With asparagus though, savoury, juicy and tender chicken is often a great pairing with an asparagus side since it provides a great variety of flavours of tastes and textures.
Additionally, there is also an assortment of options of seasonings, sauces, dressings or other foods that will pair excellently with both asparagus and chicken. Of course, some great options include lemon juice, red pepper flakes, parmesan and bacon lardons.
The result of pairing these two food types together is that they will create a deliciously varied and satisfying meal that is not too heavy. As such it can be a great option for pairing whether you wish to make a light and healthy meal or a more hearty or heavy meal.
Lamb chops are a form of red meat that is wonderfully tender but also rich, gamey and of course quite sweet. All of which makes it a deliciously wonderful option for pairing with the earthy, bitter, nutty and crunchy asparagus as there is a clear distinct contrast between them.
Of course, many of the other sides that will pair with lamb, are naturally ones that will work well with asparagus. Some great examples of such include a selection of roasted vegetables, such as onions, mushrooms, root vegetables, etc. Additionally, some sides that go exceptionally well with lamb can also work such as mashed potatoes, mint sauce and an assortment of other choices.
Additionally, lamb chops and asparagus can be cooked together by roasting them in a conventional oven. Also, they can often also be seasoned with many of the same herbs, spices or other seasonings. As such, for a delicious meal that is easy and convenient to make, some roasted lamb chops and roasted asparagus make for a wonderful choice of dinner.
A classic combination of meat and vegetable options of course is to serve some steak with a side of asparagus. The reason is that like many of the prior options, a rich, meaty, and juicy steak will pair perfectly with your asparagus by contrasting them in a complementary manner.
Of course, different cuts of steak will alter the dynamic of this dish as they will have subtly different tastes and textures. For example, a rump steak will typically be tougher and be served as an intact cut. Meanwhile, something like filet mignon will often be much more tender and be served in thin cuts of steak.
Additionally, like with lamb or chicken, there are a lot of food options that you can pair with both steak and asparagus, Some great examples include roasted vegetables, eggs, fried potatoes and mushrooms.
Another beef option though that is excellent for pairing with asparagus is corned beef hash. Here, shredded will be mixed with garlic, potatoes and onions. All of which will pair perfectly with crunchy asparagus due to the contrast of flavours that are complementary as mentioned above.
Whilst this is not, strictly speaking, a side to serve with asparagus, making some creamy asparagus soup makes for a delicious light dinner option. This soup will be wonderful earthy, nutty and slightly bitter along with being deliciously creamy and slightly rich, which is significantly different than other options that are solid and of course crunchy in terms of texture.
When eating your soup though, you should of course make sure to serve it with some excellent side dishes since it will enhance the quality of the dish. Some of the best options for which being croutons, crusty bread with butter, cheese or cream cheese and potentially some meat or seafood on the side or within the soup itself.
The result of pairing this soup with some additional sides is that it will create a deliciously light asparagus dish that is full of flavour whilst being quite unique. Additionally, it is also the perfect option for when you want something warm and comforting on a cold winter day.
Answered: What To Serve With Asparagus?
Asparagus is a green vegetable that is truly wonderful in terms of flavour and texture. These traits are the crunchy texture and earthy, bitter and nutty tastes that all make for a wonderful group of factors to pair with a wide variety of dishes.
When you’re deciding to include asparagus in a meal it is as mentioned above crucial to ensure that you decide whether it will be the side of a larger dish or the core ingredient of a lighter one. The reason for this being that whether you want the focus of the dish to be asparagus will dictate what you choose.
Ultimately though, whether you decide to pair asparagus with steak, chicken, salad, rice or anything in between it will inevitably make a delicious dish. Of course though, if the above suggestions have given you some ideas of your own then you should of course try them out with the asparagus. After all , you may find that these may be better for your own personal palette.
FAQ – What To Serve With Asparagus?
What flavors go well with asparagus?
A wide assortment of different flavours will go wonderfully with asparagus. Other vegetables such as green beans, mushrooms or onions are a great example. However, meats and seafood like salmon, scallops, lamb, steak are also excellent choices. Some other options though include lemon juice, balsamic vinegar crushed red pepper flakes and a wide variety of other spices and herbs all make for great options.
What starch goes with asparagus?
When you are looking for a starchy dish to serve with asparagus there are a few different options that you can choose to serve with it. Two particularly great options are rice and potatoes, both of which can be prepared in an assortment of ways that go wonderfully with asparagus. Some great options in particular with these two starchy foods are egg fried rice, rice pilaf, potato scallops and french fries.
What is the healthiest way to eat asparagus?
When it comes down to deciding on the healthiest way to eat asparagus there isn’t much you go wrong with although glazes and sauces will make things less healthy. If though you want to make things as nutritious as possible though then raw asparagus is best as cooking will remove some nutrients.
What part of asparagus should you not eat?
Asparagus is a deliciously tasty and healthy vegetable. Most of this vegetable will be edible, however, the roots and bottom ends are generally not considered edible as they become incredibly tough and bitter when cooked. Additionally, you may wish to peel the spears as well though as they are quite tough and fibrous.