Q: I am so happy it is asparagus season—I look forward to it all year! But, I have only ever steamed asparagus, and quite frankly, I’m already getting tired of this bland flavor. Are there other healthy ways to cook and prepare asparagus?
A: Yay, asparagus season is here! And yes, there are many ways to prepare and enjoy asparagus without covering it in cream-laden sauces or oil-filled dressings. You can continue to steam the asparagus, but then dress it up with a splash of naturally fat-free balsamic vinegar, a squeeze of vitamin C-rich lemon, or a dash of sodium-free dried rosemary—or other fresh or dried herbs and spices. Grilling, roasting, or sautéing asparagus can also be delicious methods for preparing this nutrient-packed vegetable. These dry-heat cooking methods preserve water-soluble nutrients (like vitamin C and folate), for their optimal delivery to your plate. Use a minimal amount of olive oil or a spray or two of olive or canola oil-based cooking spray for both flavor and to keep the spears from sticking and burning. Again, add a punch of flavor with fresh or dried herbs and spices. For even more variety, try adding asparagus to main dishes, such as quiche, risotto, salads, or pasta dishes. The possibilities are endless!