Cart Smarts: Spring for asparagus this week

Today marks the Spring Equinox, which hopefully means goodbye snow and hello spring. It’s also the perfect time to start eating more asparagus. This green vegetable peaks in the spring and its season lasts through June.

We love asparagus in our house. Our favorite way to cook it is simply sautéing it in the skillet with some canola oil and minced garlic. Our boys refer to the spears as "green snakes," which always makes us smile.

When I served a spinach salad with dinner last week, they complained that I should have picked "green snakes" to go with the pork chops and plums instead.

I think they just love the name, but little do they know, this fun side dish is packed with nutritional value. Asparagus provides lots of vitamin C and potassium, with only three calories per spear.

When I was pregnant, my favorite thing about asparagus was the fact that it’s one of the best food sources of folate. Adequate folic acid is especially important during pregnancy because it helps prevent neural tube defects and lower the risk of preterm delivery.


When shopping for asparagus, choose a bunch with dry, tight tips — this means the vegetable is fresh. The thicker spears come from older plants while the thin spears come from younger ones. Both can be tender, but I tend to prefer the thinner stalks.

Be sure to wash it well with running water and friction to remove any dirt. Then bend the spear and snap off the end. Asparagus will naturally snap at the weakest spot, allowing you to remove the tough, fibrous end while preserving as much as possible from the vegetable.

You can prepare asparagus in a variety of ways. Here are a few ideas:

• Microwave it for a quick steam.

• Sauté it in the skillet with garlic and oil.

• Serve it raw and thinly sliced in a salad.

• Grill it for a more smoky flavor.

• Roast it with the recipe included.


  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss asparagus with olive oil and salt. Spread in a single layer on baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes or until asparagus is fork-tender. Toss with balsamic vinegar and pepper. If desired, sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Serves 4.


Nutrition information per serving: 60 calories, 3.5g fat, 3g protein, 5g carbohydrate, 240mg sodium, 15% vitamin A, 10% vitamin C

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