If ever there were a list of must-have vegetables to always have on hand in your kitchen, asparagus might top the bunch—especially now that it's in season. This versatile green spear can make a welcome appearance at every meal of the day and can either hold its own as a main ingredient or elevate a more involved dish with its dynamic color and texture. When it's prepared right—and we're talking caramelized with some crunch—asparagus is tough to resist.
And here's proof: We gathered the nine best asparagus recipes to try that'll solidify this vegetable's space in your refrigerator, from a simple roasted number with a balsamic reduction to a more complex iteration in a green goddess grilled cheese sandwich. Every item on this list counts as an easy asparagus recipe, too, since they all involve less than an hour of your time and straightforward guidelines to follow. So whether you're looking to grill, boil, or roast asparagus, these nine recipes will show you how indispensable this vegetable is to a cooking routine.
Time It Takes: 30 Minutes
What Makes It Easy: Heidi Larsen at FoodieCrush recommends this recipe as a routine side dish because it takes all of 10 minutes to prepare. She tosses the crisp asparagus in salt, pepper, and olive oil, and then as it cooks in the oven, she melts butter until it becomes a delectable brown hue. The almonds are added in, and then they're combined with the asparagus.
Why We Love It: Aside from the buttery richness of this recipe—which should be enough of a reason to love it—the almonds provide even more texture to the fresh asparagus, making for a satisfyingly crunchy side.
The Recipe: Asparagus And Mushroom Frittata With Goat Cheese
Time It Takes: 15 Minutes
What Makes It Easy: In this instance, Heidi Larsen at FoodieCrush uses asparagus as the main ingredient in a frittata that also features sliced mushrooms, chopped green onion, and goat cheese. Everything is layered in two eggs, butter, and kosher salt for a classic, fresh breakfast.
Why We Love It: When most recipes are intended for at least two, this one is specially made for those eating solo. So don't feel shy about adding more asparagus spears—or even more goat cheese—if that's what you prefer. In this case, it's all about how you like your frittata.
The Recipe: Spicy Pesto, Asparagus, and Ricotta Pasta
Time It Takes: 30 Minutes
What Makes It Easy: In this simple weeknight recipe, Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest combines prosciutto, asparagus, pasta noodles, ricotta, and basil pesto together for a rich finish. The best part is that the asparagus cooks in the same boiling water as the pasta, making for easy cleanup.
Why We Love It: The crunchy prosciutto pairs well with the asparagus, and both textures are balanced by the creamy ricotta and pesto. It's a meal that'll look and taste much more complicated than the simple process of getting it all into the bowl.
The Recipe: One-Pan Lemon Roasted Salmon and Asparagus
Time It Takes: 40 Minutes
What Makes It Easy: It's no secret that asparagus pairs well with salmon, and this recipe from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest proves that these ingredients go so well together that they can actually be prepared in the same pan. She adds baby potatoes, minced garlic, chopped basil, lemon zest, and grated parmesan into the mix, making for a meal that's cohesive and delicious.
Why We Love It: This recipe comes down to good timing—and once that's understood, it's easy to recreate. Add the potatoes to the oven first, then the salmon, then the asparagus. Over time, all of the ingredients can cook together, which allows their flavors to combine more easily.
The Recipe: Sesame Roasted Asparagus, Egg, and Bacon Salad
Time It Takes: 30 Minutes
What Makes It Easy: Our last recipe from Half Baked Harvest makes roasted asparagus the main ingredient of a colorful, flavorful salad that also includes thick-cut bacon, fresh basil, buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and soft or hard boiled eggs. Edible flowers top everything off for a bright display.
Why We Love It: This recipe proves that asparagus is hearty enough to stand as the base ingredient of a salad, and the dressing—which includes balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and crushed red pepper flakes—will make you want to eat every last spear.
The Recipe: Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Reduction
Time It Takes: 10 minutes
What Makes It Easy: Natalie Mortimer at The Modern Proper wants you to give grilled asparagus a try. Why? Because once you get the grill going, it only takes about two minutes to cook the asparagus on each side. Then the asparagus is mixed with a balsamic reduction, fresh parmesan, and toasted pine nuts before being served.
Why We Love It: The char on grilled asparagus adds even more texture and flavor to this vegetable, which pairs well with the sweet, tangy quality of the balsamic reduction.
The Recipe: Green Goddess Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Time It Takes: 20 minutes
What Makes It Easy: Holly Erickson at The Modern Proper makes a grilled cheese sandwich seem that much more enticing when she adds asparagus, sliced avocado, spinach, sprouts, and a green goddess spread to the more standard flavors of mozzarella, butter, mayonnaise, and French bread.
Why We Love It: Other than putting a healthy spin on a grilled cheese sandwich, the many flavors of this green version all work together for a rich, crunchy bite. The green goddess spread includes anchovy paste and tarragon, too, making for an even more dimensional flavor.
The Recipe: Asparagus Gratin with Gruyère and Panko
Time It Takes: 35 minutes
What Makes It Easy: Once again, Holly Erickson at The Modern Proper proves that asparagus complements other rich flavors when she uses this vegetable alongside whole milk, gruyere, parmesan cheese, panko, and whole grain mustard. All are combined and cooked until bubbly.
Why We Love It: This is the type of side dish that works well for a small dinner party, because it's irresistible and looks great on display. The most important aspect of the recipe to remember is that the asparagus has to be blanched in boiling water for four minutes so that it stays crispy when cooked with the other ingredients.
The Recipe: The Ultimate Potato Salad
Time It Takes: 50 minutes
What Makes It Easy: Sarah Tuck at Stuck in the Kitchen makes this potato salad with asparagus, and pairs the namesake spuds with mayo, sour cream, crushed garlic, eggs, pancetta, and pine nuts. It all gets started by boiling eggs, followed by the potatoes. As the potatoes boil, the pancetta is fried, and then the asparagus is fried, too. Everything is then mixed together and served with chives and red onion.
Why We Love It: It'll be hard to go back to a bland, mushy potato salad once you taste this version, since the asparagus and the pancetta add a much-appreciated crunch to the soft eggs and potatoes. The other ingredients add dimension to the dish, too, creating a side dish that might end up being more popular than the main course.