Garden-Fresh Asparagus

Few vegetable seasons draw as much excitement as that of the asparagus. From February to June (with a peak in April), restaurants and foodies clamor to make the most of this delicious spring vegetable, low in calories and sodium and packed with a variety of nutrients, including an impressive 5 grams of protein per cup. Eaten fresh, grilled, sautéed, baked, pickled and more, the asparagus is both versatile and beneficial to the body.

Full PDF here.

Nutrition Breakdown
per 1 cup of cooked asparagus
* 32 calories* 5 grams of protein
* 180% daily value of vitamin K
* 73% daily value of vitamin C
* 60% daily value of folate
* 29% daily value of vitamin A

Cooking Tip:
Use waterless cooking methods (roasting, grilling, or stir-frying) to get the  most out of the nutrients and antioxidants in asparagus.

Asparagus Spring Rolls with Sweet Red Chili Dipping Sauce
Serves 18
Store-bought chili sauce adds a dash of spiciness to these sweet and simple spring rolls.

1 lb. asparagus
3/4 cup fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 mango or papaya
fresh ginger, 2-inch piece
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 cup dry roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
8-inch Vietnamese dried rice paper spring roll wrappers, 6 to 8 sheets
dipping sauce:
1/4 cup store-bought sweet chili sauce
juice of 1 lime

For filling:  Blanche asparagus in boiling salted water until tender to the bite (about 5 minutes). Peel and julienne mango or papaya and ginger, then julienne bell pepper. Set aside with remaining ingredients. To assemble, fill a large bowl with hot water. Working with one wrapper at a time, slip rice paper wrapper into water until pliable (about 1 minute). Place wrapper on cutting board. In the center, put 3 to 4 asparagus spears, 3 to 4 mango or papaya slices, 3 to 4 pepper slices, a few tablespoons of sprouts, 2 tablespoons herbs (mint and cilantro), and a sprinkling of ginger and peanuts. Roll the paper tightly from the bottom up, leaving the ends open. Set aside and cover with a damp towel. Finish with remaining wrappers. When ready to serve, slice wrappers into 3 segments each and stand upright on a serving platter. For sauce:  Mix chili sauce and lime juice together. Serve alongside the rolls as a dipping sauce.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Total Fat—3g
Saturated Fat—0g
Dietary Fiber—2g
From Nutrition World

Creamy Spring Asparagus Soup
Serves 4
Serve this delightful spring soup with crusty bread or top with homemade croutons.

1 tablespoon butter
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb. asparagus, woody stems snapped off and discarded, spears cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped chives

Melt butter in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until tender (about 10 minutes). Add broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat, add asparagus, and simmer gently until potatoes and asparagus are tender (about 10 to 15 minutes). Remove pot from heat and set aside to let cool. Carefully transfer soup to blender in batches and purée until smooth. Return soup to pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, whisk in sour cream, and season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with chives, and serve.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Total Fat—5g
Saturated Fat—2.5g
Dietary Fiber—4g

From Whole Foods