Today I have a tried-and-true recipe for you that I have been making for decades: Asparagus with Lemon & Parmesan. Or as we call it in Italy, Asparagi al Limone e Parmigiano.
I learned how to make this simple side dish (that can also make a great appetizer) from my mom back in Italy. Over the years, I’ve tweaked it to my liking, changing and adding a thing or two. This is an ideal recipe for beginners, and also for fans of no-fuss cooking at its freshest, just like myself.
ASPARAGUS WITH LEMON AND PARMESAN: A 5-INGREDIENT RECIPE
This is a typical Italian dish, where a few everyday ingredients are allowed to breathe and shine, enhancing each other’s natural flavor. Asparagus has a delicate taste, easily eclipsed by rich creamy sauces or the intensity of cured meats. I love that in this recipe, asparagus is the true star in every way, and its flavor is perfectly complemented by a tangy dressing made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lemon Juice and Peel, Grated Parmesan Cheese, and Ground Black Pepper.
BENEFITS OF ASPARAGUS
- GREAT FOR WEIGHT LOSS. As a Health Coach, I don’t recommend counting calories, but adding foods to your diet that are rich in fiber and nutrients but low in calories is always a good move for weight loss and weight management. 100 grams of asparagus contains roughly 20 calories. That’s really low!
- LOW-CARB, IDEAL FOR KETO. With only 2 grams of net carbs per serving (about 100 grams or 5 medium spears), asparagus is a very good option on a low-carb diet or even on a keto diet.
- HIGH IN ANTIOXIDANTS. Great source of antioxidants, including vitamin E, vitamin C, glutathione (the king of all antioxidants), plus flavonoids and polyphenols.
- EXCELLENT SOURCE OF FOLATE. This is really good stuff, and not just for pregnant women. Each serving contains 34% of the daily amount. Folate, aka vitamin B9, is used by our bodies to make red and white blood cells in the bone marrow, convert carbohydrates into energy, and produce DNA and RNA. That’s why it is so crucial to fetal development and growth in general.
- PROMOTES HEALTHY DIGESTION. High in fiber means it’s great for digestion. Particularly, its high content of insoluble fiber helps with healthy stool formation and regular bowel movements.
TIP FOR TRIMMING ASPARAGUS
I know many people are reluctant to prepare asparagus at home because it’s a pain to trim the ends off one by one. Well, if that is what’s stopping you from having this great versatile and nutritious treat more often, I have a tip for you. Just snap off the end of one of the spears at its natural snapping point, and use that spear as a guide for the rest of the bunch. Align all the tips together, and with a big chopping knife cut off the ends of the whole bunch at once. Ta-dah!
FRESH & SIMPLE
Because it’s such a simple recipe, it’s paramount to have fresh, high-quality ingredients. There’s no masking of any kind in this recipe, so if one ingredient is mediocre it will spoil everything else. As you can see, I’m using plump, medium asparagus spears, so they stay firm and crunchy even after steaming.
For the dressing, I’m using organic extra virgin olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese imported from Italy. The lemon has been freshly peeled and juiced on the spot, which makes a huge difference. Also, I’m being very generous with every ingredient because I like my food to be absolutely flavorful (big surprise!)
What do I always say? If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand pictures. Watch how to make this simple recipe in your kitchen.
Grab the full recipe here below! I know you’ll try it because it’s so easy and quick! Plus, it’s delicious and addictive. You have my word!
ASPARAGUS WITH LEMON & PARMESAN
- 1 lb Asparagus medium spears
- 1 Lemon peel and juice
- 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese grated
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil extra virgin
- Black Pepper to taste
- 1 cup Water for steaming
- Snap the end off one spear at its natural point and use the spear as a guide for the whole bunch. Chop off all ends in one single move with this method (watch video).
- Place water in the bottom of a pan and place a steaming basket on top. Place the trimmed asparagus spears in the basket, spreading them out as much as possible. Cover with a lid and place on a hot stove. For crunchy asparugus, let steam for 6 minutes or until the spears can be easily pierced with a fork.
- While the asparagus is steaming, peel the zest off the lemon and extract the juice. Grate the Parmesan cheese.
- When the asparagus is perfectly steamed to your liking, remove it from the heat and place the spears on a large platter. Making sure to coat all the spears up and down, drizzle the olive oil all over, then the lemon juice, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese, lemon zest ribbons, and grind some black pepper to taste.
- Serve and enjoy! (Tip: wipe the bottom of the platter with each spear to collect as much juices as possible. It may get messy, but it's even more delicious!)