Sunday, June 14, 2015

Barely Steamed Asparagus Recipe with Basil Vinaigrette (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Can Be Paleo, Vegan)

Combine the best of spring and summer in this Barely-Steamed Asparagus with Basil Vinaigrette, and don't miss my trick for using more of the asparagus stems!

Barely Steamed Asparagus Recipe with Basil Vinaigrette found on

Over the last ten years so many foods that used to be strictly seasonal have now become available much longer, and while nothing can replace the fresh goodness of early spring asparagus, having asparagus available into the summer makes it possible to pair it with fresh summer basil for amazing combinations like this Barely Steamed Asparagus with Basil Vinaigrette.

If you're a regular reader you know I'm a huge fan of Basil Vinaigrette for drizzling on tomatoes, and I promise this asparagus with basil vinaigrette is just as wonderful. If you don't have fresh basil available you can use purchased basil pesto to make the dressing, although I love the intense basil flavor of the dressing made with basil puree.

And you may want to make extra basil vinaigrette because it's good on so many things like Artichoke Antipasto Salad, Tomato, Olive, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad, Grilled Halibut, Green Bean Summer Salad, Hearts of Palm Salad, and Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks, to name just a few. (Check the search results for basil vinaigrette for even more ideas if you really get hooked on the basil vinaigrette!)

I'm updating this favorite asparagus recipe as my Meatless Monday post for this week, and you should be able to get asparagus for this recipe for a couple more months so if you're a fan of asparagus I am begging you to try this recipe; I promise you'll be glad you did!  (For many more Meatless Monday menu ideas, check Meatless Monday Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes, or Vegan Recipes in the new recipes-by-photo index.)

Barely Steamed Asparagus Recipe with Basil Vinaigrette found on
Peel the bottom part of the asparagus and cut into 2 inch pieces.  Steam until the asparagus is barely cooked, probably about 5-6 minutes from the time the steam starts. Drain asparagus well.

Barely Steamed Asparagus Recipe with Basil Vinaigrette found on
Puree the fresh basil and mix with your favorite no-sugar vinaigrette dressing to make the basil vinaigrette. Arrange asparagus on a plate, season with salt and fresh-ground black pepper, and drizzle over desired amount of basil vinaigrette.

Barely Steamed Asparagus Recipe with Basil Vinaigrette found on
Serve hot or room temperature, with a little more basil vinaigrette on the side to spoon over at the table.  Enjoy!

Barely Steamed Asparagus Recipe with Basil Vinaigrette found on
And here's the original photo of this recipe from 2006, and you can see the recipe really needed a photo make-over. (This recipe was first posted as part of a month-long asparagus event hosted by blogger Kevin Weeks, whose blog is no longer online. Kevin passed away in 2012, and is greatly missed in the food blogging community.)

Barely Steamed Asparagus Recipe with Basil Vinaigrette found on
Barely Steamed Asparagus with Basil Vinaigrette
(Makes 3-4 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

1 pound asparagus
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

Basil puree ingredients:
1 cup fresh basil leaves (packed)
1/2 cup olive oil
(Freeze the leftovers for another use. You could make half this much if you're short on basil.)

Basil vinaigrette ingredients:
6 T your favorite no-sugar vinaigrette dressing
(I used Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing; be sure to use a dressing that's Paleo, Gluten-Free, or Vegan if you're following one of those diets.) )
2 T basil puree

Recipe Notes:
You can make the basil vinaigrette with purchased basil pesto if you don't have any fresh basil, but that version will not be Paleo or Vegan.

Trim off the woody ends of the asparagus, and then lightly peel the lower part of each stalk with a vegetable peeler. This allows you to use more of the asparagus than if you just break off the pieces, and it helps the stems cook as quickly as the asparagus tips. (You may still have to trim off a few inches if the ends are very woody.)

After peeling, cut each spear into pieces about 2 inches long, cutting on the diagonal. Steam asparagus until barely tender, being careful not to overcook. (I would start checking about 5 minutes after the steam starts; total cooking time is probably not more than 5-6 minutes, depending on how crisp you like it.)

While asparagus steams, first combine fresh basil leaves and olive oil in food processor and process until basil is in very small pieces and fairly well integrated into olive oil. Remove puree, scraping sides of food processor. Then measure 6 T vinaigrette dressing and 2 T basil puree into food processor and pulse about one minute. (This can also be combined in a jar and shaken.)

To serve, drain asparagus well and arrange on plate. Season with salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste, and drizzle Basil Vinaigrette over. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and enjoy.

South Beach/Low-Carb Suggestions:
This is a perfect side dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet or other Low-Carb eating plans.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Meatless Asparagus Recipes You Might Like:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet or Low-Carb friendly; check ingredients.)

Low-Carb Breakfast Casserole with Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Goat Cheese ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Cheesy Asparagus Tart ~ Ezra Pound Cake

Baked Eggs and Asparagus with Parmesan ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Asparagus Salad with Sesame Chile and Lime Dressing ~ The First Mess

Vegan Asparagus Salad with Tomatoes, Hearts of Palm, and Chives ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Linguine with Asparagus, Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese ~ Blue Kitchen

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. This sounds really good kalyn, I'm bookmarking it!

  2. That looks delicious. I love asparagus.

  3. It looks so good. And who cares if it makes your pee smell funny. The taste of it is imcomparable.

  4. The asparagus in my fridge is just begging to be made into this tantalizing recipe. Thanks for sharing it!

  5. Ilva, tfp, nerissa, and Christine, do try making this. It was so delicious. Thanks for visiting.

  6. I love asparagus and what a great combo when tossed with basil.

    Thanks for sharing and have a great trip.

  7. Certainly one of the sad parts of asparagus only being around for such a short time is that you can't pair it with many summer veggies...but love how you've dressed it in this basil vinaigrette! Two of my favorite things in every bite.

    1. Thanks Joanne! I could eat that Basil Vinaigrette on almost anything.

  8. What a wonderful green combination! I love simple treatments for asparagus.


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