Friday, April 13, 2012

Roasted Asparagus Recipe with Creamy Tahini-Peanut Dipping Sauce

Roasted Asparagus with Tahini-Peanut Dipping Sauce
Delicious roasted asparagus with a tahini-peanut dipping sauce.

(For Phase One Fridays I highlight Phase One recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites.  I love the tahini-peanut dipping sauce here and think it goes perfectly with roasted asparagus!)

Don't you think there's something special about asparagus when it finally comes into season in the spring? Before I started blogging I wasn't nearly so much of an asparagus fan as I am now. A lot of my asparagus apathy was because I'd mostly eaten asparagus cooked in water, a method which can simmer out a lot of the flavor. When I fully entered the ranks of the food-obsessed and started reading lots of blogs I learned about roasted asparagus, grilled asparagus, and sauteed asparagus. Since then I've been on a yearly spring quest to find as many new asparagus recipes as I can. This roasted asparagus with tahini-Peanut dipping sauce was a fantastic success. The sauce was slightly adapted from Chicken and Quickly Roasted Asparagus with Tahini Sauce, but the added peanut butter produced a thicker sauce and I subbed agave nectar for sugar or splenda. This is a recipe I can't wait to make for guests.

Asparagus is a perennial, nearly leafless member of the lily family, and it's one of the world's healthiest foods, containing large amounts of vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin A. Asparagus also contains inulin, a non-digestible carbohydrate that's beneficial to the friendly bacteria in your digestive system. Besides the many health benefits, asparagus is low in calories and fat and mildly diuretic, so it's great for any type of diet. Growing asparagus in a home garden does require patience, since establishing an asparagus bed takes several years, but once it's started, a bed can produce asparagus for as long as 20-30 years. Of course with all this asparagus information you've guessed that this is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging #124, hosted this week by Kel of Green Olive Tree. (When I see the list of cities where she's lived, I'm very envious!) Here are the rules for Weekend Herb Blogging and where to send your entry if you'd like to share about an herb, plant, veggie, or flower this week. Now keep reading for this recipe and more asparagus love from other blogs.

Roasted Asparagus with Creamy Tahini-Peanut Dipping Sauce
(Makes 3-4 servings, although I could eat a pound of this myself. Sauce recipe adapted slightly from Chicken and Quickly Roasted Asparagus with Tahini Sauce adapted from

1 lb. asparagus, thick spears preferred for roasting
1 T olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (I didn't use much salt)

Sauce Ingredients:
(Recipe makes enough sauce for several pounds of asparagus, but have fun thinking of other things it would taste great with.)
1/4 cup well-stirred Tahini (sesame seed paste)
1/4 cup warm water
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. agave nectar, preferably amber (can also use sugar or Splenda)
1/2 tsp. ground garlic puree from a jar (or use fresh garlic and grind in mortar and pestle)
2 tsp. soy sauce (I used Tamari)
2 T peanut butter (I use natural low-sugar peanut butter for South Beach Diet)

Preheat oven to 425 F. Lightly spray a roasting pan with olive oil or non-stick spray. Be sure asparagus is washed, then cut off the lower woody ends (usually only a few inches, snap one to see.) Cut asparagus into diagonal-sliced pieces about 2 inches long.

Put asparagus in plastic bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange in single layer on baking sheet and roast, turning once or twice, until asparagus is starting to slightly shrivel and brown and is still a little crisp in the center, about 15 minutes.

While asparagus roasts, combine tahini, warm water, lemon juice, agave nectar, garlic, soy sauce, and peanut butter in food processor, blender, or bowl attachment of an immersion blender. (If you use an immersion blender or blender, hold the lid down very tightly! I learned this the hard way.) Blend until ingredients are well combined.

Serve asparagus hot with sauce on the side for each person to dip asparagus into. Sauce can also be spooned over asparagus, but I loved dipping it, especially since this is a rich sauce.

Variations: I think this sauce would taste fantastic on roasted broccoli, cauliflower, or green beans too.

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
Made with agave nectar and natural peanut butter, this is a great dish for phase two or three of the South Beach Diet. (Use Splenda or Stevia-in-the-Raw for a phase one version.) The sauce is relatively high in fat, but sesame seeds and peanuts contain "good fat."

More Reasons Why Kalyn Loves Asparagus:
Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan
Sauteed Asparagus with Melted Gorgonzola and Pine Nuts
Asparagus with Basil Pesto
Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms with Spike Seasoning
Grilled Asparagus with Double Lemon and Parmesan
Roasted Asparagus with Soy-Sesame Flavors

Asparagus Love from Other Blogs:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Perfect Asparagus from Simply Recipes
Grilled Asparagus ala Sutherland from Stephen Cooks
Asparagus Aspirations (huge collection of asparagus recipes from many bloggers) from Seriously Good
Slow Butter Braised Asparagus from Steamy Kitchen
Gorgeous Raw Asparagus Salad from A Veggie Venture
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Goat Cheese Vinaigrette from Mighty Foods
Asparagus with Pinenuts, Lime, and Browned Butter from Nami Nami
Buttered Asparagus from I'm Mad and I Eat
Asparagus with Walnut Dressing from My Own Sweet Thyme
Asparagus with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts from Lucullian Delights

Want even more asparagus recipes?
I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.
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More to Chew On:


  1. Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables. I can't wait for the local asparagus. It will be a while though as we are still buried in snow. A tahini and peanut butter dipping sauce it an amazing idea!! Bookmarked

  2. We're still almost two months away from local asparagus here in RI. There are several large asparagus farms within an hour of my house, and one of the joys of spring is going to the farm, where the asparagus are sorted into 5 sizes, and you can buy the exact size you want, from spears that were picked that same morning. The tahini sauce will be wonderful-- I'll save the recipe.

  3. Oh you are so right about asparagus.
    The life cycle of an asparagus plant & field is really fascinating. And that by covering the asparagus they get white asparagus! That one surprised me.
    My dad still buys in in a can and thinks it's good. I'm sure that's where I got the idea it was terrible.
    We just had our first bunch this year two nights ago!

  4. Kalyn, this recipe looks awesome. Since everyone here is on a diet, I think I will make this next tapas night!

  5. your asparagus looks so appetising and green - and it would be delicious with that sauce.

    it also took me a long time to appreciate asaparagus but now it is part of the pleasures of spring for me

  6. I absolutely LOVE asparagus...these look great!

    hong kong does not exactly produce asparagus, so we have to settle with the imported ones :)

  7. Ohhh Kalyn, should have named it Sexy Tahini-Peanut sauce...sounds wonderful!

  8. What a fantastic recipe--I love every single ingredient in this one. Must try! (And it's also gluten free for those of your readers on a GF diet). :)

  9. Oh, Kalyn, I cannot wait for the asparagus season begin here! I was so excited to discover local, Estonian asparagus last year, and ate it as much as possible. And this year I'll be eating even more :)
    Thank you for another great recipe (and link love:)

  10. Thanks everyone for the nice feedback. I'm having some of this sauce tonight on roasted broccoli, will report back.

  11. YUM YUM YUM!!! Looks so good!

  12. Kalyn, I love asparagus and tahini... What a wonderful dish, my friend!

  13. Sounds so nice. Good enough for company!
    (thanks for the linky)

  14. Yeah, asparagus has a really nice bright flavor!

  15. I'm so into asparagus right now that I use it even in omelettes :). The dip looks perfect too!

  16. 1. Must find tahini... I know of one store that carries it - but she always seems to be out.

    2. Must go on hunger strike until the markets start carrying asparagus... No, wait, that won't accomplish anything.
    I'll try praying and wishing really hard! sigh....

  17. i love esparagus! your recipes is so easy to follow, thank you so much for sharing.

  18. Pass me over some of that roasted asparagus love! I love the tahini sauce idea, too.

  19. Hi, I just discovered your blog and I am really impressed! Thank you for devoting your time to this. I'm already a big fan!

  20. That looks so deliciously simple! Thanks!

  21. What a wonderful recipe ! An hommos with tahini PLUS peanut... Thanks. I won't enter anything for WHB this week because too much work with my book, so have a great Weekend with herbs.

  22. Your Roasted Asparagus looks delightful. I will have to try your tahini sauce. I am a fan of asparagus sometimes I just roast it with a little garlic, olive oil and lemon .
    Sharona May

  23. Rosted asparagus is always welcome in my kitchen, Kalyn, and your tahini sauce sounds amazing. I recently roasted some asparagus myself to go along with some roast chicken and roasted fingerling potatoes with rosemary. But don't discount cooking asparagus in water either. The key is to not overcook it. Get a little bit of water boiling in a pan--half an inch or less in depth. Add the asparagus once the water is boiling, salt it generously and cover the pan. Let it steam until just crisp tender, about five minutes, then place in a serving dish or on individual plates and serve immediately. It will be delicious and not all limp and cooked to death.

  24. Our asparagus season has almost ended. I haven't bought any for ages though as the end of the season is not as nice as the beginning. I love it roasted.

  25. You have asparagus already? Lucky you! Another ten or twelve weeks for us. Ah. . . .

  26. I'm pretty sure this asparagus comes from California, but I'm happily gobbling it up since asparagus isn't really grown that much in Utah anyway!

  27. Tahini! I have been using it in my cooking too. It's so healthy to eat those roasted asparagus in tahini dipping sauce.

  28. My grocery store didn't have tahini, but this recipe inspired me to try asparagus for the first time in many years. And it was DELICIOUS! I can't wait to use it more often.

  29. Tasahmort, tahini can be hard to find, but if you have a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's where you live you can find it there. However, sounds like it turned out okay without it. You could increase the peanut butter, for a slightly different type of sauce. Glad to hear you're becoming an asparagus convert.

  30. This sounds delicious. I love plain asparagus but I'd definitely try the dipping sauce as well!

  31. made this sauce today it was GREAT! thanks a bunch

  32. Just made this and loved it! I changed the recipe a bit and reduced the peanut butter & it still turned out great. I tossed the sauce with the asparagus & ate it for lunch, finishing off the entire pound of asparagus myself...I just couldn't help myself!

    For those of you who have a hard time finding Tahini, I found the local Indian store had a ton of varieties for a (what I thought) a very good price. Good luck!

  33. Sauce sounds great. My husband is grilling tonight so I may have him grill asparagus too. Do you know how long the sauce will keep in the fridge?

  34. Nancy, I haven't kept it in the fridge so I can't say for sure, but I'm thinking a week or two at least.

  35. That looks and sounds so delicious! I love tahini sauces—and roasted asparagus.

  36. This recipe looked very interesting and full of vegetables, so tasty and healthy (and green) at the same time.

  37. What a fantastic combination! Will have to try this dipping sauce :)

  38. I'm waiting very impatiently for the asparagus here to come into season. At the stores it's still all from South America. In the meantime, I'm going to try this dipping sauce with chicken skewers!

  39. Ruby, I think the sauce would be great on chicken!


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