Friday, March 14, 2014

Barely-Cooked Asparagus with Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette (Low-Carb, Paleo, Gluten-Free)

This Asparagus with Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette was simple and bursting with flavor.

Barely-Cooked Asparagus with Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette found on

(For Phase One Fridays I feature Phase One Recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites, and since there's a green-foods day coming up soon I can't think of anything better than a big plate of Barely Cooked Asparagus with Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette.  In Utah I'm noticing asparagus is starting to go on sale, enjoy!)

This easy recipe for barely-cooked asparagus drizzled with lemon-mustard vinaigrette was part of an asparagus binge I got started on after I made Roasted Wild Salmon and Asparagus with Double Lemon Oil.   I guess if you're going to binge on a certain food, eating a lot of asparagus is not all bad, wouldn't you agree?  And there are so many ways to make asparagus taste amazing with little effort, that when I see asparagus start to appear in the market every spring, I usually can't resist buying some!

This asparagus recipe came from a cookbook by Jack Bishop called Vegetables Every Day; a book that's one of my favorite sources for vegetable recipes.  In this book I've found so many interesting vegetable recipes like Carrot and parsley Salad, Parmesan Encrusted Zucchini, and Roasted Radishes with Soy Sauce and Toasted Sesame Seed.  If you're growing vegetables and might like a good book to help with ideas for cooking cooking them, I heartily recommend Vegetables Every Day.  (Full disclosure, if anyone clicks through that link and buys the book from, Kalyn's Kitchen does earn a few cents on the dollar, so thanks!)

To trim asparagus, first take hold of a piece with both hands and break it.  You can tell where the woody part of the stem starts by where the piece breaks.  Then trim all the other pieces to that length.  I like to cut asparagus on the diagonal, but it's not necessary.

For this recipe cut the asparagus pieces in half again so each stalk makes 2 pieces about 3-4 inches long.

The recipe calls for 1 1/2 pound of asparagus (about 18-20 oz. after trimming) but this was good the next day, so you might want to double it.

Mix together fresh-squeezed lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and salt and fresh ground black pepper, then whisk in the olive oil to make the vinaigrette.

Bring 2 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil, add asparagus and cook 2-3 minutes (no longer!)  Asparagus should be barely tender-crisp.

Put the asparagus in a colander and let it drain  1-2 minutes so the water has run off.  (Some recipes plunge the asparagus into cold water to stop the cooking, but I like to cook it a minute or so less and not cool it down, because I want it to still be very hot when it's served.)

After the asparagus has drained well, spread out some paper towels on your cutting board, add the asparagus, and blot dry with paper towels.

Arrange the asparagus on a serving dish and drizzle the lemon-mustard vinaigrette over.  Serve hot.  (This was also good after it has been in the fridge overnight, both heated for a few minutes in a hot pan or served cold in a salad.)

Barely-Cooked Asparagus with Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette
(Makes 4 servings, recipe adapted slightly from Vegetables Every Day.)

1 1/2 lb. fresh asparagus stalks, ends trimmed and cut into two pieces
2 quarts water + 1 tsp. salt to cook asparagus

2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice, or slightly less if you're not that into lemon (I used my frozen fresh lemon juice)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste)
3 T extra-virgin olive oil (use good quality olive oil for this)

Fill a large pot with 2 quarts of water, add 1 tsp. salt and bring to a boil.

Hold a piece of asparagus in both hands and snap to see where the end breaks off.  (This tells where the woody part of the stalk begins.)  Trim all asparagus pieces to this length, cutting on the diagonal, then cut again so each stalk is cut into two pieces about 3-4 inches long.

In a small glass measuring cup or bowl mix together the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, and fresh ground black pepper, then whisk in the olive oil.  (I used a little less oil to make the dressing slightly more lemony.  If you're not that into lemon you might want a little less lemon juice.)

Put trimmed asparagus into the boiling water, stir, and cook for 2-3 minutes.  (Use a timer to be sure you don't cook it longer than that.  You want the asparagus to be slightly tender-crisp when it's taken off the heat.)  Drain asparagus into a colander placed in the sink and let sit for 1-2 minutes, until all the water has run off.  Then put a layer of paper towels on a large cutting board, put asparagus on top of towels and blot dry.

Arrange the asparagus piece on a serving tray, drizzle lemon-Dijon vinaigrette over, and serve.  This is also good after it's been in the fridge overnight.  It can be reheated quickly in a hot frying pan or just served cold in a salad. 

South Beach Suggestions:
The South Beach Diet encourages eating at least 2 cups of vegetables per day, and asparagus is one of those wonderfully low-glycemic vegetables that's allowed for any phase of the diet.  Eat this as a side dish for phase one with something like Pork with Paprika, Mushrooms, and Sour Cream, Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar, or Quick and Easy Spicy Broiled Shrimp.  For phase two or three you could add something like Whole Wheat Couscous Side Dish with Green Onions and Parmesan.

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 Ideas that Might Make you Binge on Asparagus:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Roasted Asparagus with Garlic from Kalyn's Kitchen

Asparagus with Fried Egg and Parmesan from Steamy Kitchen

Roasted Asparagus with Creamy Tahini-Peanut Dipping Sauce from Kalyn's Kitchen

Asparagus with Maple-Tahini Dresing from Gluten-Free Goddess 

Lightly Steamed Asparagus with Basil Vinaigrette from Kalyn's Kitchen

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

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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!


  1. I love asparagus raw or nearly raw (I also love it grilled, roasted, steamed... well, just about any old way!), so this recipe is going on my list to try right away.

  2. That cookbook sounds good...hmmm....maybe I need another one!

  3. Gosh.. this look so simple and yet delicious... I need to try this recipe

  4. This dish sings spring to me!

  5. Lydia, I love asparagus all those ways too!

    Pam, it's a fantastic book. I heard about it from another food blogger who's no longer blogging.

    MIZZ, hope you enjoy!

    CJ, me too!

  6. Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables and recipes like this are why. Delicious!

  7. Of all the things to binge on, I think asparagus has to be one of the best! This recipe sounds delicious! I really need that cookbook in my life!

  8. Asparagus season is here and I am so excited!

  9. Maris, me too. I never get tired of it.

    Joanne, I just can't recommend that book enough. I've used it over and over.

    Val, me too!

  10. This looks amazing! I love asparagus too, particularly grilled...

    OH! And I do have to share this ridiculous-sounding but amazing asparagus recipe I found somewhere last week, when I had a bunch that wasn't quite so fresh anymore...

    Asparagus Guacamole!

    Steam asparagus until tender, blend to chunky with some salsa, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, etc. (your favorite salsa/guac fixins) and refrigerate. It was AMAZING. And SB-friendly :)

    No idea where the recipe came from, but a quick Google search comes up with a dozen different sources.

  11. Marie, love that idea of Asparagus Guacamole. Asparagus and avocado sounds like a match made in heaven to me!

  12. I love a good asparagus dish. This sounds simple and lovely.

  13. Lately I tend to steam the asparagus. That makes it stay crisp and with a bite.

  14. I've been trying to watch my weight for quite some time now, and since then I am always looking for recipes that could replace my snacking on doritos on midnight, and well, I can only take so much carrots in a week. :) This looks great and so easy to make. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Leaf, Tobias, and Jenn, thanks! Jenn, this is great cold, right out of the fridge (and how would I know that? Well you can guess the answer.)

  16. Great recipe, I love Asparagus.

  17. that asparagus looks so fresh! i love the way you cooked it - without a heavy sauce... it's a perfect recipe for summer

  18. Great pictures today Kalyn. These stalks are so vibrant! I agree 3 minutes is all asparagus needs. Especially if it is really fresh. Great recipe!

  19. Thanks Katie; so glad you like it!

  20. Just bought great looking asparagus at Harmon's. I just may eat the whole thing...ha,ha. Sounds delicious. I just now clicked on the link for the Vegetable book and bought it on Amazon. My habit of distraction compelled me to buy 5 other books! Could not resist.


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