5 reasons to get asparagus on your spring plate
CRISP, delicious and in season Australian asparagus has plenty of health benefits to add to their taste and recipe versatility.
- Easy on the waistline - Asparagus is low in kilojoules and contains no fat or cholesterol, making it the perfect addition to any diet, particularly if you're trying to shed those winter layers.
- Folate rich - Asparagus is a great source of folate, with one serving providing more than 20 per cent of our daily needs.
- Immune booster - A serve of asparagus provides 25 per cent of our daily vitamin C needs for a healthy immune system.
- Ageing well - Asparagus has a number of bio-active compounds, including antioxidants like rutin and beta-carotene. Research from accredited practising dietitian Glenn Cardwell suggests that these bioactive compounds keep us healthy, well into old age.
- Tasty and affordable - Not only does asparagus taste great, it's also very affordable so is a perfect grocery addition for the whole family.
The dry winter has provided ideal growing and harvesting conditions across all growing regions. The choice of asparagus is firm, bright and smooth spears that are uniform in size with closed compact tips.
The Australian Asparagus Council have some great new asparagus recipes idea at www.asparagus.com.au for you to try including these two -
Asparagus and Green Pea Soup with Cashews
Bursting with veggie goodness, this yummy soup makes a nutritious light meal served with your favourite bread.
- 2-3 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 bunches asparagus, woody ends removed, chopped
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups frozen green peas
- 1/2 cup roasted or raw cashews
- Salt flakes and pepper to taste
- Fresh herbs such as baby basil leaves to serve
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and stir-fry onion for 1 minute. Stir in garlic, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add asparagus and stir over heat for 1 minute. Stir in stock, cover and bring to the boil. Cook over low to medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir in peas and cashews and return to the boil. Reduce heat and cook until asparagus and peas are just tender and still bright green, 2-3 minutes.
- Blend until smooth, reheat gently and season to taste. Serve with freshly ground pepper and fresh herbs.
- For a thinner consistency add a little more vegetable stock when blending.
- Adding cashew nuts helps provide a lovely creamy texture without needing cream.
Cooking time - 15 to 20 minutes.
Serves - 4
Asparagus and Beef Stir-Fry
A delicious healthy stir-fry in minutes. Mushrooms and asparagus go well together and help make simple meals special.
- 500g lean beef, cut into strips
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3 bunches asparagus, ends snapped off, sliced
- 200g mushrooms, sliced
- 6 spring onions, sliced thinly
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Pepper to taste
- Combine beef, oyster sauce and sweet chilli sauce and marinate for 15 minutes. Drain marinade and reserve.
- Heat oil in a wok or frying pan over high heat and stir-fry beef until just cooked, 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add asparagus, mushrooms and spring onions to pan and stir-fry until tender crisp, about 5 minutes.
- Add beef, garlic, reserved marinade, sesame oil and pepper.
- Stir-fry until heated through and serve at once.
Cooking time - 10 to 12 minutes
Serves - 4