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Cooking Healthy with Asparagus

Seeing the abundance of freshly picked, bright green spears of asparagus in the produce markets is the catalyst for my spring fever each year. Instantly inspired to cook in a lighter way, I start thinking of all the dishes I'd like to prepare that give me the opportunity to enjoy one of my favorite vegetables and the many nutritional benefits that asparagus has to offer.

When selecting asparagus, look for those whose tips are tightly closed. Avoid yellowish spears, those with dried out or cracked stems, and any that have a questionable odor. Neither thin nor thick, but medium-width (about 1/2-inch in diameter) spears are best. Too thin and they can be easily overcooked. Too thick, and they will be woody. Choose spears that are fairly uniform in size, so they will cook evenly.

While asparagus is still tied in a bunch, cut off the bottom fourth, which is often stringy. Rinse well under running water and cut into smaller pieces if desired. For crisper asparagus, stand stalks in a glass of ice water for a few minutes before cooking.

"Healthy Sautéing," and grilling or broiling are my favorite ways of cooking asparagus.

To "Healthy Sauté", heat a few tablespoons of broth in a stainless steel skillet. When the broth begins to steam, add the asparagus, cover and sauté for just 5 minutes.

Before grilling or broiling asparagus, sprinkle with lemon, sea salt and pepper, and place the asparagus 4-5 inches away from the flame or oven heating element to make sure it doesn't burn.

I have a variety of ways that make the most of cooked asparagus. You can't go wrong simply dressing it with a light vinaigrette, but try each of our recipes that feature this delectable spring vegetable. One might even inspire you to create new ways of preparation.

Following are some of our easy to prepare recipes with asparagus.

For in depth information on all the terrific benefits of asparagus, read our full profile at Asparagus. It will share with you all the information you need to receive all the nutritional and culinary benefits of this delightful spring vegetable.