This is my ultimate lazy-girl veggie side dish. All of veggie roasting essentially is, but this one also cooks faster and is a crowd pleaser whenever I've made it for friends.
Asparagus is a spring veggie, with peak season hitting right around April. But why my trainer brain still fixates on this gangly little green stalk year-round is for the nutritional KO it delivers.
It is one of the only veggies I can think of off the top of my head that contains more protein than carbs along with a ridiculous fiber content and low calories overall- a major reason behind why bikini competitors and those heavy in the fitness world use asparagus like crazy for their food prep.
A cup of cooked asparagus offers 32 calories/1g Fat/3g Carb (3g fiber/1g Sugar)/5g protein. It also very high in folate, which is crucial to cognitive health. Lastly, it has high levels of the amino acid, asparagine, which acts as a natural diuretic and helps the body rid itself of excess salts- really helpful for those with high blood-pressure and heart diseases.
So anyhow, I figured I would share one of my methods for cooking this lil guy that's always nice for dinner with company. The balsamic vinegar makes it wonderfully caramelized and makes the flavor pop. If you're trying to lower the sugar content, you can skimp on it but I say you should just splash at least a little on...
When choosing your asparagus to buy, I recommend going for thinner, more uniform stalks- the really thick ones have really tough ends that are hard to trim and are rather tasteless. They also cook faster!
Balsamic Roasted Asparagus w/Pine Nuts
*serves 2 as a side dish
1 bundle of Asparagus
(about 15 medium stalks)
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 heaping tbsp Pignolias (Pine Nuts)
1. Preheat the oven to 380ºF and line baking tray with parchment paper
2. Clean and trim asparagus spears and break (manually snapping or cutting with a knife- personal preference) stalks into thirds. Place in a mixing bowl.
3. Add balsamic vinegar, EVOO, garlic powder, and pine nuts to the mixing bowl and toss all together until spears are evenly coated (I actually get my hands in there to make sure it's well combined).
4. Empty veggie mixture onto baking sheet, spacing asparagus apart evenly.
5. Place baking tray in oven for about 10 minutes, then remove to flip asparagus stalks around to roast evenly, then place tray back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes (pending on thickness of your asparagus).
6. Remove from oven, cool for a few minutes, then plate and serve.