Asparagus: The perfect spring veggie
Asparagus is a spring vegetable super star that is in season from February through June. This unique vegetable makes a great addition to a home garden and it only takes a handful of stalks to reap their health benefits. Five asparagus spears contains only 20 calories, 2g of fiber and 2g of protein.
- Antioxidants - Asparagus provides a variety of antioxidant nutrients and is especially rich in glutathione, a detoxifying compound that can help destroy carcinogens.
- Salt removal - In addition to its rich antioxidant content, asparagus contains the amino acid asparagine, which helps flush your body of excess salt.
- Blood clotting - Asparagus is a great source of vitamin K, which helps clot your blood.
- Blood sugar regulation - Frequent asparagus consumption can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin secretion, which helps lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
With a long list of nutritional benefits, it's hard to pass on this one-of-a-kind vegetable. Grill it, steam it, roast it or simply enjoy it raw; the possibilities are endless! To help you get started, here's a recipe starring asparagus for the next time you need a quick, healthy side dish.
Recipe: Asparagus with balsamic tomatoes
Find variations on this recipe and more at Cooking Light.
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Cook asparagus in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add tomatoes and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar; cook 3 minutes. Stir in salt.
- Arrange asparagus on a platter; top with tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper.
Yield: 4 servings
Nutrition per serving: Calories: 69, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 181 mg, Carbs: 6.5 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 3g