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From start to finish, it takes just minutes to sauté asparagus to crisp-tender perfection, while preserving its beautiful bright green color. Learn this fast and easy method for cooking the best sautéed asparagus — it’s so good you’ll want to make it on repeat! The only ingredients you’ll need are a bunch of asparagus, olive oil, garlic, butter and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
Just like our favorite everyday sautéed broccoli, this sautéed asparagus recipe is a perfect veggie to prepare by quickly cooking it in a skillet or sauté pan.
I promise that once you learn this simple technique, you’ll want to cook and eat asparagus as much as possible. Sautéed asparagus can be enjoyed as a vegetable side dish, with pasta, on top of pizzas and more.
FUN FACTS ABOUT ASPARAGUS
- Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is a member of the lily family, along with plants like garlic, shallots and leeks.
- Yes, asparagus is very good for you! Among its health benefits, asparagus is high in folate, vitamins B and C, as well as potassium.
- Asparagus is perfectly delicious cooked and seasoned simply with butter and a little salt. It’s also great when prepared raw in asparagus salad — it tastes sweet and crunchy.
What you need for the recipe
- Fresh asparagus: When you’re shopping for all asparagus recipes, look for asparagus bunches that are plump and smooth, with tightly closed buds on top. It doesn’t matter if the spears are thick or thin. As a matter of fact, FAT asparagus spears often have the best flavor and texture. If you notice any spears that have smashed of soggy tips, keep looking. You’ll need one pound of asparagus for this recipe, which makes four servings.
- Garlic: A touch of fresh garlic (one teaspoon) is all you need so you don’t overwhelm the dish— about one small clove or half of a large clove. The garlic is added toward the end of cooking so it doesn’t burn or brown.
- Olive oil and butter: Use extra virgin olive oil if you have it, along with salted or unsalted butter to finish the sauce. If you’re sensitive to dairy or vegan, omit the butter and use all olive oil.
- Lemon: A squeeze of fresh lemon adds a bright hit of acidity that tastes wonderful.
How to trim and slice asparagus
Sauté the asparagus, step by step:
5-Minute Sauteed Asparagus with Garlic Butter
- 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1-2 wedges fresh lemon
- Put the olive oil in a 12-inch saute pan or skillet and place over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus and cook 3 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan frequently.
- Add the water, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook 2 minutes — this step steams the asparagus, cooking it from the inside out.
- Uncover the pan and add the butter, swirling the pan until it melts.
- Transfer the asparagus to a serving platter — be sure to scrape out all the buttery pan juices. Squeeze the lemon wedges over the platter and serve.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Before cooking, check this photo tutorial for trimming and prepping asparagus
- Shop for asparagus bunches that have tightly closed buds on top. It doesn’t matter if the spears are thick or thin (believe it or not, the fat ones tastes the best!) Avoid asparagus with slimy or smashed tips.
- If you’re sensitive to dairy or are vegan, omit the butter and use all olive oil.