Asparagus is a relatively clean, low calorie yet nutrient dense food option that also offers a number of health benefits to go with its nutritional profile. To prepare this healthy vegetable, many people prefer to bake it in the oven since the roasting method kills the natural bitterness of asparagus. But baking times will vary as how long you bake asparagus for will depend on what temperature you use to roast it.
Asparagus is a reliable source of important nutrients like fiber, folate, iron and vitamins A, B, C, E and K. Its health benefits include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties given the unique combination of nutrients found in it. These include saponins, beta-carotene, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium and selenium. Asparagus is also beneficial for digestive support as it is rich in both fiber and protein. Together, these two nutrients help stabilize digestion and keep food moving through the digestive tract at an appropriate pace. Fiber content is also very beneficial in lowering the risk of heart disease.
Health benefits of asparagus
Asparagus is wonderfully abundant in vitamins B including B1, B2, B6 as well as niacin and choline. Collectively these vitamins play a very important role in the metabolism of starches and sugars making them instrumental in managing blood glucose levels.
How to select and use asparagus?
Color wise, asparagus is not only limited to green spears but is also available in white or purple options as well. Look for firm asparagus bundles that have the ends cut and are resting in water. Refrigerate and use within a couple of days for the best taste and optimal nutrition.
When it is time to cook, regardless of how long it takes to bake asparagus for or how much time it takes to roast or grill it, preparing it the right way is important. The technique is to start at the opposite end of the spear and gently test its toughness with a paring knife. When you feel the spear give in you have reached its tender part and that is where you will trim the bottom off. Using this technique to trim asparagus spears will separate the tough parts of the spear from the soft ones and permit you to work with the tender parts only.
How to cook asparagus?
Asparagus can be prepared by either steaming, grilling, pan roasting or baking in the oven. It can even be enjoyed raw. However, grilling, pan roasting or how long you bake asparagus for it in the oven does help retain its crunch and texture better than steaming. Here is a look at how to adjust temperatures and baking times when preparing asparagus in the oven.
How long should you bake asparagus for?
Baking asparagus in the oven is an easy way to prepare it with minimal effort and great tasting results. This is because you can slide a tray of asparagus into the oven and then go about your other cooking business in the meantime. Baking also gives you a reasonable amount of control in terms of how you like your asparagus done. For instance, how long you bake asparagus for can decide whether to get a tender, crispy or well-done result. Some people even prefer having their asparagus barely cooked so how long they bake asparagus for can be a fairly short time.
While the cooking technique will be the same, the doneness will vary on how long you bake asparagus for. Start by separating the hard parts of asparagus from the tender ones. Place the asparagus in a single layer on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper to taste. You can also add any other seasonings or herbs of your choice at this point, such as tarragon, shallots, a dash of lemon and roast.
Typically, how long it takes to bake asparagus at 350 will take about 10 minutes yielding a tender result or continue baking until desired tenderness is reached. Likewise, how long it takes to bake asparagus at a 375can range between 15- 17 minutes to get a tender crisp result.
Roasting asparagus at higher temperatures and longer durations will naturally deliver a more well-done result. For instance, how long it takes to bake asparagus at 400 can be between 18- 20 minutes to get a lightly browned and just tender result and doing the same at a higher temperatures will yield well-done asparagus spears. If you decide to go to a higher temperature, how long it takes to bake asparagus at 425 will come to about 15-20 minutes to get a well roasted, crispy result.
The thing to remember when deciding how long you should bake asparagus for is how well you want to cook it.
How to bake asparagus in foil?
To get soft cooked asparagus there is an option to make it wrapped in foil. This can be done both in the oven as well as on the grill. For the oven method, placed seasoned asparagus on foil and wrap into the pocket. Bake at 400 for about 20-25 minutes. On the grill, the same can be done by placing the foil pocket on the grill on medium heat for 5-7 minutes and turning it halfway to let both sides get evenly heated.
How long do you cook asparagus on the grill?
Grilling asparagus is another choice for people who enjoy their asparagus crisp. Coat spears with olive oil and seasonings and grill for between 5-10 minutes until spears are nicely charred, tender inside, and crisp on the outside. Remember to turn then every few minutes for even browning.
How to pan roast asparagus?
Pan roasting is a great way to use asparagus with other veggies in a quick fix meal. While how long you bake asparagus for will vary in the baking method, pan roasting will yield very quick results. Simply throw in assorted, cut up veggies and roast on high heat for a few minutes. When done, finish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar on top and enjoy.
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Image One by Jareed – https://www.flickr.com/photos/jareed/6781339760/
Image Two by Peter Smith – https://www.flickr.com/photos/purpaboo/4597679547/
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